Shrinking world, shrinking control. As my mom progresses through this ending period of her health journey, she needs more and more help with the basics. She demonstrates her customary approach to life by extending her arms out wide. Now she shows her life by hugging herself. It’s all about me now. She wants to finish her goodbyes and be pain-free. She hasn’t let go of concern about her safety. With 24/7 care, one caregiver is her friend. They trust each other implicitly. The others – agency caregivers – can be familiar, trusted regulars or people present one time for one shift. My mom checks her meds carefully. Even wanted a watch with bigger numbers on the face so she could check the time for meds. She checks every pill. She calls me or my sister if she’s not sure. Pain medicine is a challenge. The agency caregivers can’t really give medications, they can only show her the meds in the pill-box or pill bottles and then put them in her hand to take herself. She has to ask for breakthrough pain meds and feels unsure of her allowed schedule. The tension between pain relief and lucidity. This tension increases as she anticipates my son’s and my visit next week. Wanting to be pain free and lucid for us. Actually, she’s a tough old broad, vital signs stable, laughing sometimes, watching Blue Bloods with my sister. Seems like my mom’s defining features come out in high relief during this period. Courage, resourcefulness, not wanting to be left out or surrender control, humor, adaptability, perseverating, love for family and friends. Tart and sweet. Wise and child-like. Shrinking world, shrinking control. Oh, ma.
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