It seems like a lifetime ago that I was distraught over the idea of my mom going to assisted living. Instead, it now looks doubtful she will ever leave the nursing home. Her emphysema has worsened to the point she needs 24-hour nursing care; it might have been nice if the staff had been honest about this before the care conference yesterday, but oh well. Yesterday I helped her change her “code status” in her chart from “full code” (meaning that if the patient goes into respiratory or cardiac arrest, any and all all resucitation methods necessary to revive and sustain life, from ventilators to CPR, must be utilized) to DNI/DNR (meaning Do Not Intubate [putting her on a ventilator to breathe for her]/Do Not Resucitate [no CPR]).
Okay, so to put it another way: She’s Dying.
In fact, she looks and sounds just like my uncles died in the months and weeks before they died from emphysema.
Today seems to be “Barbara’s Day to Deal with Grief and Loss.” My dad died of a massive coronary fourteen years ago today. All these years it’s haunted me that I never got to say goodbye to him. At least this time, with my mom, I get the chance. I’m sure I’d feel grateful for this, if I could feel anything at all, which I can’t, except for a sense that if I start to cry now I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO STOP. Yesterday afternoon we worked on her obituary and discussed what songs she’d like at her funeral. Ave Maria, of course, Hail, Holy Queen, and Eagle’s Wings.