My poor mother in law is exhibiting failure to thrive. Not surprising since she has been going downhill steadily since she has lost any sense of who she is due to Alzheimer’s. We went to see her on Sunday and she was curled up in her bed and would not acknowledge us.
It was difficult for my husband. He would not approach her in the bed. He bellowed hello as if she was contaminated. There is some real issue there and I have known this for a while. He was able to be with his father when he was in hospice and was there when he died. But the sight of his mother, so tiny in the big bed, freaked him out.
I approached her and said softly, with my hand on her shoulder, “Mom, it’s Jane.” She usually perks up and recognizes me. We women who have married into the family have a special bond because of the traits of our collective husband’s process. My husband is every bit the drama king her husband was. She used to rip a good quip back at him under her breath and then smile at me. I can remember when I stayed with her while Dad was in the hospital; she seemed to resurface and be herself. We chatted and she relayed stories like they were yesterday. But as soon as her daughter came back to the apartment, she would slip away. Even when we visited with her a couple of weeks ago she sat close and would lean a comfortable way towards me, like there was an energy she enjoyed. I will hold on to that.
I also would talk to her a bit in French. Her family is from Nice and she loved to share tales of her youth from there. She married her American soldier boy and moved state side after the war. But in her heart, she was French.
So when she did not respond in English, I spoke to her in French, still softly touching her shoulder. She opened one eye and said she just wanted to sleep. And then she did not say any more.
Today she was admitted into the hospital for tests. She has a UTI, which is no surprise since she does not drink water or fluids unless told to. She has fallen again making it three times, again not surprising since she has a raging UTI. She has a fractured pelvis in two places and is in pain. But she tried to not say anything because the last time she fell she ended up in an icky nursing home. She resides now in a lovely memory care facility which she loved.
But the Doctor today agreed that she is exhibiting end of life and should be put into hospice care. I could have said that on Sunday, but I am not a clinician. She’s just tired and done. She is 92, hurts like hell, has no one left if you ask her, she’s scared and feels totally alone. She did like the memory care facility, but this last fall has taken her out.
Every family has one, and this family is no different. Enter my stupid, idiotic, undereducated, spoiled….I could go on…sister in law (SIL) who just happens to have power of attorney and is the health care proxy. She is refusing to allow Mom to go into hospice. Her reasons are that…HOSPICE is what killed her Daddy…. Seriously. Dad who would have turned 95 in a week, died from kidney and heart failure last month. They are pretty sure that the last episode that put him into the hospital was a myocardial infarction. He had stints put in years and years ago. So when his kidneys went to 5%, it was time to let him go. Unfortunately, dying is nothing like you see on the TV. It is not always pleasant. My Father-in-law basically drowned in his own fluids. My sister-in-law freaked out when he was having difficulty breathing….HELLO….he was actively dying. They should have gotten her out of the room. She became hysterical and ripped into her brothers for killing their father because he was in Hospice. She is so dumb.
So now, my mother in law could return to the Memory Care unit and her room she loves only if she is comes back in hospice. They are not going to provide….and this is where I am confused…acute care. She is not in need. She has a UTI, which with the IV drip and fluids, which will clear up in day and she is an full admit for now in the hospital. There is nothing anyone can do. They want to discharge her to hospice. She does not want to get out of bed. She does not want to do PT. She wants to sleep…. She wants to let go of the fight.
The tragedy is my sister is now looking to place her back in the nursing home she hated. She thinks they will provide PT for her and she will go back to being whatever my SIL thinks is fine. All because the selfish idiot does not understand hospice. My Mother in law deserves to go in peace and pain free, and in her own bed. Her brothers do not have the ability or the legal right to override her choice. I am an outsider.
On top of all this, there is a battle going on between the oldest brother and her about the estate and paying for my father-in-law’s funeral. No one, it seems, has seen the advance directives or for that fact, any of the Will documents my Father in law was very clear were created. She has them. But that’s for another time.