11.01.04  

righteous1076 41M
14 posts
5/14/2006 12:45 am
11.01.04


Where you’re supposed to be is with your girlfriend. Taking her out, talking to her, sleeping with her, being a good boyfriend. Where you are, is sitting in a purple room that smells like roses and urine watching someone slowly die. Each day she gets thinner, she hasn’t had a good night’s sleep in weeks because her roommate screams for help all night.
You aren’t supposed to lay an Alzheimer’s patient down flat, because they forget that they are on their back and they panic. They think they are falling.
There is a difference between Alzheimer’s and age induced dementia, but the effect is the same, you wind up with a grandmother who doesn’t recognize her own daughter. The only reason she remembers who you are is because you are there every night, rain or shine.
Sometimes you don’t get to choose the best course of action. Sometimes you get to choose between horrible outcomes.
Either spend as much time with your grandmother as you can before she dies (and potentially neglect your girlfriend), or spend time with your girlfriend (and feel like you abandoned your family).
You have to be careful when you feed her, because some days she forgets how to swallow. Sometimes she inhales when she should swallow and she convulses into a coughing fit. Those are the bad days. On the good days, she just chews and spits back out onto the plate or into a napkin. And she keeps loosing weight, growing smaller and smaller, making the single bed she is in look massive.
Wake up, work, school, nursing home, home. This is the incredibly depressing version of Groundhog Day.
Not that it’s all bad, when she’s rested; she is as ornery as ever. Complaining about her roommate, apologizing for all the trouble when you change her depends, asking how your girlfriend is. You can’t tell her that your girlfriend left you because she found someone else. Calling every night and spending weekends together just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Instead you change the subject, you read to her (Poe and Whitman were always her favorites and you throw in some Kerouac) this gets her thinking, talking. You get to know her better than her own children.
And she keeps getting thinner.
She is rushed to the emergency room a few times because her weight is dangerously low.
A DNR is a do not resuscitate order. It says that no heroic measures are to be taken to preserve the life of the patient.
Define heroic. Do i.v. fluids count as heroic?
You get a phone call, you meet the ambulance at the hospital, you stay with her in the e.r. until they get her a room, and they kick you out. Groundhog Day, you live the shampoo bottle life. Lather rinse repeat.
Until the call comes. THE call. And the rest becomes a blur.

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