We've been with my mother-in-law in hospice the last few days, and as of yesterday, they wanted to move her. She now needs round-the-clock care in the home, and her husband can't afford to pay a nurse for 24 hour care. As of mutual family decisions made yesterday with extended family, we'll be caring for her in our home, either for the duration or until she is moved back into a hospice facility, depending.
I've taken an open-ended leave of absence from work, which my employer has been very generous about, though it's not paid. Jack's working as much as possible so that he'll have some ability to take off in his mom's final days.
There's so much I don't know how to do, but they are sending in nurses to help me learn a few basics of adult caregiving and to help me get set up. I haven't been home in a while, and for some reason my house did not clean and organize itself while I was gone (those elves have some 'splaining to do...). I grabbed 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep In My Own Bed (oh, how glorious it is to be back in my own bed!) and now have 6 days worth of cleaning to do in 5 hours before our home is descended upon and the next leg of this relay begins. But how very happy we are to have this opportunity! There is a lot to do in a short time today before they transfer her here, so I'm trying to shoot for an adrenalin surge somehow to get what I can done with the cleaning and de-funking around here before my house needs to run itself and all focus is on the patient. I want to have enough of it set up that Rachel can give me some breaks in her off time to catch a nap here or there. The irony that my own daughter, who just got her LPN license earlier this year and is working at a rehab and enrolled in college fulltime, will now be teaching me some patient care is not lost on me :) This, from the girl who once wondered if she could EVER change a diaper or clean up unpleasant things...let's see now if I can keep up with HER... :)
Jack's mom took a turn I'm not sure anyone noticed yesterday. The chart will show she had soft food and liquids yesterday morning, but I saw within a four hours' time period a definate change. She simply stopped taking any liquids, said I love you to immediate family, and didn't try to do things for herself, like shifting in bed, like she had been doing regularly. The strangest thing for me, in talking with the nurses, is adjusting to no expectation of recovery. I never realized how much it's programmed into me to assist folks with only an eye to regaining health. It seems very foreign not to "fight" for a rebound...to allow someone to reject food and liquids, ultimately completely, and not try to assist them to somehow get nourishment and revive. For the focus to be on comfort, to the exclusion of health. I've seen so much of the abuses that come when people don't CARE whether their elderly decline, I guess I didn't really realize much about the reality of situations in which the end is near and the goal of healthcare changes to helping the passage be unobstructed. Maybe like a lot of folks, I've been unnaturally insulated and segregated from this aspect of real life? It has not escaped me the similarities between this and the general disconnect in our society in other areas as well.
So now, we'll learn.
I hope I won't make a mess of this, and that she'll be easy in her mind and her body as much as possible.
I hope I get everything before 8 AM that can whip this house into shape. I'm now off to do some seriously neglected housework, oy! :)
THANK YOU to each one of you who have stopped by to lend a word of encouragement, and for the prayers that are going up. I love you all dearly.