Oct. 8th, 2013

vdansk: (plant)
It's been a hard couple of weeks.  Darker mornings, earlier evenings, an 11 day migraine, 3 patient deaths in one week (2 expected, but one of those a patient I've known a decade and loved, and 1 totally horribly unexpected), and the elephant in the room:

My Mom is dying.

She's been dying for at least the last 3 years, but slowly.  She'd developed moderate Alzheimer's in her late 70's, but was holding her own for a few years.  Things started to go down hill in 2007, when she went into congestive heart failure.  (Average survival: 18 months.) Then she broke her arm, and a month later her hip.  (50% mortality in 1 year.)  Then the week before she was supposed to get out of Rehab, she fell and broke her leg.  By the time she came home in early 2008 she was talking to dead relatives who kept telling her it was time to come home.  I have NEVER had a patient last a year once that starts, and yet it's been 5 years.

There have been more catastrophes, including two more fractures and rehab stays.  At this point she needs to be lifted from bed to chair with a Hoyer lift, and she sleeps most of the day.  Still, she's comfortable and happy.

My most recent visit home I found that she cannot sit unsupported, cannot move even minimally in bed, and most of the time cannot support her own head but lets it loll back.  From my hospice work, that gives her a few weeks.  Since this is Mom, who has defied all expectation, I'm thinking we have 6-12 weeks, 16 at the outside.

I've been mourning her for years.  She doesn't know me (although is always pleased to see me), and hasn't for four or five years.  And yet...now that it is imminent rather than theoretical, it's hard.

I'm doing better.  This is day three without headache so far, I spent Sunday with friends at the CTRF, and I'm starting to feel less Despair and more Me.  I'm going to go up every 3 weeks or so until the end, and work is aware that I may just call out one day if the situation changes.  I have a long weekend coming up.  I'll make it.

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vdansk

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