It's the uncertainties that trap me. Will the staff at the pod-castle be able to transfer G'ma from the bed to the commode or the wheelchair? Will the side rails hold her on the mattress or will she decide to get up on her own? Will the bed alarm and the floor alarm be enough to alert the aides that G'ma is on the move?
I don't do well with the open ended nature of things. I like to have a goal. I do quite well when I'm directing myself and know what to expect. That's not usually a problem; I've organized my retirement life to make certain that's the usual plan. Then, G'ma collapses in the bathroom, puts her foot up by her ear, disrupts her carefully calibrated medication plan, and all hell breaks loose.
Little Cuter and SIR left for their honeymoon this morning; I was glad to be able to send them off without worries. The crisis has passed, the current situation is fluid but manageable, and there's a plan in place to move G'ma back to the pod-castle tomorrow afternoon, after the equipment is delivered.
I don't know what I'll do with the double bed in her apartment; there's not room for it and the low-rise hospital bed, too. The pod-castle's storage facilities are full and I'll need a bigger car than The Schnozz to move it out and into my garage. It's a good thing that Amster is in love with a firefighter - he has or has access to anything and everything I might need. It's just a matter of coordinating schedules and moving things around and finding the time to do it all.
I don't really have to be here right now... or so I tell myself. On the other hand, as I was helping her eat her lunch of penne-with-red-sauce this afternoon, I watched as her skin split. It's so thin that the light tape holding the IV needle caused it to separate , like saran wrap pulled too tight. It required a quick fix by her competent and kind nurse, but it was not pleasant to watch her falling apart before my very eyes.
That's what it's been like this week. Even the light does of anesthesia left her woozy and drowsy and unable to form full sentences. TBG tells me that I was pretty much the same after my surgeries, as I recovered across the hall from where I sit and type to you right now. I'd begin a sentence and fall asleep between the noun and the verb. I'd blurt out random words and phrases. My responses to simple questions were irrelevant. That information is helpful, as I watch my mother's inability to recall her birth date.
Helpful, yes. Comforting? Somewhat.
Mostly, this week has been a reminder of who she was and how far she's declined. My mom, the one who kept a stack of library books on the dry sink in the entry foyer, the one who set the table meticulously, the one who was always tucked in and buttoned up and appropriately attired, is gone forever. Instead, this new mother is lying askew on her bed, her hospital gown hiked up over her knees and pulled down over her bony breastbone on her chest. She has no interest in being straightened out. She just wants to sleep.
I've given up trying to rouse her. Her efforts at conversation are valiant and, if I get here early enough in the morning, there's even a welcoming smile and a real hug. For the most part, we're sharing space as she dreams and I type.... and read... and do crossword puzzles... and worry.
I worry that she won't be safe. I worry that her medications won't be properly adjusted before there are consequences. I worry that her skin will break down and that her appetite won't return and that she'll just give up.
Today, she refused a Hershey's Kiss for dessert.
She laughed and said she was expecting the look of shock on my face when she said "No, thank you, sweetheart." Then, she fell asleep and left me holding the bag - literally. Kisses in one hand, her fingers in the other, tears on my cheeks and gentle, regular breathing from the bed.
It could be worse, I know. I just wish it were better.