"Actively Dying..." I heard the Hospice Doctor say to my mom's hospice nurse. I knew Ma was dying days before. I heard the death rattle; a sound I have heard come from a dying person in the past.
My role as Ma's caregiver is coming to an end. Is today the day she will get on the bus to heaven?
Her end came fast, exactly as I had hoped would be the outcome to all of my efforts these last five years. My mom was walking on Thursday. A short walk that tired her quickly, but she walked with me and the hospice Chaplain. She even was able to say her birth date; she remembered. The last thing my mom said to me was, "Oh, your hair looks nice." It did. I was having a good hair day.
The pain from the UTI was causing mom lots of discomfort. Dr. Barton's natural herb antibiotic mixture wasn't working anymore. Pyridium wasn't helping. My mom had no other options to ease her discomfort. I saw my mom jumping off the toilet and crying, buckled over in pain. I ran and found the doctor and told her about my mom's discomfort. We determined it was time for her to have a low dose of morphine.
I was nervous. In my heart I knew that once we started morphine my mom would relax and her life would end. We stopped all natural medicines. Morphine took the edge off and made her comfortable.
Friday my mom was sound asleep when I arrived early, hoping to see her before the snow storm came and crippled the city. Mom did see me briefly when I helped her out of her wheelchair and tucked her in her bed with her baby. The last time I would ever see my mom smile at me and look at me with her eyes. I didn't want to leave, but I did.
Friday afternoon my mom woke up from her nap during the raging blizzard and was wide awake and alert. She was wheeling herself around in her chair, smiling and greeting the staff. I missed her last surge before she began to actively die.
Saturday we had a driving ban in the state because of the snow storm. I couldn't get to see my mom. She never got out of bed and was not very responsive to her environment.
Sunday I visited with my sister and my niece. We heard the death rattle in her throat. It scared me a little. I had asked the nurse if the gurgling meant her end was near like I had read on the internet. Mom's nurse teared up and shook her head yes. Her decline happened fast.
Monday (yesterday) I sat with my mom. She is unresponsive now with labored breathing. I cried a lot. I thought I was prepared for my mom passing. I am not. I suppose we are never ready to see someone that we love die. Her breathing is labored. Her time on Earth is coming to an end.
Is today the day?
I believe that all of my efforts, caring for my mom were all worthwhile. I believe that my mom suffered a lot less because she didn't take traditional pharmaceuticals to treat her dementia. I had lots of good days with her, memories that will last my lifetime. It was hard caring for my mom. I did it. I would do it again. I will miss you Ma... time to get on the bus and be free from all this suffering.