My mom with her older brother, David. He saved her life by getting antibiotics for her while he was in the army.

Bad, bad day today.

I wanted to pull out all the hairs on my head.

This afternoon, I was told my mother was in a lot of pain – so I agreed to a small dose of Vicodin. Although I knew she didn’t do well on pain meds, I felt I had no choice!

So, my mom disappeared with the drug. I felt so sad to see her that way. Her eyes were glazed and she could not talk. But she did say one thing. She said, “Honey, I need some cough medicine.”

I went to speak with the nurse. I decided no more Vicodin. My mom was smiling yesterday – I understood they wanted to move her; there had to be another way.

After speaking with the nurse, I became outraged. The reason she had so much pain, was because the Tylenol (which had always really helped her) was discontinued. It seems that when she was discharged from the hospital, the order for it somehow “vanished.” She hadn’t received any all day.

The nurse told me basically that it wasn’t their fault.

I have had this problem more times than it is possible to imagine!

I have been told over and over again that Tylenol was not adequate to address my mother’s pain. However, twenty minutes after receiving it – she would smile and say she felt fine. After about six hours, she would become edgy and I knew it was time for another dose.

Just two days ago, I arrived at the hospital and they were about to give her morphine. However, I asked them if she had already had her Tylenol. I was told it wouldn’t really help. They said that 99% of patients do not get relief from Tylenol. I said, “Well my mom is in the 1%.” Once again, my mom was smiling and pain-free after twenty minutes.

I guess when the percentages are against you – you must prove it over and over!

The truth be told, I am upset with myself. I took the morning off and had no idea she didn’t get something as basic as Tylenol – her facility has always given it to her regularly for the last two years to manage her back pain.

Today, I raised my voice to her “new” doctor. He had not seen her yet. I had left him a message last night. My mother wanted some Robitussen for her cough. In the past, it has helped her to sleep and feel better.

I said to the doctor, “My mom asked for some Robitussen last night. She just asked me again – can she have some?” I thought about the fact that my father said he had a bootleg bottle and gave it to her himself. I understood why now.

The doctor said, “It’s very important to first understand why she’s coughing.”

I explained that she was in the hospital and had just seen a pulmonolgist. He determined she didn’t have an infection. Of course, I had just raised my voice about why my mother was not given the one thing that had always helped her – Tylenol.

Now the new doctor lost patience with me. He said, “You know, I’m going to do my job and I don’t prescribe medication just because you want it!”

He added, “However, because she isn’t wheezing – I’ll give her the Robitussen.”

My mother is dying – and I have to fight over these things!

Last night, my mom was so happy. Today, I wish she could have stayed that way.

I do understand that it was necessary to find out how much movement she could handle. I understand she was screaming and in agony when she was moved. It could have been a better day had she had her Tylenol – but maybe not.

I understand with this situation there is no “recovery.” Without allowing my mother hip surgery (which she did not want), I have been told that I’ve condemned her to a horrible existence.

Well, she might be dying, but I don’t know why the alternative of surgery is any better!

It’s only been four days since her fall. Today, I was told she’s been deemed hopeless, as far as any physical therapy goes.

I guess finding ways for her to move – is a little too challenging right now.

Perhaps for a short time, my mom could maintain her smile without pain – if she’s not moved. There is a certain kind of bed where she could sit up more (a Geri-bed). I pointed out to her facility that it might be an excellent option for her. She could be taken to the dining room – I’ve seen other patients with it. No one has jumped on my suggestion. I will insist if I have to!

I saw my mother use a bedpan with determination. She wants to try to move. I want her to have a chance, too.

But how do I know what to do when I’m told it’s too painful to move her in order to bathe her? I wonder if I could help bathe her myself with a washcloth.

I am now navigating through a brewing storm. The sky is dark, gray, and ominous. I feel myself shudder, as a chill overcomes me.

I signed up with Hospice today. I am not sure how my mother will handle this situation.

Although my mom is skeletal now, she still wants to live. I tried to explain to her about the extra attention she would receive from Hospice care. There are issues about whether she’ll receive antibiotics or even the gamma globulin infusion she has received once a month for the last fifty years.

However, today she was too drugged to understand.

When I left my mom tonight – her glazed eyes still smiled at me.

I’m done taking breaks to pace myself. As I’ve learned, when you’re captain of the ship – you can’t afford to let anything drift. No one else really can steer. With a ship that is sailing into the storm, well, every moment counts.

Sadly, I realize that my steering cannot really do much on a stormy sea.

One day the sun will shine, and the sea will become calm.

I’ll hold her hand tomorrow morning and we’ll have a nice talk.


© Judy Unger and http://www.myjourneysinsight.com 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
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