Last night, my mom woke up in pain at 3:00 AM and I held her hand, waiting for the morphine to work until 4:30 AM, dropping off intermittantly. It should only take half an hour to work. I need a clock, I didn't know it was an hour and a half. At 4:30 we gave her a sedative and she went to sleep and I went to sleep. She was gasping for air as she went to sleep that night. Only every third breath or so seemed to be able to get through. But she's still here this morning. The hospice nurse noted that her eyes are less bright. We take this day by day, hour by hour. I asked mom last night what she was waiting for and she said she was "terrified." That's legitimate. Everybody does what she's doing, but none of them come back and say anything about it. We'll all do it, but with noone to guide us, really.
Paul came over this morning while my mom was appropriately medicated for pain (keeping up my proud tradition of lying in her blog, I said we were successfully controlling her pain with meducation. I'm not sure we're very successful. Right now, I'm waiting for the sedative to kick in because she's unsettled and maybe in pain, I'm not sure and anyway, she can't take that much more morphine right now, so I'll wait and see if the lorazepam helps and if it doesn't then i'll give her more morphine and she'll be at the limit she can receive. But when paul was here, she was cheerful, alert (so to speak) and not in much pain). He held her hand for a while. She didn't really look at him. He said he had to go give a friend a ride home from knee surgery and he would probably be back later. It's a good excuse, at least.
One of the hospice volunteers was here earlier. She's the one that used to read to my mom from the bible. One day, my mom told her "go to hell." Mom wasn't doing that well that week. It may have been her only sentence. So she quit reading the bible that day and talked to her instead. Today, my mom can't defend herself as well. The woman had us all stand around and read us poetry that prominently featured several endangered species and other parts of nature being very happy to see someone's spirit set free. It made me cry. I hate having my emotions manippulated by art that isn't really up to the task. Lone wolfs on the tundra may or may not howl out welcome to dead folks, but if you're going to talk about it, it should get more than a stanza instead of going directly on to hawks, eagles and rainbows. The Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack is more up to the task. Even featuring a song about a daughter saying goodbye to her mother.
I wish I could do something to help my mom. I wish she didn't have to go alone. I wish it didn't have to hurt her. I wish she was older. I think she's fighting off deatn like we fight of sleep.
People keep asking if they can bring anything. Saint candles. Any saint. If you can't bring a candle, light one at home.