Monday, August 26, 2013

Saturday, August 24

Dear Tatum,

This morning when I got up Grandma was trying to pull her teeth (dentures) out. That's what it looked like. In reality she was trying to put them in; I don't know how they came out. Just the top ones. Thankfully she got them back in, because I have no idea how to do it. I've conquered the hearing aids, so I could probably figure out the dentures. 

She said she needed to go to the bathroom and wanted to get up and go. I told her we could try. I was astounded that (with a lot of help) she made it. I hadn't expected her to get out of bed again. She was more aware and more talkative than she's been in a few days. It's surprising after yesterday, but there are bound to be ups and downs. And really, this is a very small up. 

Millie and Vick came over this afternoon to visit Grandma. Millie hadn't seen Grandma in two weeks because she had knee surgery and had to wait to be able to come over. As it was, Vick drove her over from next door. Grandma interacted a bit--definitely more than she would have yesterday. It was a good time for a visit. In the end, I became a surrogate for Grandma with Millie sharing stories of family members gone awry, but that was okay. Millie has done so much for Grandma, and really enabled her to stay at home, that she can be forgiven most anything. I gave her the dutch oven I knew Grandma had promised her. 

In the evening she removed her bottom teeth. She started to gag a little when I tried to help her get them back in, and then I realized how badly they were in need of cleaning. I cleaned them, and tried to help her get them in again, but Dad and Slip arrived and it was too distracting to do it with them there. She said it was okay to leave them out. 

Slip cooked and sliced and got the BLT's that were to be our dinner ready while I went for a quick walk for some fresh air. When I got back the table was set and dinner was ready on the back porch, where the dining room table now sat. After dinner I got out the strawberry ice cream, God knows we have enough. I also brought out and old jewelry box of Grandma's to look through. It had some old costume jewelry; a paper clipping from when she and my Grandpa were married in Washougal, Washington; her class ring; and a few other interesting items. I was asking Dad to choose the things he wanted, trying to move along with the process, but he was having none of it. "I was only looking," he said, "Not choosing." I don't think he realizes how imminent things are.

We sat on the porch until it was too dark to see, then Dad and Slip were on their way back to Portland. Dad said, "Bye, Mom," as he left.

Grandma was having a hard time breathing and making more gurgling sounds than usual. I set my bed up on the living room floor as I'd been doing since she moved to the dining room and kept an eye on her as I watched really bad television. As the night progressed she seemed more uncomfortable and I finally called Hospice around midnight. I wanted to give her some morphine because Lynette had said it would relax her lungs and help her breath but I felt like I needed permission. I knew it was okay, but didn't feel good about drugging Grandma and just wanted someone else to agree that in that moment it was the best thing to do. She also seemed uncomfortable and I wanted to help her feel better. I got the permission I wanted and gave grandma a small dose of morphine. It seemed to help.

This was the most upset I've been throughout my time with Grandma. I called Sofie a little after midnight and she was nice enough to help me pull myself back together. 

I stayed up until about 2:00 a.m. watching "The Man with the 132 Pound Scrotum" (the Orient Express was good but just to slow for that time of night). Grandma's breathing was better by then and she was quieter.

I finally went to sleep.