Thursday, June 14, 2007

Home

This is the easiest way to update my friends, so I'm putting the info here.

Dad is stable. He's having moments that seem lucid, but mostly he sleeps. The cancer has spread to his brain and this, combined with heavy narcotics, makes him a bit wacky.

We've all perfected a sobbing laugh and have completely lost the ability to keep a thought in our heads. I made a holocaust reference AND a threesome joke at the funeral home when my brother and I were at our preliminary meeting last week. The former was in reference to 24 hour crematoriums ("How German of them,") the latter to the number of cremated people you can fit in a cemetery plot (my brother asked how many people fit in a plot, the funeral director said two but occasionally three, and I said that instances of three must be nontraditional relationships or Mormons.) Neither were particularly funny. They just came out. My brother opted not to make jokes, but instead asked questions about whether you can actually buy a pine box, furnish your own, or bury an unembalmed body in the backyard. I guess you cope however you can.

Since he is in a nursing home facility that offers hospice, as well, we are surrounded by dementia patients. The only bed available was a shared room, and dad's roommate is a brilliant man who hasn't been able to communicate or interact for about five years. He has a wet/raspy lung condition that makes us wince and he makes some of the smelliest poos you've ever had the misfortune of being near. They get him up and out of the room most of the day so we can be undisturbed. The roommate sits in a chair most of the day with his mouth hanging open and a blank stare. Very very sad. We were happy yesterday, though, when we passed him in the common room. It looked like he had a girlfriend...she was sitting in exactly the same pose and their arms were touching. We like to think that he felt some sort of companionship.

There's another guy down the hall who doesn't like to use the nurse call button, so he yells "help, help, help!" in this low-pitched monotone when he wants something. I was passing his door about 11pm one night and he said, "Hey you! You better turn on my light!" I felt privileged that he was so specific.

And periodically you hear, "Code Red, Front Door" echo from the loudspeaker when someone is trying to make a break for it. It's been hot and sunny all week, so it is increasing in frequency. I don't blame them. It's lovely outside.

Tom flew in for the weekend. He made appletinis and margaritas and took good care of my mom. And me. Darlene drove down and was an immense support. Others who've offered: I'll let you know if I need company, and I really appreciate it.

9 comments:

lulu said...

There's nothing I can say right now that can make any of this better; I guess you take solace in the time that you have together, and find comfort in your family.

I’m glad that your friends are there to take care of you. Please let me know if you need anything.

love,
Lauren

Beth said...

You're lucky to have such good friends. My friends got me through this phase, too. My thoughts are with you.

And aren't the jokes bizarre? Some of the things we found ourselves saying ...

Coaster Punchman said...

Licky licky licky!

Tanya Espanya said...

I'm sending you hugs, support, and since I'm on a big Dairy Queen kick lately, I'll send you some cyber ice cream, okay?

At my dad's service we had them play "Oh What A Beautiful Morning" because he used to sing that around the house all the time, changing Morning to Fellow.

BeckEye said...

So sorry that you're going through this. Keep the jokes coming...whatever helps you cope.

Dale said...

I've been thinking about you Mindy. Love and support...Dale

jewgirl said...

I am so sorry, doll face. I wish you didn't heave to go through this. it's heartbreaking.

you are in my thoughts.
katie-

Old Lady said...

Mindy-Nothing you say or do at this hour is horrific. I had the honor and priviledge to assist my father in his last days. His hospice was in his home. I spent every moment I could with him and prayed for his quick demise daily. Talk was infrequent due to drugs and the stages of death can be difficult to handle but love brings you through it all. The important thing is that you are there and that he will die with his family surrounding him cloaked in the love a family can give.

He will know you are there no matter what his level of lucidity. My love and support to you. I am glad you can be there with him on this day and every day he has left as I am sure he is.

Peace,

Tymothe

Writeprocrastinator said...

Melinda,

Hang in there and your pop will get better, you will provide him strength.