~my thoughts about life~

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rough Day

If you've been a reader of my blog, you know how difficult my grandmother's road with Alzheimer's has been.  She was my favorite grandmother; probably my favorite relative ever.  I am the only grandkid who got her green eyes and I named my first daughter after her.

This coming Friday is my cousin's out-of-state wedding.  We all knew neither Grandma nor Grandpa could attend the wedding and my mom decided to stay home too.  It's sad because my family is so close.  My cousins are like my siblings.  My aunts are extra mothers.  We're tight-knit.  The thought of some of my family not attending G's wedding breaks my heart.

Over the weekend, Grandma got really bad.  Last Friday, she woke up around 2:00 in the afternoon.  This has been a normal wake up time for her.  That night, however, Grandpa tried to put her to bed around 9:00.  He gave her her Alzheimer's medication and a sleeping pill.  She didn't go to sleep.  Grandpa didn't go to sleep.  At 2:00 the next day, she was still up.  She was very groggy and made absolutely no sense (worse than usual).  At bedtime, Grandpa gave her an extra strong sleeping pill.  Hospice told him he could give those to her all along but he was afraid to do so.  She finally crashed around 8:30 PM.

Grandma hasn't eaten a bite of food in a month.  Family friends don't believe us when we say that, but it's true.  She drinks a cup or less of milk a day.  I guess that's what's keeping her going.  So, for a person to stay awake for over 24 hours with no nourishment whatsoever- it's baffling.  I was worried that she would go to sleep and never wake again.  That brings us back to the wedding issue.

If she died Saturday, we could squeeze in the funeral before the wedding.  If she hangs on until Tuesday or Wednesday, there's no way.  I can't see how we could wait until after the wedding for the funeral either.

She did wake up Sunday late afternoon, but I use that term loosely.  She couldn't walk.  She couldn't sit up.  My father carried her to a chair and basically propped her up.  She would speak words occasionally, but they didn't have any reason.  Her eyes were only half open and she looked horrible.  She's down to 108 lbs., fully clothed and with a robe.

We stopped by Sunday evening and I lost it.  I held on until my dad and grandpa left to pick up food.  When we were ready to leave, I told Grandma goodbye.  That's when it happened.  For the first time, I bawled my eyes out.  In front of people.  My mom bawled.  My husband bawled.  Son #1 was tearing up and I told him it was OK to cry.  He did.  Big Sis bawled, but Son #2 is a tough guy.  He excused himself from the room.  It was a total cry fest but I think we needed that.  I knew it was the last time I was seeing my grandma alive.  We took a final photo with her, all red faced with swollen eyes.  She looked asleep in the picture.  Eating and sleeping that night were difficult.

I'm sorry this post sounds so choppy and my thoughts are so unorganized.  I've been trying to get out this post for 3 days and don't want to keep tweaking it.

I had A Day yesterday.  Grandpa had an eye doctor appointment and asked me to keep Grandma.  Hubby was off work and Grandpa said  he wanted him there too.  If Grandma would wake up, he would have to move her.  She didn't wake and things went fine.  I had a youth group meeting that evening and had nothing planned.  A dear friend texted me and told me she would plan the meeting and I shouldn't worry.  Thank God for good friends!

After my meeting, we stopped back up at Grandma's.  She was up, even though her eyes were closed.  She seemed much better than Sunday and it really lifted my spirits.  I sat down beside her on the couch and looked at her frail hand.  It's no more than skin covering bone.  Her wrists are so skinny and her legs are about the size of my 7-year old's.  As I was studying her hand, she picked it up and took hold of my hand,  she held me with both hands and started stroking my arm.  For more than 5 minutes, she sat there massaging my inner forearm.  It was so special and sweet and kind of difficult to put into words.  I think it's a moment I will remember about her forever.  I had to break the mood because my kids were long past their bedtime.  If that was my  last moment with Grandma, it was a special one.

So that's what's going on with me.  If I don't post regularly, you know why.


Jo said...

O I'm so sorry to hear your news. I'm a new reader of your blog so I did not know about your gran until now.
It is terrible watching someone you love fade away, knowing that there is nothing you can do about it.
Thinking of you......

Erica said...

So sorry about all this.

Mimsie said...

I had tears in my eyes reading this. I know what it is like to have a dear one suffering from Alzheimer's, then be in hospice care (aren't the hospice folks wonderful, BTW?) For sure your Grandma still knows you, and loves you! Take care, and know your friends are thinking about you....

chris said...

i am so sorry this is happening to you. alzheimers must be awful for the person it afflicts, but i think just as bad for the loved ones. cherish that moment with your Grandma - it was spontaneous, it was lasting, and clearly she was connecting with you. you were so lucky to have that.

Linda said...

I join in with the rest to say that I'm sorry to hear about this situation with your grandma. At this point comfort can only come from the Lord. You'll always have the memory of being with her during these difficult times, and that will give you peace in the years to come.