Thursday, June 16, 2016

Waiting is Excruciating

This waiting seems endless while at the same time it is speeding along at far too quickly.  I can't seem to wrap my head around God's timing, yet I have to trust that it IS God's timing and He is God.....loving, kind, good.  While my Dad was in a nursing home, one brother had open heart surgery and then retired and moved far away.  My sister's husband underwent knee replacement surgery, followed by chemo and radiation for esophageal cancer, followed by open heart surgery, followed by radical surgery for his cancer.......his ordeal was from April through November, with recovery that has left him quite frail.  These three men were my mom's rocks.   After my brother moved in September, my mom just plunged into grief and depression.  We were trying to do our best for her, bringing her to my home during the days, spending nights with her at her home.  We were making headway and she was finding a new routine when my Dad passed away .... on my granddaughter's first birthday.  The months since have seemed like a blur.

Fast forward to April 25th, my Dad's birthday.  We chose that day to move my mom into a beautiful, handicapped accessible living space my sister and her husband created for her.  The day before the move she was so teary, but the day of the move she had made up her mind that she would make the best of it.  Such a beautiful, homey space.  An apartment so if she felt like cooking, she could.  Friends and relatives could visit in her own much better than just a room.  This was to be the summer of fun.   Finally being able to take her to the ocean for a few days, or off to Newfound Lake to see great grandchildren!   Mother's Day we had a Sunday dinner like the old days but in my sister's dining room.  Wednesday, May 11th she went by ambulance to the hospital.  Her congestive heart failure was getting the best of her, they said.  We were expecting a hospital stay of two weeks to get her fluid under control, but instead they sent her home Sunday morning the 15th!  Monday the 16th, the visiting nurse sent her back to the hospital by ambulance.  Ballet dress rehearsal day of all days.   I met my sister in the ER and we stood by mom's bed while she retched for hours and clutched her chest....and was given nothing until 4:30 when they finally gave her something to stop the retching.  Four hours her body worked so hard.  Painful to watch and so frustrating.  She was stabilized and admitted.  Tuesday morning, she was up and washed and sitting in her chair talking with the dietitian about lunch.  Doctors had already made their rounds.  Someone came by her room and she was crashing, another heart attack.   She was raced off to ICU.  My sister arrived with the newspaper and things from home for her room and arrived to find an empty room while overhearing the nurses being asked if the daughter had been reached yet.  Momentary panic.  There was only one noninvasive option available, but my mom being claustrophobic tried for a few minutes then said she was all done.  Family was called.  I was out doing recital errands with my daughter and grandbaby.  For that I will be forever grateful, because my daughter made the decision to ride with me to the hospital.  When my Dad was slipping away, my husband told our daughter not to come, in an effort to protect her since she has experienced so much loss.  This time, the decision was in her hands and I am so grateful she came. There we were, five women representing four generations from 18 months to 90.  It was a sweet time of saying goodbye, my mom trying to remind us of some things she would like different ones to have.  My daughter and I distraught that we would be losing mom so close to Amber's anniversary, a pain too great.

My daughter left for work.  My mom's sister and her daughter came but mom was nonresponsive for that visit.  Son-in-laws, then a son and his wife, two grandsons and a dear friend came and left.  Our new interim pastor and a deacon came and apparently mom opened her eyes and mustered her where-withal for the visit.  I was called from the waiting room to lead us in "What A Friend We Have in Jesus" because I'm "the pianist"....not that there is a piano in ICU!!  We got through the first verse, then mom looked at me for the second verse and I blanked.  She shot me the MOM GLARE and with a voice of disappointment said, "Wait till I tell your father you didn't know his favorite hymn."  (I thought we might get kicked out of ICU for the laughter that ensued)  Shortly after that, she was back to sleep or somewhere.  Another son and his wife arrived from an aborted business trip to Nashville, scrambling to make travel arrangements, driving to the hospital from the airport and arriving about midnight.  My mom's eyes opened and she gabbed and gabbed till 2:30 am!  We decided the immediate crisis had passed and so two brothers went to my mom's house, and my sister and I tried to sleep in the waiting room.  On Thursday she was sent home on hospice.

For about two weeks, she was doing so much better and we were beginning to wish we had taken her off all her medications years ago!  Her numbers were great and she looked comfortable, although her legs were getting huge from the fluid.  Lots of visitors in such a beautiful space.
 Last week she was sleeping more and more and no longer eating much of anything.  This week is just almost unbearable.  If we put one of her greatgrandbabies in her lap, she is instantly connected and all there.
What a heart she has had for taking care of children her entire life.  We think she is waiting for my warrior son to get home.  He is due in this afternoon.  She asks for him often, but this weekend began asking everyone who comes in if he is home yet.  On Monday, in her eyes closed almost delirium, she was saying that she needed her hair done for his party.  On Tuesday, she was working on "organizing it better" and making cookies.  Yesterday, she wasn't gabby at all.

 My son is due hone late this afternoon, and the waiting is horrendous.  I want him here so he can hold her hand, give her a hug, say goodbye.  I don't want him to come home yet because I am not ready to say goodbye.