It's been a while. I didn't write up my last visit which was three and a half weeks ago. For that visit she was a little tired, and pleasant enough but really sleepy so I didn't bother her to long. Just long enough to let her know I'd be out of town on vacation for my next two visits. As part of that I left a couple more birthday cards for her birthday plus nine and ten weeks, along with chocolates. The folks at the Queen Anne Manor reception desk thought it was really cute and fun for her and did bring them in on subsequent Thursdays. That was especially nice as I wasn't able to get her to answer the phone when I called from the road.
I was over this last Thursday, but I hadn't remembered all of my sister Terrie's Email. I was thinking they'd moved her to a new room, not a new facility. She was falling down a lot, including falling out of her bed and the nursing staff felt they didn't have the necessary support for her. The folks there at the time didn't have a clear idea on where she'd moved and when I tried the GPS the closest place for Bayview was over twenty miles away. More talking with Hospice on Thursday and I was able to get the phone number which I was able to plug into the gps. The new place was also on Queen Anne, much closer to Seattle Center, and is called Bayview Retirement Community
, and she is in the medical care unit.
She is now in a situation like a hospital room and ward, and is either depressed or sedated to the gills. I'm going to follow up more with Hospice to get a better feeling. The other obvious possibility is her systems are starting to shut down. Her bed is not elevated at all, so she is only a foot or so above the ground. Her dentures were out giving her that widened facial appearance when the mouth closes half an inch or so more than we're accustomed to.
Waking up, or getting her to open her eyes was easy. There is not much expression there, just minute hints of recognition. She fell back asleep several times in the ten minutes I was there, and seemed to push my hand away. Not sure why, but my guess is dreams and waking were blended. I think she did recognize me, but maybe not that I was actually there. So she might have pushed it away because it made her hand sweaty. I didn't bother opening the card I brought for her birthday plus eleven weeks, maybe she'll be more alert again in the future and we can go over those. I'm not sure how much she remembers of my silly little weekly birthday card game but there wasn't a point today.
Instead of the birthday card I tried something else to comfort and maybe entertain her. I talked about beach fires made from driftwood and how I make tea which is smokey, an aroma that reminds me of those beach fires. That seemed to bring a tiny smile and bit of wistfulness, so I went on to talk about Farmer George's hotdogs which used to be so good. I used very short simple sentences. I was trying to start a conversation or to even get her to engage. I also mentioned Grandpa Maddock filleting salmon and the story I wrote in grade school about it, which she loved. I was hoping I could evoke images which might lead to some nice dreams and reminiscences.
It was a hard visit for me. Nothing surprising there. I was there maybe ten minutes, and it seems it was both shorter and ages longer. After only a bit over three weeks it was a more rapid change than I'd anticipated. Last time she had a decline like that she had a rebound and we were still able to go out to the park and dinner with all three kids. I don't anticipate that kind of a comeback. I do hope for recognition before the end. I accept it may not be possible, or it may not be worth the effort to her. Even with that acceptance I still hope, with the realization it is more of a selfish hope for myself.