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Sad Update
Hypatia
My MIL took a sudden turn for the worse during the night. She is, for the most part, unresponsive.

The nurse said she may have had a stroke, or an emboli that released and went to one of her lungs. She's very congested and is not able to swallow. She wasn't the least bit congested last night and did eat some dinner and have fluid, though she's been having difficulty swallowing for a while now and most of her foods have had to go through the blender before she could have them, and fluids have had to be thickened with a thickening product.

The nurse said it is common for this kind of sudden change to happen. Her pulse is very rapid, and the nurse said this is a sign that her body most likely is working to 'let go'. She said it is very unlikely my MIL will come out of this state, but that it could happen.

We are not being unrealistic in our expectations or thinking. Our goal is to keep her from being in distress and discomfort as best we can, and to be with her as she goes through her final hours or days. The nurse said she may even go today.

The nurse said something about her not even being aware of what is happening, and I hope, with the help of the comfort measures, she isn't having pain or discomfort. But I'm certain she's aware, to some degree, and we continue to talk to her as usual. Her home health aid also thinks so, and she suggested putting the phone to her ear for family members to speak to her if they wanted to. I did this when we were talking with one of my BILs earlier, and her eyes fluttered as he was speaking to her. So to me that confirms that she still has a level of awareness of what is going on around her.

My poor husband really is not able to 'watch' his mother die. I can't blame him in the least. I can only imagine how difficult it must be for him to see her this way. I am camping out in her room, with laptop and other supplies. I have also laid in a supply of classical and other soothing music and other sounds that we play for her.

Guess that's it for now.
 
Hypatia
Just a little FYI - November is National Alzheimer's Awareness month.

 
seeker
I'm really sorry to hear that Hypatia. I can't even imagine how hard this must be on your husband.
 
Theory_Execution
Hey Hypatia, I have been away from the forums a lot lately, thought I would jump back on though to thank you for being a wonderful human.

With all the dispair in the world it is good to see that people still care when they cannot know for sure if their caring is appreciated or even noticed.

I am not a doctor but I would like to think that your MIL has heard the things that have been said.
 
General-Pryce
Sorry to hear that. You have mine and Regans best regards. xx
 
Sinny
Oh Patia I am so sorry to hear this. It's hard enough to watch a love one die and especially harder when they go so slowly and can't communicate. I know what your husband is going through from having to watch my Father die so very slowly. I am sure she is no doubt very much like a mom to you Patia and it's painful for you too. I wouldn't be surprised to find she feels that you are her daughter even if she doesn't say it much or at all. Some MILS are like that.

Even though she may not show it I think she is aware, most of the time, if not always, of what is going on around her. Your staying with her helps to make here feel safe, secure and loved. That is so very important. I know how hard it is to do but I think what you are doing is very important to her and it's the kindest thing a person can do for a loved one during their last days, hours or however long it takes. But then that is the person you are Patia.

Soothing music she enjoys listening to is a great idea. The best thing you can do is help keep her as comfortable as possible and tell her you love her, basically what you are already doing.

I hope she pulls through but if she is going to suffer then I hope it's quick for her as well as you and your husband.

Keep us posted Patia <<<<<HUGS, HUGS, HUGS>>>>>
 
Hypatia
I have let Michael know about the warm thoughts and regards that have been expressed here, and we want you to know how much we appreciate them, and all of you.

 
schmoo
'Patia, I wish you both all the best. I lost my beloved grandfather to this disease and it wrenches your emotions to watch them slowly disappear. It's a horrible disease and I hope someday that if we can't eliminate it, we can at least let those who find they have it end their own lives with dignity while they still have their faculties intact.

I hope that doesn't overstep my bounds or upset you! Alzheimers is so fucking cruel.
 
Hypatia
Thank you Schmoo. No, that doesn't upset me - I so feel the same way. And by no means did you overstep any boundaries. Your sentiments mean a lot to me.

I'm sorry your grandfather, and your family, suffered through Alzheimer's. It's a horrendous disease that no one afflicted with should have to live with.

It's good for me to be here, on the site, now as I'm sitting with her. I'm sad, and weepy. I feel like this place, and the people here, are the best place for me to hang around when I can.

Yes, Sinny. My MIL has been like a mom to me, in many ways, and was long before this point. She told me many times that to her I was like the daughter she never had (she has three sons), and for me she has been much like a mom. She saw, on many occasions, what my own mother is like to me, though I know that what she's felt for me has never been pity but rather simply a closeness that grew between us out of our love and respect for each other. How can you not love a woman for giving you that?



 
catman
Hypatia: I am very sorry to read the bad news. Please give Michael and the others concerned my sincere best. You are very lucky to have such a MIL.

I went through a somewhat similar situation with my grandmother, who had a series of strokes and lived for about five years after they started. It is very difficult to deal with. Toweard the end, she always thought I was her son (my father) and seemed so disappointed that it was me...I don't think she remembered me by then.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
derF
Patia I know words are practically useless at times like this. One of the things I hate about my job is that I can't help but grow fond of most of the residents I have frequent contact with. All too often one takes a turn for the worse and all too soon slips through my fingers. It can be very depressing but I always feel having loved and lost them is far superior to having never known them at all.
Edited by derF on 11/14/2008 01:36
I'll drink to that. Or anything else for that matter.
 
