Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lola Update 09/27/12

A few words of update on Lola. She seems to be declining a bit more lately. It's getting harder and harder to get her up out of the bed. She has a little hacking cough at times. However, her appetite is as good as ever.

Getting Lola out of the bed is troublesome. She's slipping more and more into simply sleeping. I know that if I weren't here, she'd simply lay in bed until she died. I face a dilemma whenever I go to get her up - it startles her so much to be awakened, and I hate to make her feel that way, yet if I don't force her to get up, she'll get progressively weaker and not be awake long enough to eat enough to nourish her body.

She never asks for food anymore, and I find myself missing her mealtimes. I'm on a jag of not wanting to eat (that mouth thing and food just tastes yucky) so I just don't think of it. Cooking isn't fun lately, and the smells of food are hitting me like they did when I was pregnant. Blech. It ain't good for an old lady to have her kid be on a jag of not liking food.

She is losing weight, so I have to do better and keep a better eye on this. When Jeanne was last up, she commented on how little Lola looked laying in the bed. It's true. The waists on her jammies are beginning to be too big.

She's had a little hacking cough this last week, and that worries me a little. Most of the women in our family have a thing with skipping heartbeats at times, and whenever mine does that, it makes me have a little cough. I wonder if her cough is an indication that her heart is beginning to give out. You can't ask her about it and get any sense from her. Her mind doesn't hold anything long enough to remember what causes what.

She's beginning to drop her photograph albums as they're simply to heavy for her to manage. On the other hand, she's stopped tipping the TV tray over so I can now leave it in front of her and help her put her albums on it to look at. I have to wonder at this every time because I can't imagine what she gets out of it. She won't wear her glasses - claims there's no difference in her sight whether or not she has them on. So I doubt she can see anything. Whenever she flips through the albums, she does it so quickly I wonder if it's just something to keep her hands busy.

Talking to Lola has become a problem. Her mind won't focus on what is said to her unless she's facing a visitor and is "on spot." Everything I say to her now, I must preface with "Mama," and usually still have to repeat everything. Even after that if I ask her what I just said, she'll say, "I don't know."

Lola is still mostly unfailingly nice. She's always appreciative of everything that is done for her. She never complains about any meal, and when questioned on preferences for meals simply replies that whatever someone gives her is fine. She's crushed about having to have hygiene done by someone else. Every now and then she'll get a burr under her saddle and be cantankerous, but not very often.

About a month ago, she pulled her trick of getting up at a ghastly early hour like 7:30 a.m. She sat down in her chair and started the thing of clicking the light on and off and flipping pages in a photo album like a madwoman. I groaned and griped, "For heaven's sake, Mama, please stop and go back to bed." She very adamantly and loudly told me, "Oh, just shut up." She does it so rarely, it's almost delightful when she does.

There are such odd things that hit you when you're caring for someone at this stage of their life. On the one hand, I can make comments about her being like the Energizer Bunny and just keep going and going even when her mind is totally absent. Being on deathwatch can be very hard. On the other hand, whenever I do go and check on her in the bed and watch to make sure she's still breathing, if it's very shallow, a full sense of panic flows over me. My mind screams "What do I do if she's dead???"

1 comment:

Alex Dragon said...

Not to be morbid, but this is a good time to answer your question - what do you do if she's dead?

Now, in a clear mind, with both logic and time to make decisions on your side, you should make plans for that awful day.

Get out the phonebook and make a list of numbers you'll have to call. Begin with your doctor, who will have to come and pronounce the death. You'll have to call a funeral parlour - now is the time to interview a few by phone and choose one. (The guy we ended up with for my Dad's funeral would have made a great used car salesman. ugh). If you're planning a service, start getting together photos of Lola and scanning them into your computer. A funeral company will charge you $500 plus for what you can do with a few minutes here and there and a copy of Powerpoint. Same deal with music - choose music that has meaning to you and Lola. Readings for the service.

On your phone list, note any other places you'll need to notify, including family members, friends, etc. Does Lola receive a pension or benefit, or superannuation income? They'll need to be notified. Electoral roll? Are any of the household bills still in her name? Does she have a will, and where is it located? Is there a special outfit you'd like to have her dressed in for the funeral? Do you know where it is and is it ready to go?

When it eventually happens, you will be torn up by emotions - grief, relief, the whole lot. You'll not be thinking clearly and you will have to make decisions on the spot. Better to think it through now, with clarity and insight than to try and make all these decisions at a time when you're upset and unsettled.

Some families are lucky and get to farm these decisions and responsibilities out among a group of siblings, but that has drawbacks of its own - as I saw when my mother-in-law passed away a few years back.

It might seem dreadfully cold-blooded to you to start even thinking about these things, but it's not. When it happens (and it will), you will have to deal with it then. It's so much easier when you are prepared for it.