Being the sole person responsible for the care of someone who is dying is a scary thing. I’m not saying that there weren’t other people around helping to care for my grandma, but the decisions fell on me. And while I have carried a lot of the decision-making for my family in the past, it was nothing compare to this.
Saturday night after the police left, hospice left and Betty, our aide left, it was decided that since we couldn’t get someone in over-night that my friend and I would do it. There was really nothing left to do except give grandma her medicine and wet her lips. We had only called our RN friend to pacify Broom-Hilda, with her out of the picture; we felt she wasn’t really needed.
That night I learned how really long and really short an hour can seem all at the same time. By this point, we’d been directed by Hospice that grandma could have morphine every hour if she needed it. We started out the night with the timer on my phone set for every two hours because that was where she was at. That lasted only till midnight, after that she would start screaming with what little voice she had left, first every hour and a half then every hour. It finally got to the point where I’d just sit holding her hand and when she was in pain again she’s tightens her hold.
At this point, I was telling her it was alright that she could let go now, that she didn’t have to hold on to life anymore. That I understood that she wanted the pain to stop and that it was ok to let go. I’ve heard that sometimes that is all that the person is waiting for, permission from their loved ones to let go. As much as it was hurting me, I wanted her to feel that it was alright to let go. The problem was that I wasn’t the person she was waiting for to give her permission to let go. She was waiting for my mom.
After a sleepless night, Sunday rose with the hope of relief. If they left early enough my mom should be home no later than noon. But again my family let me down with this. Because my mom was traveling with her brother, his kid and grandkid, my father and her friend, she felt that she couldn’t push them to leave early, because this was the last day of their vacation. So instead of being home by noon, were just leaving at noon, after sleeping in and having breakfast.
All week they have been enjoying a wonderful vacation in the mountains while I have been dealing with death, now I really need them home and they are acting like nothing is going on. There I was, I hadn’t slept at all in over 24 hours and very little in the last week, my nerves are shot from all that has happen, I really want someone else to take over and what do I get – we be there when we get there. All I’m wondering is if they will be in time. With each passing hour Grandma is getting worse and worse. I have to call the Hospice nurse again, because the medicine is no longer taking the pain away. The Hospice nurse finally gets grandma to put on the oxygen so that every breath is a gasp, she up the dosage on the morphine again with a note the at this point we need to give her what is going to keep her comfortable and that we should be prepared. That she’d be surprised if grandma made it through the night.
About this point, 3 or 4 pm, my mom FINALLY shows up. I’m trying to give Grandma more medicine; mom’s trying to get her to wake up enough to know that she’s there. And mom gets mad because grandma can barely get the liquid meds down, plus she wants grandma to be more awake so she can tell her good-bye. I’m ready to yell if you wanted to say good-bye and for her to hear it that you should have been here days ago. Now the most important thing is that grandma’s not in pain, not for you to ease your guilty conscience. After about other hour, I just can’t take any more. I go in to say my good-byes knowing that this may be the last time, I kiss her on the forehead, and I go home, were I crash, go-out-like-a-light, sleep like, well, the dead till I get the call at 7 the next morning from my mom that she is gone. That she is finally at peace. It is the one thing that I have been praying for since this whole thing started.