Friday, August 17, 2012

Truly.... this was the beginning of the end

(Mom and I sat inside, next to the window under that "SMOOTHIES" neon sign)

I took my mom out for ice cream on Wednesday August 1, 2012. In the days before that my dad had called me letting me know of a major mental decline for mom. She became verbally abusive to dad, confused as to who he was (which we were used to) and she began hallucinating. I believe it was on Sunday, July 29th that Dad had said that Mom had even been very angry with Camille and I for not staying over to help her clean up the house when we hadn't even been there. Dad said she was "flipping us the bird" and that he had never heard Mom use such profanity, ever. Dad had told me that the Hospice nurses had been visiting and tried giving her meds to help calm her down. I guess they would work for a little while but then she was right back at her antics.

Back to Wednesday August 1, my dad called me at home. When I answered my phone the only word out of his mouth was "HELP!". I knew he needed me to come. As I was driving over all I could think was "what will I find when I get there?", "did mom have a sudden burst of adrenaline and hurt dad?". I had no idea.

Cautiously, I walked into their house and saw Mom sitting in a chair with a frown on her face, dressed in all white and she was holding her purse in her lap like she was waiting for someone to take her somewhere. I asked Mom where she was going and her reply was something like this...."well I was waiting for Dado to come pick me up to take me home but now he's not coming". To appease Mom I said "Mom, Dado is out of town for a couple of days but when he gets back then we'll take you to see him". Mom looked at me and said "Who's Dado?". I couldn't believe my ears.

After that conversation back-fired on me Mom kept asking Dad and me why we were playing games with her, why were we doing "this" to her (not sure what "this" was). She was like a broken record that we couldn't stop from skipping, asking us the same questions over and over and over. Not sure what else to do Dad asked Mom if she'd like for me to take her to get some ice cream. Well, that did the trick. Still mad and frowning Mom said "I could do that". To me her reply sounded like a child.

So...... I took Mom to get some ice cream at The Comfy Cow in Westport Village. She really struggled to walk taking teeny tiny steps. She held onto my arm for support with her left hand and had her cane in her right hand. It seemed like it took us 5 minutes or more just to get from the car to the door of the ice cream store and we were parked in front of the door. Once inside I found a nice little 2 seater table right next to the window. I sat Mom down and told her I would head up to the counter to order. Mom said she wanted chocolate ice cream. Of course she did, it was her favorite.

While I was standing at the counter waiting for my turn to order I glanced over at Mom and I could see the profile of her face. She was staring straight ahead, no expression, no movement, nothing. She looked like a statue sitting there in the window.

I ordered the ice cream then paid. As soon as I put the cup of chocolate ice cream in front of her, Mom immediately perked up and smiled. We had a pleasant conversation although it wasn't deep, just some small talk. She said she really was enjoying her ice cream, asked about the kids and David. After we finished eating she mentioned she needed to go to the restroom so we made our way over to them. After a few minutes I heard her call for me. Mom said she felt like she was going down, like she was going to faint. I took her out of the ice cream store as quickly as she could go and told her that I'd take her home and put her to bed, which I did. I wrote about all of that in an earlier post so I won't rehash that in this post. I kissed her on her forehead, told her I loved her and I went home shortly after that.

Dad called me the next day, Thursday August 2, and told me that Hospice decided that they wanted to hospitalize Mom for 5 days or more so Dad could have a respite and they could try to stabilize Mom. Mom agreed to go. Dad said that it would take several days for a bed to become available so she probably wouldn't go until the following week. Well......a bed became available and Mom went in that night.

That was my last outing with my mother.

A few nights later I Googled "what happens to the body when it's dying". After reading up on the information on my search I realized that Mom WAS already dying, even during our ice cream outing, we just didn't know it.

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