Last weekend was rough. Mam-ma spent much of it curled in a fetal position, gripping her bed rail and groaning with pain. Friday and Saturday were the worst. She would begin moaning and begging for a pain pill an hour or more before one could be administered... and then it took another hour or more afterward for the pill to take effect. I asked if anything could be done, and the nurse did try to contact the doctor. But he was out of town for the weekend and did not answer his cell phone. I later learned that in these situations, I can call Hospice, and they can help. However, Sunday was almost totally different. The pain seemed to be far less substantial, and Mam-ma seemed clearer. Where she had been virtually unresponsive (except for the groaning) on Friday and Saturday, she was pleasant and clearly more comfortable on Sunday. Saturday, she flatly refused a bath when the Hospice aide visited. Sunday, she readily agreed to the same offer from the same aide. Every day is different.
Monday afternoon when I visited, the aides told me, "She threw a huge FIT this morning... told us that 'I can make my own decisions, and I want out of here.'" The aides interrupted an administrative staff meeting because the rant was so bad, and the facility administrator, the facility owner, and the nurse agreed to let the aides put Mam-ma in her wheelchair and roll her around - and they even took her outside on the porch for about 10 minutes. I was not thrilled by this. It wasn't that this really hurt anything, but Mam-ma is not thinking clearly, and just because she says she can make her own decisions doesn't mean she can. This weekday nurse was not on duty over the weekend. She and the weekday aides did not see how Mam-ma writhed in pain. They did not hear her groaning through the night and begging for more medication. They were not there when she was virtually unresponsive...and other family members and I were wondering if perhaps this was "the beginning of the end."
To make matters worse, the aides no sooner got Mam-ma back to her room from the wheelchair ride than she developed serious diarrhea... to the extent that she soiled her clothing, the recliner, the floor... everywhere. The aides cleaned Mam-ma and put her to bed, admonishing me to watch where I sat or stepped ... that "we'll be back to steam clean everything and disinfect." The Hospice nurse was there, and I noticed that Mam-ma's feet were still dirty, so the nurse put on gloves and got a packet of wipes and cleaned Mam-ma's feet and legs.