Friday, April 22, 2011

A little out of sorts


I know this is a bit of personal post, and not everyone appreciates those, but considering my blog went from super active to just barely there this week, I wanted to explain. I still have a lot of visitors, and I'm giving you all huge hugs, and I apologize for the lack of new content. I'm going to try to load my blog up next week, so you'll have lots of new stuff to look forward to!

As for why I haven't been here... Most of you who know me personally know we're going through a really difficult time right now. My grandmother is in the process of passing, and it's not been pretty. She doesn't seem real ready to go, despite having lost the ability to move, talk, or swallow. She can use one arm, but its just to push things around or grab hold of the bed-rail. She's in massive amounts of pain. And yet she still struggles against her situation and her fate. I have been horribly traumatized by the past couple days, I can't even begin to explain. Human suffering is not something I wish anyone has to ever witness, especially when it's someone you love.

Wednesday my mom had to take a break from it all. I'd had to deal with some screaming and pleading, but usually she was restful when I was there. My mother had to deal with the brunt of it. Well, that was not the case Wednesday. Mom didn't go in at all, at her breaking point mentally, so I went and sat with Grandma. Having to listen to someone scream (its not normal screaming, its a deep throated, agonizing yell) for three hours and beg is not pleasant. And while I can understand some of what she's saying, most I can't, so I can't help her. Just sit there and watch helplessly while she tugs at the bed, her clothes, her blankets and shouts incoherently. When it was the clear the medicine wasn't going to work, I had to leave. I was shaking so bad, and by the time I pulled into my parents driveway I was sobbing.

I've been spending most of my time vegetating on the couch playing games or watching kiddie shows with my toddler. He has been the best therapy, just sitting with me and letting me hold him, stroke his hair and watch TV together. Yesterday I was told by both my parents (much to the relief of my husband) to take a break. But I go back today and all of this starts again. Worse from what my mother has been saying... And as awful as it is, I can only hope as the week draws to a close, grandma slips into that peaceful phase that everyone keeps assuring us is around the corner. We love her and our desire to be with her is strong that we can't help but be by her side, yet what it's costing us is so great. Neither my mother or I will ever forget the sights or sounds we've had to endure.

So that's where I am and why I've been so quiet lately. Thanks for understanding.

Elaina

21 comments:

  1. *hugs* I hope she passes peacefully for her and for your family.

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  2. Hugs, I'm so sorry Elaina. I'll add you and your family to my prayers that your Grandma passes peacefully.

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  3. It has been far from peaceful. That's part of what's been so hard, is with the addition of her pain and lack of quality of life, she's desperate to live, and it's heartbreaking. As her family, we have to sit there while she begs us to help her, and there's nothing we can do. It's out of our hands now. We've been praying for peace for her too, and I appreciate the thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

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  4. I love you, girl. Wish I was there to give you a big hug.

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  5. I wish I could be there with you, Elaina, for support because my husband and I have been through this with his mom. It's hard but you're strong and you'll get through it. I'll give you my cell phone number if you need to talk.

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  6. Did she find any peace, Jerri? Or did she fight it until the end? We're just so mentally exhausted. And so heartbroken. We thought for sure when the time came, she'd be ready. We're just shocked and saddened by all this. :-(

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  7. I wish I could help, but being this far away all I can do is pray. Pray for peace for all you and pray that her pain leaves. Although I know that for her pain to leave her body completely, her spirit will leave as well. I am praying for you, D, AM and UM. I love all of you.

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  8. You know you're in my prayers, big time! A book I read once involved a minister who went to sit with a dying woman week after week. She knew how horrible it was for him, but she kept insisting he come back, but wouldn't let him speak except to pray with her before he left. Finally, when she was close to going, she said to him, "You above the rest of them, you gave me exactly what I needed. You presence alone was my comfort."

    Elaina, you are doing the hardest thing any of us can do for someone else. XXX partner, I know what you're made of, and I'm back here sending you and your whole family all the love I can muster. For your Grandma, I send peace.

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  9. I can't even imagine what you're going through. Praying for strength for your family and continued empathy for your grandmother as she struggles with the hardest times of her life, too.

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  10. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Losing a loved one that way is never easy, and it changes you on a very profound level. Don't push yourself too hard to get back into your groove; let time do its work before you demand TOO much of yourself.
    Adonai bless and keep you and yours.
    J.S. Wayne

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  11. Thank you everyone. She's on anti-anxiety medication and today they put her on anti-depressants. While she's still pleading and screaming, it's much more sedate, which makes it easier to bear. No matter what we say, or do, it brings her little to no comfort. I sang, hummed, prayed... each worked for a short time before she was back to fussing. But, the small moments of peace were enough to keep me going, so they were worth it. I cherish each of you, thank you so, so much.

