This is the part I have been putting off writing about because it is the hardest. From Thursday on I had to deal with a chaos of emotions while deal with the real chaos that was going on around me. To survive I turned those emotions completely off. To start let me say that before all this with grandma happen, we thought it would be a good idea to get our house tented for termites while everyone was on vacation. So on top of everything else I had to pack up myself, my dog and my things and go stay at my uncle’s house from Thursday till Saturday. This meant that I couldn’t even go HOME after dealing with all of this. I had to stay in a strange house, in a strange bed, which sent my hyper-valiance on over-drive. Meaning little to no sleep.
I got to grandma’s on Thursday expecting things to be at least a small bit better because we now had the hospital bed and I was hoping that Grandma and the aide got some sleep the night before. What I found was worse than the day before, because we could no longer get grandma out of bed. Touching her anywhere made her scream in agony. Hospice still had her on Vicodin which wasn’t touching her pain, and which was becoming increasingly hard for her to shallow. Grandma wanted back into her wheelchair so that she could be in the kitchen looking out the window. There were only 2 problems to that – one was the afore-mentioned pain that made moving her impossible and the second was the blood blisters the size of golf balls on the bottom of her feet. The blood blisters were a side effect of her spending the last 3 days and nights in her wheel chair and not having the strength to even keep her feet on the petals made of them. Of course as she is screaming about getting in her chair so she can be in the kitchen my mom calls. Then I’m getting it from grandma, mom and mom’s nurse friend about if she wanted to be in the chair we should put her in it. I hang up the phone on mom and her friend and try first to deal with grandma. I finally get her calmed down when I show her, her feet and explain that until the Hospice nurse comes I don’t want to put her in her chair. This took about a ½ an hour then I had to call my mom back. I barely say hello and she starts on me about if grandma wants to be in the chair that is where we should put her. At which point I go outside and completely lost it. I tell her that unless she want to get her a$$ back home and start dealing with this that she needs to shut the F@(% up and quit telling me what to go because she hasn’t a clue what is really going on. Then I hang up on her again; (this whole this with my mom/family trigger all the alone/abandon feelings I had right after I came out about my abuse, which didn’t help me deal any better).
The Hospice nurse finally came with the drugs, but we had to wait for the doctor before we could change any of the medications. Foreseeing another battle with grandma because she only like her doctor and no other doctors to look at her, I had to ask the Hospice doctor to lie to grandma and say he was a nurse sent by her doctor. Nurses, grandma would allow, another doctor she wouldn’t. Thank goodness the Hospice doctor was so understand and when alone with it. We got her through his exam then I had to go through what health condition she had or may have had in the past, what medications she was on, what medications he wanted to change (namely all of them), and the deal with administering morphine. When I asked about her life expectancy at first he was no committal with it could be anywhere from 2 weeks to a couple of months, but after talking with me for over an hour as he left he pulled me aside and told me that he would be surprised if she made it through the weekend. While this is something that I already knew in my heart to be true, it was earth-shattering to actually hear it out loud.
Friday was worse and better because grandma was a lot worse, but my friend came from out-of-town to help. She and grandma were close and it helped to take some of the burden off my shoulders when it came to dealing with her. But I still had to deal with the nurses and doctors and Betty, the 24 aide we had, plus to make things worse we had a hurricane coming. Like it wasn’t enough already that I had to deal with grandma dying and all that, that involved, plus starting at someone else house and all that that involved, but let’s just add a hurricane on top of everything else, and I wish I could say that the hurricane was the worst thing that happened, but it wasn’t.
Saturday, is the day that I shall forever after think of as H@!! on earth. I’ve know my adopted grandma for about 15 years give or take a few years in all that time I have only every HEARD of her nieces and grand-niece, I have NEVER MEET them. On Saturday, Broom-Hilda*, grandma’s grand-niece decided to blow into town. At first I was nothing but nice to her, trying in every way I could to make her feel welcomed and to help come to terms with what was happening. About noon she decided to go for lunch and I decided that I really needed a break so I left Betty and my friend there. When I got back about five pm the whole atmosphere in the house was different. Betty and my friend were in the living room, Broom-Hilda was in with grandma and she was basically kicking grandma’s spiritual leader out of the bedroom, she wouldn’t let me in the bedroom and she keep trying to close the door. When I asked my friend what was up she said that instead of going to lunch Broom-Hilda went to the police station, and then when she got back she called the police, trying to get everyone kicked out of the house. All I can say is I’m so glad that grandma had the forethought to make my mom power of attorney a year and a half ago, which basically gave Broom-Hilda no rights. When the police came to the house the first time (the time I wasn’t there) they asked a bunch of questions about grandma – stuff about her health, her birthday, who her doctor was, etc. Broom-Hilda couldn’t answer a single question, not even what her birthday was, the police finally look at my friend for answers and she rattled them all off from memory because she know and care about Grandma. The police on that visit decided that they really couldn’t do anything, and left. My coming back plus the fact that Betty was leaving for the weekend, sent Broom-Hilda over the edge. We had call one of our friends who was a RN to come help us for the night because the agency couldn’t get anyone in till morning(thanks hurricane) and because of the police and Broom-Hilda’s accusations that we were killing Grandma we wanted someone who was an RN there. At this point, Broom-Hilda said she wanted us out of the house, which I wasn’t going to do so I said that I was going to call the police. When I went to pick up the phone, she pushed me out-of-the-way, yelled into the phone that “we were trying to kill her”, dropped the phone then hung it up. There were 6 people in the house beside her and grandma and all of them were at least 3 feet away from her looking at her like she was crazy. She then throw some of grandma’s medicine at my friend who been to pick it up only to have Broom-Hilda almost rip her hand off. The police called back during this and I answered the phone and calm explain what was going on. The 9-1-1 operator said that they had 2 cop cars on the way, and to stay on the phone. About this time Broom-Hilda noticed I was on the phone and came after me again. She pushed me into grandma’s china cabinet and started yelling at me and shaking her fist. It’s a good thing this triggered a memory of my mother which keep me frozen till the police came (good thing they came in like 2 minutes) otherwise I think I would have flattened the B!$%^.
About the same time the police showed up, the Hospice nurse showed up for her daily visit. Two of policemen had to end up taking Broom-Hilda outside, because as the Hospice nurse put it “she was violating the sanctuary of the death chamber” with all her goings on.
The police, who had already had to deal with Broom-Hilda, twice that day, took one look at our power of attorney paperwork, and Broom-Hilda’s record of being in and out of the nuthouse, and decided to escort her from the house. Added to what they had found out on the early visit that we know more about grandma then Broom-Hilda did, the Hospice nurse finished up her exam of grandma and told the police that there was no signs of abuse what-so-ever. She went on to say that grandma was one of the best look after patient she had ever had (this made me proud) and that all she saw was the normal slide downwards that comes with end of life. I stayed calm till the police and the hospice nurse left then it hit me like a ton of bricks, and I went into one of the worst panic attacks I’ve ever had.
* Remember names have been changed for the sake of the innocent and the not so innocent.