Continuing on the Journey

 

Mom is sleeping most of the time. She is in pain whenever she is moved, and we have noticed more swelling in her body.

Hospice came by today and is going to start her on a maintenance dosage of morphine. They will start crushing her pills, as she is now having difficulty swallowing.

Her speech is very slurred; she doesn’t understand why she is still here.

We think that she is now in the Transition phase of this process.

So now we wait.

 

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Spring Break Adventures at the Koch House

Rebecca is home for Spring Break.  I am not there, because I am in North Carolina with my mom, who is in hospice.  Rebecca and Paul were supposed to come up here this weekend, but Dad requested that they not come, due to the current Coronavirus scare.

A few days ago, we were able to do FaceTime between my mom and Paul and Rebecca using my nephew’s phone and Michelle’s old iPhone.  We all have Android phones, and couldn’t figure out how to make that work, but then I remembered that I still had that phone plugged in at home, so Paul took it out and used it.

About 1:30 this afternoon, I hear the home doorbell go off on my phone (we have a home security system, and they have a phone app).  I looked at my phone screen, and there is a whole EMS crew entering my house, complete with a stretcher!  I freak out, and call the house.  Meanwhile, I notice a text that says, “Mom” was sent to my phone from MICHELLE’S phone at 1:20 pm.

Rebecca must have wanted to see/talk to me today, so she went and got Michelle’s phone, and when she couldn’t figure out how to get in touch with me, she called 911 to help find me instead.

Poor Sarah didn’t know what was going on – a fireman opened up her bedroom door….

We finally got everything figured out – the EMTs left, and Michelle’s phone is now safely tucked away in Sarah’s room until I get back home in another couple of weeks.

Oh, well – just another day at the Koch’s house!

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Marking Time

 

Mom woke up at 11 last night and said that there was a change in the milk and that I needed to tell them about it (her father drove a milk truck when she was very young).

She woke up this morning and said that she knows this is the end and she just wanted to see my nephew (who got in town last night) and Dad.

Both of them have been here all day. Mike has an iPhone, so we were able to let Mom do FaceTime with her middle sister and BIL, Paul and Rebecca, and Rachel and her husband. Her youngest sister was here this weekend.

She complained of a new pain in her torso twice today, so she has been on medication all day. Hospice has stronger drugs already on board, if we need them.

All of the “boxes” have been checked. I’m just standing watch now.

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Moms Say the Darnedest Things

Tonight about 8:15, my mother woke up from a deep sleep and called someone on the phone, telling him, “Don’t let those people take your money from you.”

I had ear buds in, watching a movie on my Kindle, heard her, and at first thought she was talking to my dad, since they had been joking about widows on the prowl.

Nope.

She had dialed up Paul, and was just chatting him up.

I guess I’m going to have to take her phone away from her after it gets dark….

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Happy 88th Birthday, Dad!

Today is my Dad’s 88th birthday. I can’t tell you how very glad I am that he is still here to celebrate with us – Paul lost his father a few years ago, and it is a loss that he feels every day.

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The Man Behind the Woman

 

As most of you know by now, I am in North Carolina helping out with my Mom and Dad during Mom’s last days.

Everyone has been so nice – sending prayers and thoughts to the family, and telling me how wonderful it is that I am here doing so much for both of my parents.  Thank you so much for that.

However, there is someone else just as deserving of your praise.  Were it not for my incredible husband, Paul, I would not be able to be here.  Paul has gone above and beyond back in Fort Worth, taking care of all of the business at home so that I can help take care of things here in North Carolina.

Poor guy – I hadn’t been gone very long and he, Rebecca, AND Sarah all came down with the flu!  It’s hard enough when one family member gets sick, but when there isn’t any back-up, things can get pretty miserable rather quickly.  Fortunately, we have wonderful friends who were able to pitch in and help out at home.  We are truly blessed.

I think the longest time that we have been apart without seeing each other is 4-5 days whenever Paul has to go out of town on business.  There was a 2-month stretch back in 2015 when I had to be in the hospital due to a medical emergency, but Paul was able to visit every day.  So far this time, we have been apart over two weeks, and we are both missing each other.  Fortunately, Paul and Rebecca will be coming for a short visit next weekend.

They always say that behind every successful man there is an equally important woman, but I am here to tell you that behind this “strong” woman, there is an amazing, strong, indispensable, funny (and handsome!) man – my favorite fella, and the most wonderful husband in the world, Paul.

I am so incredibly lucky.

 

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A (Not So) Super Tuesday

 

Mom entered hospice today.

She woke up and announced that she wants to go.  Things are starting to deteriorate a little bit more quickly now – she is asking for pain medication more frequently, she is more uncomfortable, she is sleeping much more, and tonight I am noticing that her breathing is starting to become more labored.  She is having swelling in her arms and legs, and she is virtually unable to move her body without significant help.

Family members have been apprised of the situation and are making plans to get here when they can.  Both of her sisters have other family members in the hospital right now, so I am scrambling to figure out how to set up something to allow them to see each other from their various vantage points.  Our respective technologies are incompatible with each other, so we are going to have to be creative.

Dad and I are just marking time.  His 88th birthday is on Friday – it will be his last one with Mom.

I am doing what I can to make sure that Mom is comfortable.  Being here with her 24/7 has allowed me to stay on top of most things in a timely manner, but we are entering new territory with the pain angle.  Hopefully we will continue to manage things as quickly as possible.  The staff at the care center have been an immense help.

The end is on the horizon.  I’m not ready for this, but Mom is more than ready, and that is what allows me to hold it together for now.  Her journey is almost at an end.

I am blessed to be able to help her see it through.

 

 

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