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  12. I'm so sorry it's gotten so bad, honey. I wish I could be closer for you, even if it's just a hug or to take the kiddos for awhile. I had a hard time with Mom when we thought we were losing her and the docs say it was because of the pain meds making her hallucinate. Could that be part of it? I hate that you're having to watch her decline. Just know that you guys are in my thoughts and prayers. Love you.

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  13. Oh, Elaina, I wish I could give you a great big hug. Praying hard, sweetie. Praying hard.

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  14. We went through this with my mother-in-law. But hospice allowed us to keep her really, really drugged on the morphine so she didn't suffer quite as much as your grandmother sounds like she's suffering. That would be my question. If she's going to die, why not up the morphine dosage? I assume she has an IV on some kind of machine? Toward the end, my MIL hallucinated, vomited black blood, and cried out for her mother. I know what a horrible thing you're going through - how emotionally exhausting it is. And like you, I had to leave - take a break. I'm sending you BIG HUGS across cyberspace, and I hope you'll do what you need to do to keep yourself sane. Witnessing that kind of human suffering can leave you with longterm emotional damage. I don't think my husband ever recovered from it. So take care of YOU. I'm sure your gramma would want you to...

    And talk to hospice. They shouldn't allow her to suffer like that. :-(

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  15. Well, hospice is doing everything they can, they've been really great. The problem is her pain is neurological. You can't control neurological pain by treating the symptoms, you have to target the source, which is impossible with her right now. So she's on massive doses of morphine and all it's doing is taking the edge off enough for her to catch some rest and not scream 24 hours a day.

    As for IV fluids, that's a big no. No IV, no feeding tube, no ventilator. We signed a paper when she switched over to hospice in the nursing home that stated anything we did to sustain her life was cruel, and we agree. When she was of sound mind, she didn't want any of that when her time came anyhow.

    The hardest part of all this is trying to stay compassionate and not get angry with her. It's hard when she cries out for anyone but you (when we can understand her) and begs for help and screams 'why' over and over again. I know if she knew the pain she was causing us, she'd stop, but that part of her mind is gone, sadly. She knows us, and wants us near, but other than that... she's for the most part gone and is for some reason holding on.

    I sort of look at this like everything else I've been through in my life- What doesn't kill me makes me stronger...

    Thanks all, big huge hugs to you all.

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  16. Losing a loved one is never easy and it's no shame if you need to take care of your own health - mental and physical. It sounds like your grandmother is not the grandma you know and love anymore, so part of you is ready to move forward and grieve...and yet there's a warm body still. I truly feel for you, and prayers will go up for you, your family, and especially your grandma. Give a shout out if I can do anything else. You know where to find me. Hugs!

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  17. Elaina,

    I tried to post, sorry if it reposts becasue I'm an idiot. I didn't know this was going on because I've been critiquing and editing and my head has been distracted.

    I lost my mom years ago and it was very traumatic. I know you feel guilty one minute because you pray God will relieve her and then the next minute there is a glimmer of hope, and you get a little joy, either through her, your mom or child.

    The most important thing is to remember you deserve to have feelings. You are a mere mortal :) I know hard to believe. However, the guilt, anger, happiness, fear, are all yours and you are expected and worthy of those feelings. Trying to be superwoman for those around you is great, but make sure you give yourself time to have those feelings, or they will come back to bite you some day.

    Please know we all adore you. If you need someone to scream at I'm here, as I'm sure most anyone is. You are a blessing, keep your chin up and know we are all praying for and thinking of you.

    Love

    Monique

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  18. We seem to be on the downhill slide now. Her BP is starting to drop and she's developed apnea (periods of not breathing). Mom and I are going to say our goodbyes tomorrow, because starting Monday, life returns to normal for us whether we're ready or not. She goes back to work and so does my husband, so I won't be able to go sit with her any longer, because I'm not exposing my baby to her suffering. She's no longer aware it's us either, just that someone is present, which sets off a series of weak cries for help. If no one is there (or you remain very quiet) she slips back off into sleep.

    This is so hard, and the waiting is worse... Thanks so much everyone for all your support.

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  19. I'm sorry to be so blunt, hon, but morphine is not the right choice in this case. She needs a patch (the kind they give dying cancer patients)--I just had to order a doctor to do that to my brother before he passed two months ago.

    My mom fought like that, and it was horrid. We cannot pick the end, for ourselves or others. I'm so sorry you are going through this. It sounds like she's gone into full-blown dementia. Please have your family talk to them about switching her mode of pain killer. The waiting is terrible. May you find some comfort soon. Big, gigantic hug.

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  20. Ciar, she's on the patch, two of them actually, AND a dose of liquid morphine under her tongue every hour now. Her suffering is so great. But, as I said, her BP is lowering, and my mother really felt the end was near this morning, something she hasn't felt all week (though I have). I am hoping for comfort soon too, for her sake. Thank you so much. Hugs back.

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