I was in PHX wondering, “Well WTF do I do now?” I mean, hell, when they said my grandmother was “death imminent” I actually thought, “Well, at least this time I know what to do. I have INSTRUCTIONS!*” So, yeah, there has been some emotional whiplash to say the least.
My grandmother is what I would describe in a “very crappy but stable” status. Everyone agreed that there was no harm in heading home – no real sense in standing around watching nothing happen. Now, whether this “stable” is short, medium or long term is anyone’s guess, but the hospice nurses have assured me they are going to try really hard to make sure I REALLY need to jump on a plane before they say to jump on a plane. It helps that I know she won’t die alone by any means, and I don’t have an overriding psychological need to say goodbye. The woman that was my grandmother left a while ago.
Her anxiety was through the roof and we all thought it was the two day gap in her meds, but I finally figured it out – we’d been barking up the wrong tree all week. Everyone had been focusing on anxiety management, because that has always been a very, very large problem for her. It hit me that it needed to be about pain management. There had been a couple occasions where you could tell she just couldn’t get comfortable, and the Best Nurse Ever** gave her some morphine – which calmed her down immensely. She also didn’t want to open her eyes, and tended to have a death grip on the armrests on her chair. I mistook the closed eyes as light sensitivity (she’s had issues with that for quite some time – figured the episode last week made it worse) and the hands just a manifestation of anxiety. Until it hit me – they’re both natural responses to pain.
Now, if you ask her if she is in pain, she won’t admit it. She will not admit a pain of unknown origin – because then you have to see a doctor! (I know that is still cemented in her head.) She also has intermittent aphasia, and likely had a TIA last week, so if you say pain, she may translate it to chartreuse – and no, she’s not chartreuse today, you moron.
So, she’s back on vicodin with a side of morphine when needed, and while she’s tired and kinda quiet – she’s calmer, which is very good. I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t see it immediately.
Me, I’m dealing with some re-entry issues – mainly trying to figure out what on earth I was doing before I went down the rabbit hole for a week. Oh, yeah, trying to get ready for classes @GMU to start next week. Which I’m now wondering if it was overly optimistic to think that things were stable enough with her in the first place to attempt such an endeavour. If nothing else, I’ve got until September 30th to drop them. I still need to pickup my books & parking pass – that was something that was going to happen at the beginning of this week… Ah well.
And to top it all off, we’ve got a bit of weather headed our way, so today I was out getting supplies. Figure if I have water & non-perishable snacks, it should help guarantee that we have power & water service. 3 1/2 days of water, Slim Jims and 3/4 of a tank of gas – should be good to go. (Nice thing I realized tonight – if the power goes out, we will still have hot water. Gas hot water heaters FTW.) It’s just a bit of stuff I don’t really need right now as I’m trying to concentrate on getting my brain back in “home” mode and losing a weekend to weather wasn’t on the agenda.
* Quite literally, written instructions. We call it the Big Book of Death.
** She really is. I absolutely adore her.