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We had gone to the hospital in the first place because my Mom was deteriorating rather rapidly. She was getting quickly weaker, every day worse. Shortness of breath and inability to concentrate or even make sense. It was time to go to the hospital, so we did.
Our stint in the hospital was three days. The first spent in investigations, an ECG, a chest X-Ray, some analyses, before the diagnosis was reached and the treatment started. Part of the treatment was the insertion of a catheter to save her the effort of getting up and going to the bathroom. It helped a great deal as once most of the retained poisons were out of her system, she started getting better, the congestion in her chest started to subside, but her behavior changed drastically. I don’t know if that was a result of the dip in her immunity system, or if this is a natural progression of her Alzheimer’s disease. She started resisting everything that was required of her to do to get better. To get her to eat something or drink is like pulling teeth. There is no reasoning about it. She just categorically refuses, resists in every way, resorts first to argument, then screaming insults, and finally pretending to gag. Finally she clenches her jaws and glares. No convincing her, no communication, no logic. Another step in losing my Mom.
On the fourth day we were discharged, but the catheter was left in to ensure that there was no more urine retention.
We finally got home in the evening of the fourth day and she went directly to bed. She had very little to eat and I did not press the point, after the ordeal of coming home. I gave her her medication and she went to sleep. Although I was exhausted, and quite happy to be back home, to my bed and more importantly my bathroom, I couldn’t sleep. I kept having naps, then waking up. I guess it was the effect of a fizzy drink, full of caffeine, which I had stopped drinking years ago. I had bought a junk food meal with this drink included, and pigged out. Thought I deserved a treat, which, like every excess, had an adverse effect.
The next day at home was the day from hell. In continuous discomfort, she needed constant attention, attempting to make her more comfortable. Often her complaints were clashing: she is cold and hot, she is in pain but more comfortable if moved, when moved, more pain. She is thirsty but doesn’t want to drink, she wants to urinate and does not want to understand about the catheter. Meal times were a crescendo. I was shouted at, called all sorts of names and threatened to be spat upon. By supper time my nerves were shot and I lost my temper. She shouted at me and kicked me out of her room. The rest of the evening was also one from hell, if it wasn’t for a couple of friends who talked me out of the very dark mood I had gone into. I shall be forever grateful to them for the time they gave me, their concerted efforts to help me out of that dark, dark place. What nobody realizes is that I am currently mourning the loss of my Mother. She is here in body, and sometimes I see glimpses of the essential her, but the person in that sick, hurting body is no longer my Mom, and this is a source of constant pain. I am going through the process of grief, with no one the wiser. My loss is continuous. Her pain is my pain. When she is unaware I feel her loss, and when she is aware, I feel her anguish. Torture is not exclusive to dungeons and prisons, torture can be in a sunny, comfortable, clean room.
Today is the second day we are home. The day of the catheter. All morning she is complaining of pain from the catheter. Then she started groaning, then finally screaming with the pain, wanting it removed. I called the doctor who told me that a catheter is slightly uncomfortable the first day, but the body acclimatized to it the second day. She has had it for four days now, so no way could it be painful. It was all in her mind. So I told her that I will take it out, but that she will have to go on to the bed for me to be able to do that. Once in bed, all was well. No pain, no discomfort, the catheter was forgotten and now we started on the hot and cold syndrome. That at least is no cause for groans and screams. Just a great deal of bell ringing and getting up to either take off a blanket, or place one. No mental or emotional anguish with that, just physical exhaustion.
This is my life now, and if it wasn’t for my family and friends, if it wasn’t for my writing, I think it would have been the end for me. As it is, coping is very, very difficult. I hope I can come out of this trial by fire with a whole skin physically, balanced mentally and emotionally healthy. Only heavenly intervention can ensure that. God please help me.
20 Jan. 2014