Thursday, August 30, 2007
The Next Leg of the Trip
The nurse's voice on the other end of the phone broke through the simple plans I had for the day.
I was doing my weekly cleaning for a lady, so called John at home and told him that the Memory Care facility had just called to say his mother was unresponsive and they were shipping her out to the hospital. He took off to meet her there and I finished my work and joined them.
Mother will be 91 in October, and as I entered her ER cubicle I wondered if she would make it that long. "Deathly white" is an appropriate description. She was talking with John, though she had no idea who I was when I went up to place a kiss on her forehead. I told her I'd been married to her son for nearly 37 years. "Really?" she replied.
After 5-1/2 hours in the ER (our shortest visit so far!) it was determined that she has a GI bleed from an unknown cause. Of course they could do furthur tests or exploratory surgery, but we have long ago opted out of that line of attack. She is so ready to go to heaven and while we don't want to do anything to hasten that event, neither do we want to delay it. The doctor suggested it was time to get hospice involved, and we agreed.
The hospital social worker came in to talk to me (John had gone to work by then) and said she had arranged for hospice workers to meet us at Osprey Court as soon as Mother was transported back there. She left a couple of hospice brouchures for me to look at.
Mother must have been getting bored by then, as she reached out her hand and said she wanted "that piece of paper." So I handed her one of the brouchures and there she sat, reading outloud the following hospice guiding philosophy: "You matter because you are you. You matter to the last moment of life. And we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die." (by Dame Cicely Saunders)
It was poignant to see her sitting there reading about her upcoming journey. How long it will take, we have no idea. How rocky the road will be, we don't know. But the fact that our family can travel this together, assured that she will reach her final destination, is a source of peace and blessing.