Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Put That Down as the Longest Weekend of My Life

About 5 Friday night, I got a tearful call from my Dad.  (The tearful part was enough to get my attention.)  The hospital had called and it didn't look like my Aunt Anita (my Mom's only sibling) was going to make it through the night.  Could I please take Mom to Madison, which is about a 2 1/2 hour drive, to the hospital.

Of course. Let me throw my stuff together, call the school I was supposed to judge forensics for on Saturday, and wait for my husband to get home to tell him what was going on and leave.

We left my Mom's place about 6.  We stopped on the way down for gas in the car and finally for me to eat.  We got to Madison and thank goodness for my GPS to get us through downtown Madison to the hospital by 9:00.  (Madison is built around 3 lakes and lots of hills - so we had to loop around two of the lakes and around the hill that the Capitol sits on to get to the hospital.)

My Aunt looked horrible.  Admittedly, she had been in the hospital since the previous Friday from a fall and not being responsive and was taken to the hospital and had emergency surgery for a perforated bowel, plus she had 3 broken ribs and a broken collar bone.  One of the ribs had punctured a long and the other one was collapsed.  But, lots of years of hard living with alcohol abuse and cigarettes were not helping the situation, at all.

We stayed at the hospital for almost 2 hours and then headed to her house to spend the night.  We were both surprised that we didn't get a call over night that she had passed. 

Back to the hospital by 7:30 on Saturday.  Somehow, she rallied during the night, was off the oxygen mask, was just back to the nasal oxygen. She knew who we were. She was able to talk to us. She remembered things that had happened the day before. She knew where she was and what month it was.  Friends came and saw her.  She talked to the doctors and nurses.  At one point, she looked straight at my Mom and told her "I'm withering away."  Oh, Jeez!  We left the hospital about 2:30 that afternoon.

Sunday morning, we were back at the hospital by 8:30.  She had a horrible night. They couldn't stabilize her oxygen levels, they couldn't do anything with her blood pressure that kept dropping, her breathing was low.  We talked to her wonderful nurse, Debbie, and we were told that it didn't look good.  We thought we had mentioned the "withering" comment to her the day prior, but we had told the doctor.  To his credit, he was still in "fix" mode vs "let go" mode.  As soon as we told Debbie about the withering comment, she gave us this huge smile and told us that Anita had taken the decision out of our hands, she had made it for us.

At that time, we made the decision to put Anita on Comfort Care, which is removing IVs, except one port to administer pain medication; removing tubes, removing the oxygen mask.  The goal was to make her as comfortable as possible until she passed.  They decided to not remove the tubes in her lungs, because the fluid draining was giving her comfort. My Mom didn't want her to get dehydrated and wanted an IV kept in, which they talked us out of administering IV fluid, because Anita was retaining so much fluid, dehydration was the opposite of what she was suffering from.

They started her on the Comfort Care about 10:30. We sat with her for a little while, then we went and got some lunch and some sanity.  We went back to her room about noon.  We held her hands, prayed over her, blessed her, and she was gone about 12:40.

I'm glad that I was there for my Mom and for my Aunt, but I never want to go through that again.

May Anita Rest In Peace and my Mom have some closure.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to comment. We all learn from each other and I would like to learn from you!

Comments will be posted as soon as possible. I've been getting hit with a lot of spam, so I need to watch what is going on the blog. Thanks for understanding.