Terminal Agitation

Yesterday was a very emotional day. I called my mom in the morning and although she did know who I was, I could tell that she was hallucinating more than not. A short time later, the hospice nurse called me and said that mom was experiencing terminal agitation. She pulled out her catheter and was very anxious, grabbing at things that were not there and talking to people in her past.
When I asked the nurse to define terminal agitation, she said that this was part of the dying process and very common for people to go through. No one can predict when things will happen – and she could rebound again, as she has in the past. It is just such a roller coaster ride to go through this.
I told a close friend of mine, Kathy Hodgson, yesterday that I was just so tired of crying. My eyes hurt all the time and I am always tired, but when I lay down to sleep I can’t.  I am a little taken aback at how deeply this has affected me. I knew I always loved my mom, but I guess I never realized to what extent. I look like her – I have a lot of her characteristics. And I feel like I am losing the one person who probably knows me better – inside and out  – from anyone else. This is my last experience with unconditional love, and losing that is hard.
When I went to see her yesterday, at first she knew who I was. Then as time went on and I would ask her who I was, she would call me by various names – some I did not even recognize. But, I knew she knew I was there. The nurse finally gave her something to calm her down and she slept. I just sat in the chair next to her bed and stayed with her for a while. Then I kissed her and left.
This morning, the nurse said that mom had a restful night – but I am not sure how lucid she will be today. I am going over to her apartment to do some light cleaning up before her sister arrives on Thursday. I hope mom hangs on until then, but I did tell her yesterday that if she needs to go, that I will be ok and that I will handle everything.
I go back t work next week, and even though I am looking forward to it, it bothers me that I will not be spending as much time with her. It’s true, there is not much I can do for her now, but I do not want her to think I am abandoning her. I know somewhere deep within her, she knows that.
The people at the nursing facility are amazed at how many visitors that she has been having and much she is loved. They told me it is refreshing to see that someone is admitted and not just forgotten about. I really admire the people who work there – what they do on a day-to-day basis is incredible. And it is interesting, there are very few men who are doing this kind of work – it is such hard work and the pay is not that great – but it is such important work. It is a shame these caregivers are not being compensated more for what they do.
Bob’s visit went without a hitch. I was afraid that maybe after he visited that she might go into a decline. We’ll see what the next few days bring.
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