what do you do with a drunken sailor?

12 08 2008

It’s like a handful of trading cards…he can move around “freely” but he can’t breathe…or he’s comfortable but stays put? What’s a mother to do??? Over and over again in my mind these questions without one answer whirl. One thing has become more and more clear…once you start making Billy comfortable I suddenly have a drunken sailor on my hands. The first night we had hospice meds he was konked out in his chair soon after the 6 p.m. and he looked comfy there but I have worked in a health care facility long enough to know leaving him there might not work. Ha!

As if I were reliving the first night home with my first born…I kept looking every few minutes for a status check and by 9ish more and more of his feet were hanging off the end of the chair. I also knew that he’d not be as aware of any need to get up to go to the bathroom a million times tonight so we’d have to “depend” it. It was no small deal to get him to focus enough to let him know what I’d be doing by lowering his chair, standing him up, walking to his room, dropping his drawers…you get the picture. When I started to lower the footrest – suddenly the whole chair tipped forward. He says in a drug stupored voice “I’m flying!” (gotta love morphine). And I gotta love three years in that rehab hospital where I learned a trick or two about being a people mover. Good thing this guy’s all of 142 lbs. coz he was a weeble.

I remember him telling the story of his days in the Navy when a few fellow sailors got wind of the fact that this 125 lb. whisp of a guy had never had a drop of alcohol. They backed him into a corner and tried pouring some down his throat. Oh no you didn’t… End of story. I always got the impression that it was probably one of the few times in his life he got physical.

Anyway – my point is this…his wishes have been stated LOUD and clear that he wants to die at home. That is all fine and good as long as it doesn’t kill my mom in the mean time. At this point we are going to be making decisions based on what is best for the whole, over-arching good. If this means we move him to the hospice center so she can be with him all day long there – come home to a house where there isn’t so much tension in the walls – so be it. We did the best we could for as long as it was best for him. When he was able to enjoy this house – he was here. Now he’s enjoying something else and I really know that he doesn’t much care…

He was never one to take aspirin for a headache…remember 34 years with no sick days. Who does that? It was a little strange to hear the doctor tell me to stop all his meds. I dumped them on the table and put them back in their bottles. They really aren’t doing any more good. “Good” now is easing out – hopefully sooner than later.



3 responses

12 08 2008
Magik Quilter

I am sorry but I laughed at the I’m flying ….thank goodness indeed for the morphine. One concern I have is your health…my uncle bravely looked after my aunt until the end at home and she was tiny but on morphine for some time …eventually his back was badly damaged lifting her. He has had surgery since ….the other thing that having her at home did was strangely to make it almost impossible for others to say goodbye. None of us could get in to see her …he would not allow any but her children and church members in the house during the final weeks.

So if he needs to go to the hospice I would say that you are right…he is somewhere else now…in morphine never never land. You also say he is off all the other meds now…that may have an impact also on how well you can manage him at home. There is the eating, or lack of factor too…all these things are there and I know you have discussed them.

My thoughts and prayers are with you all and especially with Billy and your dear mum.

12 08 2008

It was a hard decision but the right one. Move forward. You’re doing an amazing job at this hard work. Thinking of you all day long and sending love to you and your mom.

Hope I will see you soon


12 08 2008

magik – no apologies for laughing – we laugh everyday and we will laugh at the funeral too. the man was laughter and he’ll be celebrated thus!!! he is at the hospice center now…made the switch today and will get something together about it asap…been a busy day of communication with siblings and family – now it’s my time…he’s more comfortable there than he EVER could have been here and my mom has been a fan of hospice for years as she’s gone thru the experience with others. we’re thrilled…now we wait for who knows how long…but we feel good.

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