On the morning of the 23rd, I found my Mom sleeping and unresponsive to me trying to provide her with liquid. This wasn't too unusual, she tended to sometimes be unresponsive, so I let her sleep. The nurse called about her enema stuff and said she'd be over at 12:30pm.
Around 12pm, her breathing had sped up. It was fast, but not "labored" and so I lowered her bed so she was resting and more comfortable. I was unable to give her water, so I used a plastic injection type fluid dropper and squirted a bit in her mouth.
The nurse came at 12:30 and examined her. She told me that the end was near. No more food, water, medication except for pain. I could swish her mouth with water if she was dry, but that's it. She would no longer respond.
Her heart rate was now 150. The nurse said she was running a marathon, and that she wouldn't be able to keep it up.
I sat with my Mom for a bit, but the nurse said that it could take maximum of 48 hours. And that her breathing would get labored.
So I went back to my room to do work (I was working from home) and continued to monitor her progress. At one point I came downstairs and swished out her mouth, this was around 2pm. I also put a cool rag on her head because she was running a fever.
At about 5:30pm, her breathing became labored and mucosy sounding. They call that the "death rattle" but it was more like a snore really. I held her hand and talked to her, even though she was unconscious really. A couple of types it seemed the mucous built up enough where she sort of gagged a bit but then it cleared and she went right back to labored breathing.
Ten minutes later, she stopped breathing. A couple of small twitches in her neck, that was it. Some people say they let out a sigh, but I didn't see anything that indicated she was dead, other than not breathing.
I was pretty sure she was dead. But I stared at her for awhile because she looked like she was sleeping and I wanted to make very sure she was no longer just breathing shallow. I felt for her heart beat, and her breath, but of course didn't feel anything. I then called Hospice.
The nurse arrived after about an hour (This is normal for Hospice) and confirmed she had passed. She managed the funeral home call, and I waited until they showed up and took her to the funeral home.
There were moments of tears that I had where I felt very sad. Not when she died at that moment, but before when I knew she was going to pass. I did not feel bad for myself, just bad for her. I have lived most of my life without my Mom being in it. Whether she was here or not here doesn't really change the way my life is. I enjoyed having here these past two years, because having a Mom live near me, to celebrate holidays with and to have dinner with occasionally was a nice thing to experience when you don't have that family in your life. For years and years I would eat Thanksgiving dinner alone, Christmas was often alone, and any other holidays. So things like that mattered. But my Mom was very independent and didn't find a lot of need to speak to either Brian or I for weeks at a time. It's just how she was. So we all learned to operate independently of her.
She got a raw deal with the cancer. Cancer is bad enough, but it normally doesn't kill you so fast if you're undergoing treatment. It's a nasty thing that slowly beats you down and takes away organs and fatigues you. I had hoped that even if this was the case, that Mom would survive at least five years, but she barely made it past 1. She had one of the most aggressive cancers seen, and she got it into her spinal fluid which only happens on 5% of breast cancer victims.
And the woman saved up a great deal of money to enjoy her retirement. She loved her house, she loved where she lived and all her friends. She was so happy, and made mention of it to me all the time. She said she never had as many friends in her life as she did here in Cleveland.
So I felt bad for her. She got a raw deal on retirement.
Tuesday is the wake, and Wednesday is the funeral. After that, begins a long process of dealing with her estate.
I'm going to continue this chronicle now on my Oblast radio show. I hope to have one done tonight.
VGNR will return in a few weeks once the immediate things settle down so that my weekends aren't a total clusterfuck.