Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rainy Day Visit

I feel like I'm just stopping in for a visit at my own blog.  With all the happenings surrounding my Mom's hospitalization and subsequent death, working with my Dad to get him squared away - a slow process, a one-week necessary trip home and returning back to the northern wet land, I haven't felt much like blogging or even reading my favorite blogs (apologies there!).  When I DO, and I WILL, get back to that, I will have two or three months to catch up on.

Here in the wet land, it is in fact, w-e-t.  Does that surprise you?  I can honestly say, I am enjoying every bit of it.  I haven't spent Spring here in probably more than 30 years, and then it was but a two week vacation, so being here from mid-winter and into Spring, is just a delight.  My parents' front and back yards have a lot of flowers, some I don't even know what they are, but the many varieties of daffodils, the rhododendron bushes, hyacinths in several colors, primroses, have all been in glorious bloom for the last week or two, and now the tulips are close to opening.  And, venturing out through town the other day, after having not been out of the house for several days, I was astonished to see how many trees were blooming along the streets.  I can't even venture a guess as to what they are, though I recognized one as maybe a tulip tree and it may have a different name.  I think some could be cherry blossoms, maybe even apple blossoms and other fruits or fruit-less varieties of them.  Paying attention to them all, was quite a distraction while I was driving.  I apologize for the lack of photos at this time.

It was (still is?) very tempting to send in my resume for a local business seeking office help.  In fact, I sent the ad to my hubby and my son saying I might apply but they didn't think I was very funny, especially since Marty did finally get a job, though it's not in his former field but in the one he just received a month's training in and the pay is only about 1/4, or less, of his former income.  I'm missing my guys, but at the same time, I'm really enjoying my extended time here and getting to spend time with other family members.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Winding Down

Round One of my time here in the wet land of the north is winding down.  It is of course, bittersweet.  

I still find it hard to believe that my Mom is gone from this world, but her memory - good and bad - will live on.  

It's been nearly a week since she left and in that time, I've been coming alongside my dad in getting him, at least for now, familiar with his financial picture.  He has little to work with, but as long as he controls his spending and can remember to set aside the monies for those things that only bill once or twice a year, he should be ok.  Operative word is 'should'.  

At 80, he has some memory issues, and some minor (?) health issues, so while I'll be heading home this coming Monday morning, I'll only be gone for a week to take care of my own personal business, and then come right back for another month, or two, or indefinitely. 

It would be easier if I had great confidence in even one of my four siblings' abilities, but they have jobs and such and can't be here.  I'm not sure yet just how well my dad will do entirely alone even if I can get him on board with processing his own paperwork/bills/checks, and he has no confidence in the other sibs to do the things that need to be done.  Definitely a difficulty of living nearly 900 miles away, but I can be here for now, though it's hard on Marty and Nick.

My daughter will fly in on Sunday afternoon, and drive back with me; I am so looking forward to seeing her, and we're keeping her very brief time with us as a secret surprise to Nick.  We haven't seen her in over three years!

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Life Ends

Last night at 6:55 p.m., my mother left this world for the next.

I'm having trouble gathering thoughts for a decent post, so will do so at a later time.

Thank you to all who prayed, and offered support.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Downhill Slide

Without going into all the detail at this time, I'm posting just to let you know that my Mom was removed from all life-sustaining means on Wednesday.  She is still with us but not fully with us.

I am thankful to all who have commented and prayed and all who didn't comment yet prayed.  Please forgive me if I don't respond directly to you for awhile.  The last three weeks have been long, and tiring, but very rewarding in many ways as well.  The road ahead is still unknown, but has many bumps in it looking ahead to when she passes on (could be hours, could be days), especially with and for my dad.

His whole world is being shaken up, he's tired, confused, angry, lost, can't control Mom's health & passing, and it's heart-wrenching to watch.  It's clear I'll be remaining here awhile, and yet I have my son and husband 900 miles away who need me too.

Much prayer is still needed, in so many ways.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It's A Struggle

This past week has again been a bit of a roller-coaster ride or a see-saw with Mom's condition improving, only to degrade and then to improve again.

The past two days were very encouraging ones.  However, this morning, upon arriving at the hospital, Mom was mostly unresponsive to touch and speech.  The night nurse didn't recognize that this was not her 'norm' as at one point during the night she had repositioned her and Mom had grabbed the side rails, but then went back to sleep.  The monitor numbers had all been in the acceptable range.  My dad and I immediately recognized something was not right and advised the nurse that this was not at all good and she immediately put a call to the doctor.  Things buzzed quite abit all morning.

Mom's back on the ventilator, sedated again and her kidneys are not producing even with Lasix, though they were doing great yesterday.  Many tests, cultures, etc have been done, some still awaiting results.  The sepsis is "blooming" anew, and overall, things just aren't looking good.  Her CO2 levels were double the normal high end level.

I dread the conversations needed with the siblings.  Will have to have them some time today.  Ultimately, all decisions fall to my dad as to continued life support once it's deemed that recovering is not possible.  We have an advanced directive, from 2001!

