This photo is the only baby photo I have of him. Elsewhere on this blog I have compared his and my baby photos and written about him. Oddly today is also the birthday of the youngest daughter of his oldest brother, a cousin I have never met who lives in western Pennsylvania.
|Lt Lewis S Ball, Dorr Field, FL |
We wonder what if and can imagine what might have been but that changes nothing. What was has been and we are now in the present. The future is ahead.
Mother in law continues to hang onto life at the skilled nursing facility in our town, but since her discharge from the hospital, a week ago today, she has declined mentally, losing the small bit of cognition that she had at 96. Perhaps it is the anesthetic remaining in her system, perhaps it is the trauma, perhaps the pain medication was too severe, all together everything plays a part in her decline. She no longer knows why she is where she is, she cannot fathom that she has broken her hip and had surgery, yet she knows who we are. She is a very difficult patient, tiny but very demanding, frail and stubborn and is best when she is sleeping. She does get up for therapy and sometimes eats in the dining room. Today she declined to eat the midday meal and was sleeping when we went for our daily visit. Yesterday she was more delirious and the well meaning aide allowed her to have the walk around phone so that she could talk to Jerry. Oh right, nothing like a 6:30AM wake up call from someone who cannot string two words together but wants the phone. We have adamantly asked that they not make phone calls to us for her, it does no good and is disturbing. She is already delirious why must we get on the bandwagon? She is agitated and demanding. Somehow she cons a helpful aide into dialing the phone for her, the aide likely thinks it might help and so tries to assuage and make sense to someone who cannot comprehend. When we answer the phone she cannot even talk and when she does she is not coherent. What a wonderland, how tiring this is. How I wish her daughter had her as her responsibility, but that would never be, she did not want to be infringed upon years back and now the option is long gone. Through caring for elderly and years of long term care administration, I have never seen a situation like this. Only one time did the facility where my uncle resided ever call me to talk to him when he was not making sense, they figured it out and mostly he was of good temperament and humor even when ailing. A different person. She could be like this for how long, she could live on for years, she could improve, she could have ups and downs, all coulds and no guarantees. Both of us are exhausted at the end of the day. Maybe we could refer the delirious calls to her daughter or her younger son, let them see what life is like, let them be disturbed, let them not get to do what they want, put themselves on hold, sure right, silly thoughts. That will be the day.
Someday there might be a funny story here, like Friday night when we returned from dinner and the phone rang. The nursing home showed on caller ID so Jerry picked up and it was quiet. Finally a voice said, "who's this?" and when he replied, "Jerry" the voice said, "here's your mother." WTH? We had spent 3 hours there earlier and accomplished only an agreement with the therapist to order a wheel chair. MIL does not ever remember that we were there. Florence (MIL) got on the phone and began to babble and then demand that Jerry come take her home. As he tried to repeatedly tell her she was home, she faded. As he shouted into the phone, because she cannot hear either, "get the nurse" she replied, bewildered, "what nurse." Finally a nurse came along and took the phone, apologizing that some of the other residents had taken it upon themselves to help her out to call, shades of Jack Nicholson and "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest" the loonies have taken over the asylum. Somehow when one gets too much of this repeatedly it is difficult to see the humor.