Wednesday October 7, 09
When I left on Monday early evening I kept reinforcing to Dad that Val is peaceful, she is not suffering. Her pain is controlled. She gets brief periods of joy from seeing her animals, seeing a photo, or listening to us talk. She is beginning to look like an angel lying in her hospital bed.
Val's body has switched to the dying mode vs. the fighting mode according to her nurse Mary. Mary came on Monday and explained that the signs of her RAPID decrease in function, her need for increased oxygen, her lack of desire to eat or take her medicines are all signs. We all have to let Val know that this is OK. Mary explained to Val that if her blood levels are low it is her decision whether she gets a transfusion or not. Val's reply was " I don't see what good it would do me in these circumstances" Wow! Dad and I were both shocked, but in agreement with this. We all reinforced to Val she doesn't have to fight any more. How tremendously difficult it for all of us to say these things to her, but we do out of love for her. However, the time has come to allow her to go.
Mary explained that giving transfusions and giving her fluids are actually working against what the body is trying to do in the dying phase. We could actually cause her death to be more uncomfortable. An example of this: When the new oxygen machine was delivered on Monday, it is suggested to add a water humidifier for oxygen given at 5% and above. I said of course lets make the airway moist to avoid nose bleeds as Val is on coumadin and doesn't clot well. Val's body taught us a HARD lesson that is doesn't' want moisture. She was up with Dad on Tuesday morning from 5-7 AM sitting on the side of her bed coughing and spitting up phlem. That has has NEVER happened before. Needless to say, the humidifier is gone and we will allow her lungs to function without added fluid. Dad said it was heart wrenching to see her suffer and cough so much and so hard. Val's oxygen is being raised almost daily and now she is up to 6% by nasal cannula.The morphine is working really well t actually suppress her cough reflex and the three days I was there she had very little coughing and only with position changes.
Val's function has decreased even since I left on Monday evening. Nurse Mary will teach Dad how to change Val's diaper and pants in the bed, as standing without Dad holding her is now difficult. It was just a short week ago today that Val took her last walk upstairs and now she has difficulty just standing.
Rudy and Lea come every day from 2-4. Yesterday for the first time, Dad asked Val maybe she would like Rudy to read to her. Dad's plan is to lay down during these hours as the night are getting rougher with less sleep for Dad. Rudy began to read a Nicholas Sparks book to Val entitled The Nights in Rodanthe. I had just read it and returned it to Val commenting to her what great books she had in her library upstairs. This book in particular is a beautiful love story which takes place on the beach of New England. I know Val will like it. Rudy was THRILLED. For the first time he has a purpose and a way to connect to his daughter during her last days. I am sure it is comforting to Val to hear his voice.
Val continues to be confused and at times hallucinating. Dad tried cutting back the Ativan for the day time and saving that for the night time. After one day, he didn't see a difference. Now Val is frightened that she doesn't know it is her house. When I was giving her a pedicure on Sunday that was the day it began, "who's house is? this where am I?" Last night my brother Baine stayed with Dad. Tonight, Ryan will fly in from TX to stay (unfortunately he lost his job as of 9/30). Val has difficulty answering yes and no questions and rarely finishes a sentence she is trying to say. We have to be very patient at this time trying to figure out how to communicate with her.
Love and prayers to Val always.....Salynn