Mother was taken by ambulance to the Hospice House at 5:30 a.m. June 19.
The good news is she has stabilized. She is eating well, alert and coherent much of the time, but the slightest exertion sends her into breathlessness and minor panic.
I met with both the Hospice doctor and the Hospice social worker today.
The doctor used the words “actively dying.” If I understood him correctly, she will continue on a downward path, but because she is basically healthy with a strong heart—in spite of one very leaky valve—she may have several “stops” like this along the way. She will also probably have additional little crises like last Thursday.
She will not get better. It may be weeks—or months–but her body is worn out and beginning to shut down. The doctor suggests lack of oxygen to her brain as the reason for reoccurring confusion, but the cause could be any number of things. Hospice is palliative, that is, symptom management, not active intervention. She will be 93 on July 19. None of her doctors are willing to “actively intervene.” She is too old for surgery.
(note on May 21, 2011: fat lot they knew!!)
I will find out in the next day or two if she will be allowed to stay at the Hospice House until I return from my July 2 – 6 vacation. Rules and regulations, based on her condition and how full the facility is…
I want to keep her in the Hospice program. The people have been incredibly kind, helpful, and supportive to both of us. My preference is to keep her at home in her own room as long as I can. This would mean installing a stair lift and hiring in-home caregivers. At the same time, I will check out the nursing homes in town with which Hospice contracts