|Chris, Mom and I in 1975|
Turns out our mom's not dying; not quickly, anyway, and in fact, may stay in this limbo for a while.
Her guardian called on our way to see her on Tuesday..she was asking for the Advanced Directive for her file..the bright green sheet that nurses, doctors and EMT's know as the "pulse form," or the "DNR."My brother didn't know what she was asking, so said "My God, let me visit her first."
No extraordinary measures.
Here are the ordinary measures: they feed her medication, help her get dressed, make sure she eats. (She gets to choose from a daily menu. Good thing she forgot she was vegetarian. Limited choices.) She is combative about showering, which I know from my failed attempts to force her. What with the decimation of Medicaid and Medicare, the addition of bathtubs, particularly in skilled nursing homes, doesn't seem likely.. so spot showers and sponge baths it is. She loves having her hair washed, and still has fabulous hair.
We were scared my mom might not recognize Chris. He claims she didn't for the first few minutes until she heard his voice. She knew immediately that it was her funny son, and so she was trying so hard to be funny. It was really quite charming. She laughed hard and readily. (She doesn't brush her teeth anymore) and tried to make little jokes. She rallied the first day we were there. It was a short visit, and not as bad, but still kind of worse than he had planned. Because it was in person.
When Alex and I had visited her on Easter, mom was using the bathroom by herself, but since being put on anti-anxiety meds to get her to stop pacing, and chill her out during dressing and undressing (It reportedly took three nurses half an hour to get her pajamas on a few nights ago.) she's lost the interest or ability to go to the bathroom on her own, so it's back to the pull-ups. Also, she now walks with her right shoulder hunched down. They say its a side effect of the medication (that and constipation) Chris says she looks like an extra in the "Thriller" video. True, but with less rhythm. Inappropriate? Sure, but you try going through this without gallows humor. Speaking of which...
|We've dubbed this mangy cat "The Mascot. " I don't remember its name. It needs a bath, some grooming, a trip to the dentist, and some love. Get in line, kitty.|
|I tried to get some annuals for my mom to plant in this box: She really wanted to, but the little town in which she resides didn't have any flowers. Had ordered them, but didn't have them.|
Word-building. Social. We talked a large kindly man, who appeared to be a former boxer, since he used a fighting gesture to be playful, which is probably where he was brain-damaged. We're just creating that theory, we don't really want to know the truth. Former Heavyweight champion. He put an "L" tile on the table next to the Scrabble board. Just the "L." Chris looked over and saw "ost" on his wooden letter holding ledge. "May I make a suggestion?" he asked. And he added the OST onto the L. The champ rose his arms up and said "Yea!" in victory. My mom left a few times..wasn't really into it. We made up our own rules and put words wherever we wanted. A nurse brought my brother a bag of chips. I had a diet Pepsi. It was 15 minutes of almost fun.
When we dropped mom off at a dinner table to eat (with 6 men..turns out that scared her. It was the closest table next to the shelves that house the board games) Chris walked over to shake the Scrabble player's hand and joked about winning a hundred dollars off him. Heh, heh.
A Vet with one leg wheeled over and confronted Chris:
"Did you really take a hundred dollars from him? That's a lot of money!? Did he take your hundred dollars?" The guy nodded. Shit. Vet was ready to kick Chris's shins in. Chris had to explain the art of sarcasm.
|Chris and mom, on the outside walkabout. Not pictured: The smoking shed|