Saturday, June 1, 2013
Momma, Come Get Me!
Yesterday was a bad day for mom. Thursday night had been a very restless one, and the live-in caregiver said mom talked, sometimes loudly, all night long. It was talk in her sleep, or some level of near sleep, and even if woken, she could not be brought out of her dreams, if that is what they were. So, with little rest that night, I guess it wasn’t surprising that Friday was a most difficult day.
In truth, it was mom who WAS difficult on Friday, even though we were the ones who felt the anxiety over her condition. She wished to eat little, and wanted no one to touch her, lashing out to scratch anyone who sought to feed her or change her wet bedding. But both had to be done, and were. It was difficult. Shortly after I arrived at noon, she was nodding off --- but talking as loudly and confidently as if she were having a conversation with ….who?? So I put the head of the hospital bed down so she might rest.
She spoke loudly and often during the next 5 hours, and attempts at waking her brought no awareness of the day’s reality; she was in her own world. Often she cried loudly: “Mama!! Come get me, mama!” To me, the words sounded like ones she might have spoken in her youth, where both English and Polish were spoken in the house. But yesterday was May 31st, the Feast of the Visitation. We honored our Mother Mary that day, and meanwhile my earthly mother cried out --- to her?
I don’t know, but I know I prayed to her.
Attempts at waking mom for dinner were fruitless. I got her to open her mouth and eat a couple of small bites of meat and potato, but she wouldn’t open except to say: “Get away!” after that. She took a few sips 7-Up from the straw, but that was the extent of the liquids. And she began calling loudly again: “Momma!” She seemed warm, and so I changed her blanket to a lighter one. I made no attempt to move her because any touching brought yells of pain --- whether real or imagined, I did not know. Before putting her back down to sleep, since she couldn’t stay fully awake, I gave her a half Motrin crushed and mixed in some applesauce, which the caregiver got her to eat.
The talking and sometimes screaming went on after I left the bedroom. The caregiver and I talked for a while, and then after about a half hour, mom's bedroom became quiet. Checking on her, we saw that she slept peacefully.
I write these things here, in part to document and remember these things myself, and for my fellow caregivers out there in the world, ones of today and future ones. This dying process, this pain, this anxiety-causing stress, they are all part of living, and life is a good thing ---- even in the difficult times. These are times to remember to pray, and to sincerely say: Jesus, I trust in You. God DOES make good out of all things, even the bad.
This morning the caregiver called me. Mom had woken up at about 10:30 and was eating breakfast calmly and quietly ---- as if yesterday had never happened. And for her, it hadn’t.
It is only us, the supposedly sane and reasonable ones who so often remember things of the past when we shouldn’t. The past is the past; we can’t change it. And so we should not be anxious about it. We live for the future, and in the future, for my mom and for us, there will be much happiness.
He promised us it would be so. Have faith.