Alzheimer's disease · Caregiver · Death · Hospice · Nursing homes

Hospice / April 10, 2008

My mother seems to have moved into a twilight place.  She is eating less and less, and sleeping almost all day.  The staff at Garden Manor are wonderful, as is Hospice.  She is always dressed (which must be an ordeal, since she can’t even stand up on her own) and someone has painted her nails and curled her hair.   She is usually sitting in one of the recliners in the common area, which makes me feel better.  I had once fantasized that I would take her home when this time came, but I would not be able to take care of her the way they do.

I feel like I’m dreaming.  It’s such a cliché, but that’s the way it feels.  I have spells when I question our decision to call Hospice.  But I’ve come to the conclusion that NOT calling Hospice is a decision, too.  My mother left an advance directive, which has helped us to plan her care, but you don’t realize all the “small” decisions that comprise carrying it out.  Do we continue the Namenda?  Do we stop the Coumadin?  What medications and measures are of a mindset that hopes for some improvement, or, at the very least, a warding off of the worst?  And does this mean that we are hurrying her along?

I suspect that some people look at me strangely when I tell them that I am NOT going to let her go to the hospital again.  As if to ask: “Who are YOU to make that decision?”

Well, I’m sure that my mother would prefer that I and my sister make such a decision, rather than anyone else.

In the meantime, my house is filthy and I’m missing a lot of workdays.  Mornings, in particular, are tough.  I wake up in the dark—before the doggies are awake—and I wonder how I’ll get through the day.   I remember, many years ago, an older friend telling me that it doesn’t matter how old you are when your mother dies—you still feel like a lost child.  I felt like this when I was in the first grade, and I didn’t want to go to school—my stomach churned and I thought I was going to cry.   I don’t like the feeling, but it reminds me of how deep and physical the bond is—which is strangely comforting.

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