I'm still praying for a miracle.  All things are possible with God.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mental Snow

Well, I am still here in the Northwest in the wet land of my youth.  There is as yet no timeframe of when I might be able to head back home.  I sure miss my guys, and they miss me.  The only 'pressing need' to head back south is to get my car smog certified in order to get the registration renewed, but I still have more than a month before that's due, so I'm not too worried.

Spending every day, all day long, here at the hospital keeping tabs on my mom and on her care and disseminating the information to siblings and other family members causes a bit of mental confusion with ME at times, the days all start running together and I find I start repeating myself to some of the same people, hence mental snow.  It helps some that I keep a log book of mom's happenings, and I put up a "secret" privacy level page that I update throughout the day for my family with 24 members on the list.  And with those outside the family, I update as I hear from them or as I have a few moments and they come to mind.

Over this past week, my mom's ventilator was removed due to concerns of the length of time it had been in place and the potential for a pneumonia from the vent which is nearly impossible to cure.  She breathes on her own but is working really hard at doing so even with the oxygen canula in her nose, so she gets breathing treatments and at times has to have a bi-pap on so she can rest.  

She was taken off the sedative that was keeping her 'asleep' on the night of 2/5, and the pain meds were also removed at that point except as needed.  She is given Dilaudid as her pain control.  Thankfully she doesn't have much pain, but it seems a couple of the night nurses seem to think she does (or maybe they just want her 'more controlled') so those times that she's given the drug, make her more confused and groggy.  

She's still far from out of the woods.  It truly is likened to a long back-country backpack; you hike along and make some good gains and then stumble and fall and have to stop and rest, or treat your wounds from falling.  You take a few steps forward only to lose ground and take a step or two backwards, reassess, alter the path a little and move forward again. Yesterday was a bad day after several very positive days.  Her mental snow was at a maximum; she'd not slept in days - all a combination from the build up of the sedative, the pain meds, having now been in the hospital for 19 days and not being able to mentally track/focus to know what day it is.  It's termed 'hospital psychosis'.  She would be lying there with her eyes open just staring without blinking - rather frightening to see.  This morning she was wanting a "family meeting" (and not in a good sense!).  But now, having been here myself since the night of 2/2, I can recognize pretty much that she is not at a mental place of really being able to clearly recognize whether she can and will get better or not, far too often it's just the tiredness of not being home in one's own surroundings and the constant activity and discomforts of being in a hospital. 

The kidneys are slowly recovering but she has had to have two dialysis treatments thus far and may need another today.  The intestines also seem to be very slowly re-awakening.  With a surgery such as hers, the intestines flat-out go to sleep.  Actually, they do that in just about any abdominal surgery, but in some cases, depending upon the individual's age/condition, it can take much much longer.  The second surgery was necessitated because during the first surgery, the intestine was nicked (1cm hole), stitched, began leaking after several days and caused sepsis in the belly which required the second surgery.  After several more days, this repair also began leaking but she has an abdominal drain which is keeping infection at bay, and the prayer is that the intestine eventually heals itself, but it's going to take time.

We take one day at a time and pray for God's grace and her healing.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

It's Snowing!!

I get to see winter!!  I'd have preferred a different way of seeing winter, but it's winter just the same.

The good news is, my mom continues to improve.  The ventilator was removed today and she's off the sedation but still extremely groggy.  With the vent off and tubes gone she's able to communicate a little better although it's only a very low raspy voice at this point.  

Today, and quite possibly for the next 24 to 48 hours, I will not be leaving the hospital.  Not because I need to be here specifically for any reason, but because it's snowing, and I don't drive in snow.  Just looked out the hospital room window and there is a man with a snow shovel clearing the walks. 

I snapped a couple of pictures through a large window in the hallway looking out towards a parking lot.

I know, it doesn't look like much but to an inexperienced driver, it's a mountain of snow.

There are points to the south of here that already have 8" of snow.  I'm so very thankful this weather wasn't around on the day I drove up.  I'd be an absolute nervous wreck or ... just a wreck in a ditch!

The sunsets up here can be so wonderful.  This is just one that I snapped back on Sunday as I neared my destination.  There wasn't much way of avoiding the power lines so just pretend they aren't there.

I had lunch less than an hour ago in the hospital cafeteria and it really wasn't bad, honey mustard chicken with rice pilaf and broccoli that still retained it's color.  I put a little cheese sauce on the broccoli.  Also picked up a small bag of potato chips so I'd have something to snack on later without having to go back to the cafeteria and then return to ICU and have to wait to be buzzed in. 

My dad called and said he'd be out if he could figure out how to put the chains on the car...oh dear.  I'd prefer he just stay at the house, but he's been so excited since last night with Mom's improvements that he's just that much more antsy and anxious to be here with her frequently.  I think a part of him thinks she'll be home in a day or so, but that is not the case.  She is still a very sick puppy that needs a lot of attention and though there's been wonderful improvements, things can change rapidly.  I'm quite realistic about such things, though I am optimistic and very hopeful that she will be home some time in the coming weeks.  When she leaves ICU, she'll still be here in the hospital for a time before being released, and then to a convalescent center even before going home.

Mom's resting comfortably right now and I'm feeling the need for a nap.  Wonder if I can curl up in this chair that makes into a bed-of-sorts?

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