First & foremost THANK YOU to all for hugs, prayers & your wonderful support. It is much appreciated.Now for Mom: The "cocktail" seems to only be working minimally right now. We keep trying various combinations, but nothing seems to give her relief from the pain in her legs/hips and from the hallucinations for more than 4hrs at a time. She's gurgling periodically & it's awful to hear & know that this is really the signal that the end is so near. Today she responded to us when we were working with her; Friday [Bailey's note - actually, it was Saturday] she recognized her sister. But the brief periods of lucidity only make the reality of this more devastating.I've been helping Eve w/ Mary for the past 6yrs. I love her like another mother & I can tell you that our hearts are simply broken. Yes, I will be staying with them at night now. Family members are coming & going, but not staying. Their presence only disturbs Mary at this point. Hospice is providing meds, equipment & support as well.KEEP PRAYING that Mary is released from this particular hell quickly. She deserves the blessed peace of passing.Personally I would urge all to support your local Alzheimer's Assoc, Hospice or VNA. They are angels in disguise.
Okay, my turn. They put mother on a Fentanyl patch Monday. It is for pain and takes approximately 48 hours to kick in, so in the meantime we are giving her a pain medication every 6 hours (Lortab Elixir). This doesn't always work as she has frequent "breakthrough" pains. I wondered exactly what it was we said to the evaluating nurse on Saturday to cause her to immediately pick up the admission papers and fill them out until the Social Worker handed me a 2 page information sheet last night entitled "The Final Stages of Life - Signs and Symptoms of Approaching Death". The first thing listed was:
Eating and drinking: There is a gradually decreasing need for food and fluids. The body naturally begins to conserve energy and requires less nourishment. At this stage, there is increased risk of choking secondary to confusion and/or the inability to swallow properly. Difficulty swallowing occurs first with solid foods. This progresses to difficulty swallowing fluids. Your loved one will say that he or she doesn't have an appetite and isn't hungry. This is the body's natural response to the dying process. It is telling you that eating and drinking are no longer helpful and that the body can no longer use food and fluid properly.
So I guess when we told her that mom was choking on liquids and refusing food, she knew immediately that the end is near. Mother had difficulty swallowing her pain medication last night - choking and gagging on the liquid. I don't know what they will do when she can no longer swallow it - injections maybe?There is so much I have to do during this time - make funeral arrangements, find insurance policies, change billing options on our utilities, get ready to close bank accounts, etc. My head is full and makes it difficult to concentrate on any one thing.