Mom and me - Compass, PA 1950 - John and Isaac playing with the typewriter - guess who was Mom's favorite?
When I got home from my morning walk on the boardwalk this morning, Bill told me that my brother John had called. These days whenever I see that John has called, I fear for the worst.
John is taking care of Mom at his home in Greenville, South Carolina. We moved her there from her home in Pennsylvania where she was living with other brother Isaac last October 17th, 2009.
Brother John and his wife and daughters at their home in Windsor PA 1974 - I took Mom to visit them
Two weeks ago Mom's body began shutting down. Her potassium level was so low, the doctor was surprised that she was still alive.
We were given the option of sending Mom to the hospital to be hooked up to IV's and other life extending measures or to make her as comfortable as possible at her home with John and his wife and daughter. Mom always made it clear to us that she did not want to be kept artificially alive in a hospital bed.
We decided for hospice care at home. That hospice care began last Monday, for three days a week (Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday.)
The first day of hospice care Mom told the hospice care worker not to come back. Not a good sign.
Caring for Mom at home is becoming very difficult. My brother John doesn't get more than two hours of sleep at night. He has to get up to take her to the bathroom or whatever other needs she has.
John didn't leave a message this morning. I called him back. He told me that Mom had a "real bad night last night." Without going into the details, I will only say that she isn't herself these days. This is not her personality. John thinks she has bi-polar. Somedays she can be her old sweet self and other days (more frequently now) she has a totally different personality. She is abusive, paranoid and unreasonable. This is not our Mom. No way, no how.
We always promised Mom that we would never put her in a nursing home. I remember well what my cousin Jack told me about his Mom, my Mom's older sister. Jack had made the same promise to his Mom but at the end he had no choice. I'm afraid that is where we are with Mom now.
John has found a very nice hospice care center near his home. In fact, John said it was so nice he would like to live there. I can understand his feelings at this time of his life. His wife has medical issues, he has a full-time job as a care pastor and, in addition to all of these responsibilities he is taking care of Mom. John isn't getting any sleep at night. Something has to change. This cannot continue.
I will call him now and tell him that it is alright to put Mom in a place where she can get the care she needs and deserves. I'm sure Isaac will concur with my decision.
My cousin Jack told me it would come to this. That Jack, he has always been one step ahead of me.
Someday I'll write a blog posting about my few years old cousin Jack, who like me, brought himself up from the bootstraps and had a successful banking career. We did pretty good for two dirt poor kids of of the Fifties from Downingtown, Pennsylvania. Jack's advice has always been right on. I hate to admit it, but he was right again.
My last visit with Mom (and brother John) June 2010 - we're in the beautiful park in downtown Greenville, SC - John forgot Mom's hat. I loaned her mine. That's a bathrobe I bought for her. She wears it all the time, even when she goes to the park.