Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I Know

Sunday night, I was with Dr. BB and my sister-in-law in the room with my mother-in-law.  Some pseudo-relevant information is that my sister-in-law is a doctor.  My mother-in-law heard the front door to the house close as my father-in-law went outside to water the yard.  She yelled for her husband.

My sister-in-law calmly tells her that she, Dr. BB, and I are all in the room with her and we can help her. My mother-in-law got really agitated really quickly, asking for help, and asking where she was.

Now. This is not unheard of for terminal patients. There's something called "terminal agitation" and it's basically caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain and other failing organs. But we've been very lucky and my mother-in-law hasn't had much of this.  Many terminally ill patients, my mother-in-law included, are given anti-anxiety or anti-psychotic medications for just such an occasion.  My sister-in-law was quick to react and gave her some of her pain and anti-anxiety medications and my mother-in-law fell asleep.

Cut to me sitting on the floor "how to help dying patient." One of the suggestions was to always introduce yourself before you speak so that the person knows who you are.

The next morning, my sister-in-law has gone back to her family and job and Dr. BB and my father-in-law are mowing the lawn. I'm reading on my Kindle on the bed next to my sleeping mother-in-law when the phone rings. I answer the phone (telemarketer) and my mother-in-law wakes up.

"Hey M.A." I am whispering because we always whisper.  "It's NGS." (The Google told me to!)

She looks at me, eyes clearer than I've seen them in weeks. "I know," she says in the most sarcastic, snotty tone ever to come out of a dying person. It was like having the old M.A. back for a split second, the one who would have rolled her eyes at me for introducing myself. I laughed and laughed and even she wheezed out a chuckle. I want this memory forever. I want this memory of her feisty self to stay etched in the wrinkles of my brain.

And then she asked me why this is all taking so long. I don't know if she meant why the boys were taking so long with the grass or why she is still clinging to this mortal coil, but all I could do was look at her and say "it will be over soon."

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