The day started at 1:00 this morning; I was startled awake by the sound of Mom coughing next to me. I popped out of my chair and she was coughing stuff out of her mouth. Because she can't swallow, the medicine residue and saliva had built up and she was (luckily) coughing it out. I called out for Dad, who wasn't on his air mattress beside her. Of course she waited for the moment he went to the bathroom to do this. After the incident, dad slept beside her on her hospital bed. I don't think the nurse did a good enough job explaining this part to me. I don't know what I was expecting, but I wasn't really expecting all of those secretions and since then we have been diligent about swabbing her mouth to remove the excess residue.
By 4:00 am, Mom tried to sit up. This time it was with a lot of effort. She became very restless, laying down and then sitting up, pointing to the doors (like maybe she wanted to go out for a walk). We gave her more meds but she was still restless for another hour and a half. I sat at the foot of her bed and rubbed her legs and feet in hopes of soothing her and that seemed to settle her down; she finally fell back asleep around 5:30. By 7:00, she was awake and restless yet again. She wasn't due for meds quite yet but she seemed very agitated, like maybe she was in pain. We gave her her next round of meds a little bit early and she tried to sit up again. She couldn't stand, but Dad was able to hold her into a standing position to give her a stretch and put her in the wheelchair; we thought maybe she'd like a little ride around the block. The morning air was cool and she did seem content as we pushed her up and down the street, but by the time we got home she looked ready to rest again.
Throughout the day, this pattern of restlessness and agitation continued. She seemed uncomfortable and in pain. I spent a lot of time rubbing her body in hopes of calming her. She seemed to relax a lot more when people were touching or rubbing her. I brought my essential oils and used them on her legs and back, hoping her help her find relief. In the meantime, I had put a call in to the nurse, who made her way to the house around 10:30. She agreed that Mom seemed to be uncomfortable and in pain, so after consulting with the head nurse and doctor, they decided to up her dosage of morphine. It took a while to kick in and there were still spurts here and there where she would wake up and start turning in her bed. She wanted to keep sitting up, but by the end of the day, she was too weak to do it on her own :(
By late afternoon, she finally settled down and fell into a sleep and I began to notice small changes in her breathing. My Aunt Sharon (the RN) also noticed. It is as if she is breathing in, holding for a few seconds, and then releasing. I know what this means. She has been laying in the same position for past 3 1/2 hours without flinching. I fear that when I am finished writing this post and go to try and turn her that she won't wake up from her sleep.
I'm not gonna lie, I am really struggling today. Dad has been busying himself with cleaning up the house. I know it is extremely difficult for him to see her at this stage; he was hoping beyond hope that it wouldn't come to this. He was hoping for the miracle that she would go quietly in her sleep. It is devastating to see her like this. My heart feels like it is breaking into two. I have prepared myself as much as I possibly could; I've read and learned all I could to mentally strengthen myself for this day and now that we are here, I am breaking. I don't know if my heart can take it.
My brother drives back in tomorrow night. My Uncle Jeff, Mom's brother, flies in from Pennsylvania on Thursday. My daughter, Maurina, flies in Thursday afternoon and my Aunt Peggy early Friday morning. I am hoping that they each will have a chance to say good-bye. And I really need them here to help me get through this. I know my dad does, too.