I’ve been sleeping on the couch for well over two weeks now.
I hear every sound in the house.
The dog breathing. My son coughing. My wife adjusting in the bed. My mother calling out for help.
She needs to go to the bathroom.
So, I pick her up out of bed and wheel her down to the bathroom. I’m as gentle and slow and purposeful as I can be, but she sill moans slightly as I move her. She can’t stand on her own anymore, so I have to hold her up to get everything adjusted so she can sit on the commode.
The new diapers are Baby Huey huge.
I think that this is the second time she’s been to the bathroom in less than 12 hours which is unusual for her.
Up off the commode, in the chair and back to her bed. I’ve done this enough to have a method to changing the diaper on her. I’ve already got the old one off and the new one on the bed where I can just lay her on it and pull up the tabs to secure it.
But the tabs are cheap and I end up ripping the damn thing. Into the trash and out with a new one. Now, I’ve got to lift her up like I did with my son when he was little. I’m worried about hurting her, but she doesn’t make a sound so I mentally file this away in my tool box.
Diaper changed. Pants up. Blanket up.
I never thought I’d have to do this for her.
It’s time for more pain meds and I asked her if she wants some. She hates the taste of it, but she can’t swallow the pills anymore and it’s questionable as to whether they actually did anything or not. So, here we are with the evil stuff under the tongue.
.25 ml every 4 hours or so. A squirt 6 times a day keeps the pain away…
I write down the time and the amount on a whiteboard to keep track and make sure we’re not giving her too much or too little.
It’s been a week and four days since she’s eaten anything of substance. Five days since her last bowel movement and that was just about nothing. I track these things in my head daily.
It’s like parenting in reverse.
I wonder how long it will be. I don’t want her to go but I don’t want her to suffer. She’s in this foggy limbo. She speaks little.
The hospice people and other help we have let little things slip in their conversations unintentionally. “I’ll see you…” and they trail off.
They know it won’t be long. I hope it’s not and I hope it is. I feel selfish either way.
We’ve cared for her for five years here and some chang. We did everything we could. I’d lie and tell you it was all sunshine and beautiful, but it wasn’t. It was a lot of hard work, inconvenience and putting ourselves aside to make sure her needs were met. Every decision made now had someone else to factor in and even tho she was part of our tribe, it was still an adjustment. Very little time for ourselves. Fewer resources to go around. Less of me to go around.
And yet, I have no regrets. We did the right thing in bringing her here to make our home hers and not some crappy nursing home where they don’t love her near as much as we do. This is what we all are supposed to do.
Our society isn’t really structured for this tho, is it?
As this season of our life changes with every passing moment, I’m anxious and hopeful.
I hear her coughing in the back. Gotta run.