to your mother


Sunday, August 20, 2017

How Can This Be?

Mom decided week before last that she didn't want to continue blood transfusions. At that point her hemoglobin was 8.2. Mom didn't get blood work done this past week but if the trend continues it means that her hemoglobin was in the 7's this past week. Dr. Kent, Mom's palliative care doctor, said her hemoglobin may not drop a point a week as it has been, it may plateau at some point. So there's that.

This Friday I called the Manor and Mary let me know that Mom has been skipping meals, crying a lot, in pain a lot and refusing morphine for relief.

Mike and I decided to travel up Friday afternoon to visit with Mom and talk to her about the morphine option . After Mike, the kids and I traveled through a storm, behind us I saw this:

Rainbows always seem to come at a time when I need them. Strength, reassurance, hope.

We had a quick visit Friday evening.

Sidebar: Over the past few weeks she has been sending bags of stuff home. Dad slugs home a bag of non dairy creamer, some throw pillows, a small quilt.

Saturday A.M. Mom fusted around. I knew she was serious. She had me pack her framed photos, her cards and letters. She had me take a frame with a montage of pictures of family and friends off the wall. She made sure I understood she wanted me to take her scarves home with me. She took off her cross necklace and pointed to my neck.

People? She cleaned out the sock drawer of her novelty socks, only leaving the soft, fleecy, grippy kind.

This woman is a control freak. I kept reassuring her that we didn't need to do this now, I could take care of it later. No mam, no sir. SHE was going to sort her OWN socks and make sure I knew she wanted ME to take them home. Okay Mom, okay.

Mike and the kids came and they fusted around Mom's room, really making a mess of the joint and Mom loved it. Round 11:15 A.M. Saturday Mom threw her purse around her neck and pointed to all four of us and pointed to the door. I did NOT want to take Mom back to the house. My last trip up I took her back to the house when her hemoglobin was higher. She did some final things and generally fusted around. I assumed THAT was her final trip. NOPE. Mom had other plans yesterday.

I was worried that she would fall. I was worried that she would be too weak for me to transfer her from the car to her chair and so on. I threw up my hands. If I killed the woman on the bathroom floor at home, at least she died doing what she wanted to do. News report: we both made it.

Later that evening as she laid in bed exhausted but peaceful, I told her that I had talked to Dad and we both agreed that if she wants to take morphine to help with her pain management we were okay with that. It would be her decision to make. She screwed up her face as if to say "quit yapping, I ain't touchin' that stuff".

Sidebar: Mom and Dad's belief on morphine is that we use it at the end. Mom has emphatically said NO whenever we have discussed her taking morphine. Morphine makes her loopy, uncomfortable in her own skin, not herself. In her eyes, morphine is a vehicle towards putting her out. Done.

When I asked  Mom last night if it was time for morphine, her eyes went wide and she said NO. I assured her it was her choice, she is the only one who knows her level of pain and what she is willing to tolerate. She ho hummed and pointed to the door for me to go. Sweet dreams, Mama.

We returned this A.M. to low humity, blue skies and sunshine on the mountain.

After Mom enjoyed some hazelnut coffee and a cranberry orange muffin from Rutters, we headed outside.

Julie wheeled Mom around the parking lot two times and then Mom parked herself in the sun, in her glory.

Mom seemed tired. She had gone all day yesterday without rest, not getting back into bed until 4 P.M. when she is used to 2 naps a day. She had really pushed herself and it was showing today.

We got her back inside, I wrote a note card saying "Please call  Peggy Anne" so she can point to it if she wants to talk to me, gathered our stuff, and Julie pushed Mom to the door to say goodbye.

We had an uneventful three-point-five hour trip home. Our usual stops and no traffic (unheard of). We arrived home by 2:30 P.M.

3:45 P.M. I'm sitting outside of Dollar General (we are making our own eclipse glasses, thanks  Rycraft, cause NOBODY has eclipse big whoop) and I get a call from the Manor. Jennifer tells me Mom has asked for morphine. I talk to Mom and she just moans. I tell her she is making a good choice and that I love her. I ask Jennifer to tape the "Please call Peggy Anne" card to Mom's T.V. remote. I call Dad. I call Doris (Mom's angel driver/friend from the Manor). They both head over to bring Mom comfort as we don't know how Mom will react to the morphine. I let Paul know what's up. He called Mom and talked to her. Dad has headed home, Doris is still there.

I'm gonna hold tight here at home. For all we know, this lady will be up and eating breakfast tomorrow. I was just up there and Mom had the chance to start morphine with me there. She chose to wait and that's okay with me. She's rascally like that. This is her show, certainly not mine.

Mom's choosing some extreme self care at this point. Choices that are good for her body and good for her mind. Self care is good for the body and soul, regardless of the price. I am going to make choices that are good for my body and good for my mind. I'm going to encourage my family to do the same. Perhaps you can too. 


  1. Love the updates! You are an amazing daughter who very obviously was raised by a strong woman! Praying for you as you navigate this complicated phase in your life! Jen

  2. I love reading about your mom. Sending hugs and prayers

  3. Thank you for your wonderful updates and photos. They make me laugh, they make me cry. So much has changed for both of us and I miss seeing my dear Peggy. I dearly wish I could be with her Please, please give her a warm hug for me and tell her she is always in my heart, my thoughts and my prayers. Sending love to all of you! Leslie