How Often Do I Bathe My 1 Month Old Baby Caring For a Dying Parent – Do the Right Thing

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Caring For a Dying Parent – Do the Right Thing

In the week after Christmas 2009, one of my mother’s friends called me to say that my mother had suffered a stroke. This was a problem because my mother lived in northern Arkansas and I lived in Houston. My son and I set off the next morning at 11 o’clock. When we got there and visited him in the hospital, I felt something was wrong. The nurses didn’t give us any information and told us to come back to the hospital at 6am to talk to the doctor.

It saddened me to see my once robust and spunky mother turned into a frail woman with obvious physical effects from the stroke. Fortunately, the stroke was only minor, it didn’t affect him mentally, but it changed the game. If he hadn’t suffered a stroke, I wouldn’t have seen him for months since I visited that summer. We talked on the phone every week, but he didn’t talk about his health.

My mom and I weren’t that close, in fact, in the 30+ years since I graduated from college, she’s spent less than two weeks with me, with the exception of living with me in my home for six months in 2000 when she passed. traumatic divorce at age 70. But it was time to put the past aside, forget history and focus on the present, the present.

The next morning, my son and I walked down the hall to my mother’s hospital room to meet the doctor. Even though my son was 23, I wanted to prepare him. I remember saying, “Whatever the news is, we’ll deal with it.” Her doctor came and before she went into her room she told us firmly, “Your mother has cancer. She has cancer of the liver and brain.” I was shocked, but immediately asked, “How much time do you have left?” He replied, “I wouldn’t estimate more than 60 days.” This diagnosis hit me like a ton of bricks.

My son looked at me and I said, “Well, he’s coming back to Texas with us.” We all took a deep breath and went into my mother’s room. He asked the doctor who told him the news. She replied, “I’m glad you told the truth. I’ll deal with it.” The doctor advised him to spend his time with us and he listened. Now this was unusual as my mother was very independent and made it clear to me that she wanted to be alone. I am an only child, my mother is divorced, her only sibling died a few years ago. He had friends, but it was a family situation and it was me.

The doctor met us again in the lobby and thanked me for taking her home with me. I thought it was very strange, but he said that many people don’t want to deal with death and put their parents in nursing homes. It wasn’t a problem, she was my mother and it was one of those times where you just step up and do what’s right.

Over the next 48 hours, my son and I prepared to take Mom home with us. Thanks to her many friends, we were able to get someone to look after her home, find new owners for her six beloved cats, pack essentials and cherished memorabilia into our SUV, and bring her 14-year-old Labrador. In Houston, my husband handled the logistics of hospice care. My son and I spent New Year’s Eve with a late dinner, we were grateful for the opportunity to be there for mom when she needed us the most.

The next morning I went to Walmart and bought my first set of adult diapers so my mom could travel comfortably. I remember thinking that this is not the way to start the new year.

Early Friday morning, we warmly bundled Mom up, took her for one last visit to her home, said goodbye to friends and neighbors as we headed back to Texas. The return trip was even longer, especially since we had to stop several times for meals, filling up with gas and bio breaks.

For the first few nights, mother slept comfortably in an armchair on request, but soon the living room of our bedroom became her room. The hospice provided all the necessities: hospital bed, potty and oxygen machine. We were lucky to have mom right there with us, just a few steps away when she needed help. The hospice team consisted of medical staff, a psychologist, nurses and a minister. They took care of all the paperwork so we could spend time with my mom. They brought supplies and ordered equipment.

I had no experience dealing with a dying parent. I’m not very well versed in medical procedures either, but the hospice staff took the time to teach me how to administer medications and monitor the stages of death and dying. It was very emotional and within a couple of weeks my mother was bedridden from her mobile phone. I have great respect for people who work with the chronically ill or the dying. It’s very tiring and emotionally draining. Fortunately, my son came several times a week and my husband and I were able to take a 1-2 hour break.

I made little plates for him with a few bites of yogurt, fresh fruit, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables. I had some plates with little sentences on them, so I encouraged her to finish the little meals and read the plate. It was a fun little game that he enjoyed. I cut her hair and she was happy with her new outfit. And he loved the new clothes I got him, warm shirts, pjs and fuzzy slippers.

My daughter flew to him and spent the last weekend together. I was very proud of my daughter’s gentle nature. Even though we couldn’t get my mother to recall the family history, it was time well spent. It was transformative for my daughter to see impending death as just a phase of life.

I was also grateful to the hospice nurse who came twice a week to shower, make the bed, brush her teeth and wash her hair. He was gentle, friendly and patient with my mother. It also gave me a few hours to sit at home and relax.

Perhaps the most perplexing problem was my mother’s moaning at night. This started in the last two weeks when he was still awake and communicating with us. The terrible throat noise really bothered me and my husband. The hospice nurse told us she was probably in emotional pain. My mother rejected religion for most of her life, but decorated her house with pictures of Christ and Mary. She asked us to take her favorite pictures with us so that we could decorate her room with them.

My mother wouldn’t let her talk to the hospice minister, but she seemed to enjoy it while she sang hymns to him. But when the nocturnal moaning continued, I decided to contact a Catholic friend. He arranged for a pastor to come and pray with him. My mother smiled back, thanked him, and seemed at peace as she left. That night the moaning stopped, I think her emotional pain was healed.

The next day my friend came and told my mom about the rosary. My mother was much weaker, but smiled again and shook his hand in thanks. I think my mother has finally found religion and her time on earth is up. The next day, my mom slipped into a transition phase. Since I work from home, I took out our phones and set them up as a baby monitor to listen to her breathing when I was in my office, just a few steps away. I went in and talked to her and told her they loved her but it was okay to let her go. His body was oozing, his hands had a funny smell, which the nurse explained was a sign. He stopped breathing late on Friday, January 30, 2009. My husband felt the change.

We called hospice and they sent a nurse out to confirm her death. According to their instructions, we arranged for a funeral home to take his body away. Everyone treated him with respect. After they put him in the hearse, my husband and I went back to his room. A rose was left in her bed.

We sat down and cried. The experience brought us closer together. We have begun the process of returning to our normal lives. The Hospice has not forgotten about us. After the paperwork, they called me and offered to come to our house if needed. The medical supply company came and picked up all the equipment. Our house has been restored and is not dying, but livable.

A year later, what have I learned from the experience?

– Doing the right thing. Being with your parent is the right thing to do. This can be hard if you haven’t had a perfect relationship, but it’s the right thing to do.

– Hospice can teach you to be a good caregiver. Just be teachable.

– Don’t expect the experience of dying to be perfect. Nothing in life is perfect, why should it be any different now?

– Keep a journal and cherish the moment.

I am at peace with my decision. I am proud of the way my son, daughter and husband worked together to make my mother’s final days peaceful and loving. I am proud that we cared for mother at home with the help of the hospice.

Life takes on a new meaning when you face death. And all is well in the end.

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