Hospice, day 1.

12 October 2021

Mom was moved to a hospice facility yesterday. Let's start there, because today's been a day.

Things were all over the place today. I had a good quote lined up to open this post with (it's funny what subprocesses in your head can do when things are going pear shaped) but it's kind of pointless at the moment.

Suzy and I drove over to the hospice this morning to see mom and talk with the hospice team to figure out what to do and how. Lyssa took a cab in before we let. The nasogastric tube is still in place and still pumping stuff out of her stomach. Mom's able to take clear liquids - water, tea, coffee, gelatin because she has no trouble swallowing. Also, it's kind of neat to see it get pumped right back out through the NG tube. So at least she can enjoy what she's drinking.

The physicians say that she's showing stage 1 sores on her back that are possibly fungal in origin. I was wondering when that would happen. They're still pumping fluid out through her Plurex drain every day. Usually less than a liter per session hits the tank.

Mom still wants to go home to die. If we worked everything out correctly, I think that will happen tomorrow (today, as you read this). It almost didn't.

Lyssa and I ducked out after lunch to pick up a prescription I'd transferred from the pharmacy back home because, things being what they are it's hard to predict when you'll have a free hour. Mom's car started making disturbing thumping noises along the way. We were able to safely get back to the hospice without any trouble. Taking a look at the front right wheel when we got out, I noted that something had taken a rectangular chunk out of the tire, right at the wheel. I don't know waht could have done that, but changing a tire is a pretty straightforward task. Things went wonderfully until we discovered that the jack didn't have a handle, which meant that we also didn't have a lug wrench, which meant that we couldn't get the bad wheel off anyway. In its place we found an umbrella and an ice scraper.

If you picture Danny Aiello in The Adventures of Hudson Hawk yelling "Can you fucking believe it?!" that was Lyssa and I.

It was at this time that Suzy called Lyssa and told her to get upstairs. Now.

Mom had taken another turn for the worse while we were gone. Suzy had been with her and mom had gone into decline again. It was pretty much the same as last time, only without a fever. Mom started talking to grandma and Uncle Bob (both of whom are dead). Shortly after Lyssa and I got there, mom started talking to grandma again. I don't know how widespread a phenomenon this is, but in my family that usually means impending death.

Suzy called Rita to tell her what was going on with aplomb (because she's a nurse by profession), Lyssa held her hand, and I laid next to her in the hospital bed and held her, the way she used to do for me when I was really sick as a child. Judy took off to get Sister Lois and bring her back to the hospice. Mom's oxygen saturation was in the high 80's, down from the high 90's. Her breathing was rapid and shallow and her limbs were getting cold again.

Sister Lois wrapped mom's rosary in her hands and prayed with her for a while. Even though her eyes were closed mom was able to follow along from memory. Once in a while she mumbled something. Sometimes it was about her mother (my grandmother), sometimes it was about her cats, sometimes I couldn't make any words out. She also did a lot of fidgeting with her hands. She sort of is right now as I write this. She had a few lucid moments here and there, too. Some time later she seemed to turn around again time (I don't know how long, I was a little too busy to keep track) as a lucid period stabilized and stretched out.

Crisis seemingly delayed I set about trying to get help with changing the tire on my mom's car. My first try involved calling AAA, but without identifying information (like mom's membership card), I couldn't get any help. Then I tried calling Geico. It wasn't my car, I had no coverage for it, so no help was forthcoming. Mom's AAA card isn't anywhere to be found so that limited our options somewhat. I went back down to the car in the parking grage, wrote some vital statistics down, called AAA back, and finally got someone to drive out to the hospice and help. With the proper equipment it only took about ten minutes. I need to get her car checked out at the garage anyway.

Lyssa and I are staying with mom at the hospice tonight. As I write this (tomorrow for you) mom's supposed to be transferred back home unless something goes sideways. Suzy went on ahead to move stuff around to make room for the hospital bed, support equiment, and suchlike.

That's about all I've got right now.