Jun 4 – 6 (Thu – Sat): VISIT GRANDMA
Thursday: Slept for an extremely long time. It was late afternoon by the time I visited my grandma.
Friday: Spent the day with my grandma.
Saturday: Spent the day with my grandma.
Frankly, the days have already blurred together. Where I ate, when I sat, when I fell asleep as my grandma slept, which caregivers I spoke with, when I spoke with my mom, my aunt, my uncle. When my grandma was more alert, when she was in a complete fog. When she could be transferred from bed to wheelchair to toilet back to wheelchair. When she had to use a bedpan. When she had to have a hoyer lift. When she would eat, when she had to have her food pureed, when she refused to eat or drink. When hospice was called, the first hospice nurse who presumed that “I want to go home and see my friends” was code for “I want to die.” But the rest of us are pretty sure she actually meant that she wanted to go back to her usual assisted living home and see her literal friends she has eaten each meal with for the past YEARS. (That said, we do agree that she probably feels it’s time to die when she says things like she refuses the physical therapy because she is too tired, she doesn’t want to try anymore, she is too old, too tired, etc.)
It was not as easy to sit with her this time as last time in some ways, because you feel compelled to speak when in the room with someone you are there to see. But she wasn’t tracking and wasn’t responding and didn’t appear to be mentally present or listening. Many times, she was asleep before you finished a sentence. She fell asleep on the toilet, she fell asleep at the dining table. She fell asleep in the middle of a sentence or video chat etc. She was very tired. A week ago, she could lift a spoon to her mouth. Now she can’t. 3 weeks ago, she was holding regular conversations. Now we are lucky if she responds with a sentence all day.
But she is still capable of smiling and it’s still beautiful to see. My mom and I pulled up the recent horse race on my mom’s iPad and brought it to her in her bed as it took place live, and sort of forced her to keep her eyes on the screen and see the horse win the race, with our voices full of enthusiasm and cheering on the horses. My mom cried. Grandma seemed to know she had just watched a horse race, although forgot it within 7 minutes. But it’s a memory for me.
Talked with my mom and my aunt and uncle who live out there. We ate dinner and talked every night. My mom sent out video chats to different family members every time my grandma had a lucid moment, so that everyone in the family would be able to talk with my grandma at least one last time before she dies. I know it’s not the same, to not be able to say something private to her, but I think it is special anyway.