Someone asked me why these blog posts are always backdated. The reason is that I can't write about a day's that's happened until that day's... happened. Plus, if I wrote it up late at night and posted it, probably nobody would see it (the churn of social media being what it is). And, it seems wrong to liveblog somebody's impending death. Especially my mom's.
I guess the cat's out of the bag.
Yesterday morning when I woke up, I made myself breakfast and coffee and then took Dora outside in her stroller for some fresh air. Around my second cup of coffee a call hit my cellphone. It was one of my mom's physicians. Late last night her fever spiked and they'd started antibiotics again. They found another site in her left bicep, got a line into a vein, and started her on a course of five different antibiotics. Between the pneumonia and what they suspected was sepsis from the symptoms (blood cultures pending) they felt the most reasonable course of action was to keep her hydrated and to treat for as many possible types of pathogenic bacteria as possible. They were also working from the assumption that they were MDR bacteria, so they limbered up the nuclear option from the pharmacy.
I jumped into the shower, got dressed, and got another phone call from another physician (this one on the palliative care team). I racked up some systems errors as I headed for the hospital.
Mom was still not responding well. But she was together enough to talk with the p-c- team and decide what to do. Mom changed her DNR to "just make me comfortable." So they removed all of the IV lines, the TPN, and the antibiotics... mom has decided to throw in the towel and see what's next. The only things left are the nasal cannula (providing room air at pressure) and the nasogastric tube pumping fluid out of her stomach (to make her comfortable and relieve pain). The EKG leads are gone. The nurses come in once in a while and give her anti-nausea drugs through her IV, and something for anxiety (I don't know what).
I'm sitting next to her as I type this. Her fever broke about an hour ago. Judy and I were bathing her with cold washcloths, which seemed to have done some good. The IV Tylenol (didn't know there was intravenous Tylenol? Neither did I.) may have helped with this, too. She is, for the most part, sleeping comfortably but not breathing well. Every once in a while she gives a big gasp that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. She is sleeping reasonably comfortably. Occasionally she'll fidget with her hands; earlier she was reaching out so we could hold her hands.
I never expected to say goodbye to my mom. I did so this afternoon when she was still mostly lucid.
I'm here with Judy, her best friend of nearly 30 years. Sister Lois came in to see her one last time, and pray for her. Mom is (was? too early to tell) a practicing Catholic. I've just put her rosary in her hands. Judy and I said goodbye. Anarchangel called and said goodbye over speakerphone. 'lex Pendragon left not too long ago (again, as I write this) to say goodbye. We regaled mom with tales of our wacky adventures. She smiled broadly when she heard their voices.
We have relatives coming in. Details are still sketchy.
I've been reading this.
Now it's just a matter of time.