On Tuesday (Nov. 11) I moved Mom to the hospice care center. Although she had been receiving hospice care at the assisted living facility since mid-August, after her fall on Sunday (which could have been prevented) I lost all confidence that the assisted living facility could keep her safe. She is receiving much better care now.
Sadly Mom’s “recovery” at the end of last weekend, while spectacular in comparison to being totally non-responsive, only returned her to the cognitive level she was before the downward spiral: extremely confused and dependant on others for her most basic needs. She can’t, for example, remember how to sit. She has to be “cued,” the process broken down into micro-steps. She has to be supported and walked to the chair, rotated, coaxed to take a step backwards, told that what she feels on the back of her legs is a chair, her hands placed on each arm rest of the chair (a fairly long process if she is holding on to something else at the time) and told to bend her knees. Sometimes that won’t even help as she will lock her knees and refuse to bend. We re-approach and start again from the beginning.
Still, the few bursts of “clarity” she experienced, whether stray phrases from the past temporarily unlocked or true thoughts allowed to exit, were moments I will always treasure. With the “recovery” came a period of what I can only describe as hyperactivity. She was almost constantly in motion, trying to sit up, stand up, moving her arms around, reaching and “picking up” unseen objects, picking at her clothing, pulling at her fingers. I don’t believe she slept more than a few hours in two days.
She has not eaten anything since Tuesday and adamantly refuses food or drink whenever it is offered. We are by her side, just waiting. Her body is telling her it’s time, but her spirit just isn’t listening. I am not surprised. This is the woman who never wanted to leave a party, or stop sewing (or painting, weaving, or dying fabric) until she was ready to fall down from exhaustion because she was afraid she would miss something.
Without nourishment of any kind she is, amazingly, still able to stand and walk with assistance. She is alternately agitated and confused, or sleeping peacefully.
The strange ability to speak some coherent words every once in a while has diminished, although she did seem to know who I was for a moment and called me by name. On Wednesday, I told her it was my birthday and she said, “Happy Birthday.” Yesterday she said, “I love you, Pussycat.” I don’t think at the time she knew that was anything beyond just a phrase she used to say, but since she used to say it to me and I happened to be there to hear it again, I am grateful for the gift. As soon as she uttered it she was gone again.
Jennie and Steve are with me and I feel your prayers and support.