Friday, July 22, 2011

Not forgetting

When you spend time as a patient in a hospital you stop becoming yourself.  Instead you become a disease or a procedure. 

You walk around with a gown that opens in the back and wear socks with stickums on the bottom so you don't slip.  It's a depersonalizing place usually. 

mom and me 1949

The Palliative care unit certainly tries hard to break thru that barrier, but you are in a hospital bed with catheters and IV drips and medicine you need to get at regularly scheduled times. 

Remembering who the person who occupies the bed really is not an easy task.  (They've never seen you in real clothes!)

The nurses here on this floor try very hard, as do the Nurse-assistants, the Residents and of course the Hospice staff. 

playing doctor
But you're still in a hospital. 

The overflow of that hosptalized mentality hits me as well, as I am a part of what the Hospice people come to treat.  I know that's not strictly true, but I feel so much like a bug on a petri dish sometimes.

Sometimes I don't want to be "the grieving family member".  Sometimes I'd like to be a crazy dancer or an ex-race car driver.  Sometimes the sympathy is just too much. 

I am getting really tired of the phrase, "it's all right to cry". 


Today is a plateau day.  My mother has stopped her descent and is in a holding pattern for a while with her blood pressure low but not yet dangerous, gurgling, but not choking, and finally  she's been having a fever but it's not gone over 99 yet, so we all wait.  I gave my sons the evening off from coming and looking solemn while at the same time feeling slightly ghoulish for not being able to interact with her.

we matched sort of

after my dad died
After my little outburst, of raging against the world,  today I decided to go through some of my scanned old family pictures on my back up hard drive, and found some great mom and me shots.

OK.  I found LOTS of mom and me shots, but I figured I'd share a few of them, mostly for me to remember this person of so many facets who made me laugh at myself and at life. 

It was really nice having the pictures to look at, and I'm so glad I scanned them all into my computer 2 days before I flew to Santa Fe back in 2007 for her back surgery.
Even as she lies on this hospital bed and snores and gurgles and sighs her "ohhhh's" she was someone completely different 6 weeks ago, someone closer to the interesting woman in these pictures.

(Well, except for the snoring part...)

1 comment:

  1. It may seem hard to imagine at the moment, but on day you will remember her best as she was in those photos or moving around her apartment and not as she is now or at the end. my father died of cancer and changed greatly before he died. I couldn't believe this would happen, but it did and was a great comfort to me. Thinking of you both.



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