RayvenAlandria
Damn. I'm sorry this is happening. Knowing it will eventually happen doesn't make it much easier to deal with.

On one hand I hope she's aware so she knows she's loved, but on the other hand I hope she's not and that she's not sad or frightened.
 
Nails3Jesus0
Hypatia- sorry to hear that. Hope you and your hubby are doing alright.
 
willie
Best wishes to you and yours 'patia.
 
Sinny
Hypatia I hope she is doing better today. Please let us know, ok. How are you and Michael holding up? My thoughts and best wishes are with you all. >>>HUGS<<<
 
Hypatia
She is still with us. Essentially we remain where we were the last time I wrote, except that a few days have passed and she is now deeper and further into her journey through her process.

I think we're doing well, all things considered. It's my BILs my heart really goes out to, as we are here with her and can at least do something, while they are far away and feel completely 'helpless'. All of us, though, are resigned to the outcome and have decided on final plans, so that will make taking care of the preparations easier.

There are many, many who love this woman. Family and friends have been making their travel arrangements, and we have been preparing ourselves for the many who will soon fill our home, to be here for her funeral, be together to remember her and pay their respects.

Without warning the stress caught up with and over took me yesterday evening as I ran around the kitchen like a mad woman (was thinking too much 'have to clean the bathroom, mop the floor, etc., etc.), and I suddenly found myself in the middle of a sobbing meltdown, out of no where. No wonder I married the man I did - he was so sweet and kind and caring, and helped me through that when, now, looking back, I wonder if anyone else might have ran out the door in terror. lol.

Something interesting happened at the end of that meltdown - my neck, head and back had been hurting so bad all day, but after releasing all that 'stuff', suddenly my neck and head felt so much better. It was amazing.

I told my husband, 'Damn, if I'd known doing that could make my neck stop hurting I'd do it more often.' Well, it goes without saying his look said it all - 'Don't even think about it.' LOL.

We had had tickets for a show we wanted to go to last night (will post more about that in the Science forum under 'First Friday Fractals'Wink and had a care giver lined up to stay with mom for about three weeks. We played it by ear yesterday, and since MIL was still maintaining at same place (no sudden turn yesterday), we decided to go ahead and go. It was such a great show, and we went out to eat and consume med-large amounts of alcohol after. We had a great time, and it was good for us to get away for a few hours - kind of do an 'attitude adjustment' of sorts.

Cat, derF, Rayven, Nails, Willie and Sinny - thanks for your warm, sweet thoughts. They mean so much.
Edited by Hypatia on 11/08/2008 13:35
 
Hypatia
She died, peacefully, Sunday morning.

We will miss her terribly, and always.

People will begin arriving Wednesday, and we'll have a simple graveside service at the Santa Fe National Cemetery on Thursday, where her husband is buried.

We're on our way to the mortuary in a little while to make arrangements for her cremation and the services.

I don't know how many times I woke up during the night last night and then realized that I didn't need to look at the video monitor, or get up to turn her or give her medication. Yesterday I headed to her door a few times before stopping, remembering. I know, this will soon pass too.

Even in the sorrow of no longer having her with us, there is some gladness that she's no longer 'lost' inside the mind that disease left her with.

 
JohnH
Hypatia,

I held my tongue on this subject until now and I will tell you why. About two years before my mother died I was sitting with her because she was ill, unrelated to her alzheimers, I still consider it a great weakness on my part that I could not smother her although I could have gotten away with it. There was a part of me that could not do what was correct.

I watched my aunt and my mother turn into things they were not. My aunt was a brilliant woman, she graduated from college (University of Washington) at age 15. It being the time that women could not do certain things she taught school but she had a decent life. My mother also graduated from college (again UW) and raised three reasonably successful children. She was well liked by everyone who met her. Two vibrant and intelligent women.

They were no longer that when they died. They both had become living things not people.

I sat for a while with my mothers body. She was my mother again. She was not that thing that did not recognize I was her son. She was not that thing that did not even realize there was someone there to visit her. I kissed her.

I offer you my greatest sympathy and my greatest relief. I do not mean to be cruel to your mother in law, you or your husband. I want you to know something. After a period of grief you will have you MIL back. Not that living thing that you had to deal with but the woman you loved and cared for.
 
catman
JohnH: That was very profound and beautiful.

Hypatia wrote:Even in the sorrow of no longer having her with us, there is some gladness that she's no longer 'lost' inside the mind that disease left her with.

That is the thought to hang with. I felt that way when my grandmother died, after her years of being trapped within a useless husk.
"If I owned both Hell and Texas, I'd live in Hell and rent out Texas." - General Sheridan
 
Sinny
Hypatia I feel such sadness for you and your family and yet at the same time I feel relief too. I'm sorry if that doesn't sound right, I mean well when I do. I'm glad she's no longer suffering and she didn't suffer any longer than she already had. I'm sorry for yours and Michaels loss Patia. The worst is now over. Sometimes death is better than lifeless existence and what your MIL went through was no longer living a life. That's how I had to look at it when my Dad died.
 
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