What’s Going On

My mother went to the emergency room on Tuesday morning because the staff at her nursing home felt she was behaving oddly. After a few hours they came back with a surprising and alarming diagnosis, pneumonia. She was admitted on Tuesday morning.

On Thursday night my father and brother were talking and my father said what we were all thinking. Enough. It’s time to start looking at this from a quality of life standpoint and think that we need to just do what we can to make her comfortable. They started talking about hospice care. On Friday morning I went over to my father’s place and we continued the conversation. We’re all on the same page. It’s time to start looking into hospice.

My brother is my mother’s healthcare proxy so he tried getting the ball rolling with the hospital. I was taking my turn staying with my mother and I tried to do what little I could to get the case manager and my brother on the phone with each other. It worked, but it sort of didn’t matter. After they talked, the doctor called him and blew what little planning we had in place to bits and pieces. The pneumonia was likely the result of her being unable to swallow food anymore. They took her off solid food and oral medications. He didn’t say that this was it, but he hinted strongly that this was it. He didn’t tell us to get to the hospital immediately, but he did say he was arranging for a priest to give the last rights.

Obviously we all raced to the hospital. We all broke down and came unglued and balled our eyes out as the reality of the situation hit us. We have no idea how much time she has left, but it isn’t much. Her nurse at the time suggested CMO care, which stands for Comfort Measures Only. Sort of like hospice on steroids, maybe? We agreed to that, while still waiting on the hospice evaluation which was planned tentatively for today, Saturday. She was moved to a private room so that we wouldn’t have to worry about a roommate. We don’t want her to be alone at the end. Her mother was terrified of that when her time came and we want to avoid it for her too. My sister stayed until a little before 5:00am, then my brother took a shift, and then I came on at noon. Jen was with me last night and she came with me today. There were a lot of family visitors too and we were only alone with her for a short time.

At this point she is on a couple of medications that she’s taking IV, but that’s it. Her breathing is difficult but keeping her comfortable is the goal. We don’t know what’s coming next, but we’re preparing ourselves for anything at this point.

And that is what is going on. Jen and I are home to get some dinner but will be going back soon. I am going to try to bring my father back tomorrow. My sister in law got him there today. I want him to get as much time with her as possible.

This is completely awful.