The Day Everything Changed Part 1

I must apologize to all my readers.  I have not had the energy to blog this past month and a half as life has turned upside down.  The next several blogs will be an account of this harrowing time and how only now are Mom and I beginning to emerge on the other side.

Sept. 27, 2018 started off like any other Thursday at our house.  The PSW came to give Mom her shower and all seemed fine except she seemed a little more winded.   She turned on the TV to watch one of her favourite shows and I went downstairs to get her breakfast.  When I came upstairs she said she wasn’t feeling well and she was short of breath.  I wasn’t really alarmed.  This often happened lately.  It was only as her shortness of breath got increasingly worse and the medication wasn’t doing what it normally did in stopping the distress that I started to worry.  She decided to move into her bedroom to sit in her favourite chair and try to rest.  I helped her into her chair and stayed close by.  As the minutes passed her breathing distress increased to the point that I called the nurse and asked that someone come and check on her.  There was noone available till later in the day so I just kept real close to her and administering medication.  It was during this time that I witnessed something which raised my fear level ten fold.  She would suddenly turn very red in the face and her face would be very contorted.  She would stretch her arms and legs out straight and stare blankly.  I suspected she was having some sort of mini stoke because she was very confused afterwards and her mouth drooped downwards on one side.  She had a number of these episodes before the nurse showed up.  I knew something was very wrong when she asked for the box that we kept for emergencies – the one only the nurse or doctor could open.  The nurse started filling syringes with medication and she gave one to mom every half hour.  The nurse also witnessed one of Mom’s “mini strokes” and she said she suspected Mom was passing blood clots.  It was at this point that I knew things were very serious.  You may wonder why we did not take her to the hospital.  Mom is palliative.  She has a DNR (do not resuitate) It was her wish to be kept at home and made as comfortable as possible with as little pain as possible.  So the nurse was doing everything she could to keep Mom as comfortable as possible.   Oxygen was ordered for her which arrived soon after.  Also a special pump was ordered that would administer the pain medication continuously.  I would also be able to give extra doses as needed.  Everything was happening so fast.  I was in shock and terrified I was going to lose her at any moment.  This ordinary day suddenly turned into a very extraordinary one.  I was overwhelmed with everything as I had to learn on the spot how to work the oxygen machine and lines to her nose,  I had to learn how to work the pump which arrived that night and delivered medication into her via a needle in her stomach.  I had to know when I needed to give her an extra dose.  It was all  very overwhelming and I went into my robotic mode where I just did what I had to do with out emotion, with out thinking of all what was going on.  I was the caretaker, not the daughter.  Emotions would just get in the way and render me immobile.  Mom wanted to sleep in her chair so I slept in her bed that night right next to her..  I should rephrase that.  I did not sleep much.  I kept my eyes fixed on Mom in the dark and watched her breathing, wondering if the next breath would be her last.  It was a harrowing night.  Little did I know that this was the beginning of a harrowing month and a half.  To be continued in my next blog post…….

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