(no music this time, in honor of my grandmother,
who cherishes peace and quiet)
My grandmother has been in the hospital for like 3 weeks now. It started out as a cold, then turned into bronchitis, then became pneumonia. They admitted her with a good prognosis, I mean she had fluid on her lungs, but they seemed confident that she would be all right in the end.
The bombarded the inflammation in her lungs with steroid treatments, and breathing treatments to help her get the oxygen she desperately needed. Her oxygen saturation was fluctuating but it seemed ok. She was tired a lot from coughing, but it was coming up and she seemed to be getting a little better. Then they told us that her kidneys weren't doing so well, so they discontinued the steroids, and she even told me she felt better after that.
The next day was a different story. Her kidneys weren't waking up and doing their job, so they talked about dialysis to hopefully kick start them running again. But the dialysis didn't do it's job, and she took several treatments that week, the didn't seem to do anything for her except exhaust her. She stopped eating. I got her to eat a little fruit, and drink a little tea, but she couldn't even look at the food let alone eat it.
She was getting worse and it seemed no matter what was done, she felt worse each day. She even looked it. Each day I've seen her, she looks weaker and weaker. She couldn't talk for even a few seconds without being out of breath. They took her up to the ICU unit to keep a better watch on her they said, but it was obvious that things were progressing faster. The doctors talked about how she might surprise them and be ok, but things were looking worse with each day. Best case scenario they said was she would be on dialysis and oxygen from here on out. Worst case, she wouldn't leave the hospital alive. It was hard to swallow but we hoped she would push through and get better.
Suddenly on Saturday, her blood pressure dropped. They had put her on a ventilator with constant oxygen feeding through a mask (which dried up and burned her face) and eventually a nose fed respirator, but she keeps breathing through her mouth. She says it feels like she can't get a breath if she doesn't breathe through her mouth as well as her nose.
They told us on Sunday that she was dying. They moved her from the ICU to another room on the fourth floor. We knew what was coming next. There was nothing left to do but let her go. They have stopped all medications, all insulin regiments, even the IV nutrients she needs from the lack of food. It is all about making her as comfortable as possible until the inevitable happens.
I went in today after work, and she could barely keep her eyes open, let alone speak. She is drifting in and out of consciousness, and was in pain and nauseous. She almost got sick several times, and they eventually came in later after everyone left and it was just me and Aunt Lisa, and gave her something for it. They have also started pushing IV morphine to help with the pain.
I tried so hard not to cry in front of her. I tried so hard to be rock hard and just be there for her tonight. I did cry for a long time after I watched my mother cry while holding her hand. My mother NEVER cries, and when she did today, it was immediate surrender on my part to the emotions I have held back for days now.
My grandfather told my brother the other day that not only is he losing his wife, but he is losing his best friend. They have been married for 65 years, and I can't imagine what he is going through on the inside. I really do feel bad for my mother and Aunt Lisa as well. They lost a sister this year, and now they are losing their mother.
Lisa is sleeping there tonight, and I will go in at 7 the morning and let her go home and shower so she can work. I took the day off, and I want to stay there with her as long as I can. IF she survives the night, it might be the last time I get to spend with her.
If she does go in her sleep tonight, I hope it is peacefully, and not painfully or in confusion.