Chaos Attraction

"Comfort Care"

2007-01-02, 9:28 a.m.

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As usual...I need a vacation from my vacation. I was so frigging tired after I finally got dropped off by Mom that I ended up going to bed at 9...then I didn't actually sleep all night long. Bleeeeech.

I'm annoyed at the sick thing. I am not badly sick at all- it's purely throat to nose action- and it's gotten better since Sunday. It could have been a lot worse, considering that I got exposed to Mauricio's flu and Kristen's vomiting and by rights I should be completely incapacitated in bed right now. But that said, I'm pretty damn sick of having to have a lozenge in my mouth every waking and sleeping moment, especially if I'd like to oh, brush my teeth or eat or something. Yes, I'm being a big baby, so I'm stopping this rant right now.

After doing the inevitable Dad visit, we spent NYE at the movies, watching "We Are Marshall." Yes, it's kind of odd that we went to a football movie, but various relatives have attended Marshall, and one of them (cousin Pam) works there and was in one of the shots in the movie.

I liked it. Sure, there's some elements where you're thinking, "Yeah, that bit is fake and they just threw it in for drama" (namely, The Girl He Left Behind, i.e. the girl who was engaged to the hottest guy on the team), but even that I got involved in. I freaking cried (and I am not a crier, as you know) when the engaged girl, hands trembling, tries to give her engagement ring back to the man who would have been her father-in-law, saying it should remain in his family. And he says "My family," in a way that reminds you that all of his is dead now and there's nobody for the ring to even go to. Awww.

I do, however, think Matthew McConaughey just came in and did his usual Matthew McConaughey good ol' kinda crazy boy schtick (with a dose of parental adoration along the lines of Maes Hughes) in the role of the new coach, though. It didn't quite match the tone of everyone else in the movie, and it's not exactly like he ah, disappeared into the role or anything. I kept thinking, "Yeah, I doubt the real coach acted that wacky." I talked to Pam the next day and sure enough, she said that wasn't the case. She did give Matthew Fox props for playing the assistant coach well, though.

I keep thinking, "Here comes the new year, same as the old year." Nothing ever fucking changes, really. I had thought about calling people to see if anyone was doing something for the holiday, then figured Mom would be all miserable if I abandoned her for it, so I didn't. Next year, and the year after that, and the year after that, will all be the same thing, just with different movies seen so I can ignore midnight.

We went to the nursing home on NYD around 1 p.m. for a meeting with their social worker. The good news is, no extra money is going to have to be paid after all. Mostly she wanted to talk about hospice, though. Namely, she was FLABBERGASTED that Mom would even consider it. Of course, that isn't actually going to happen, though. As usual, Mom sat there and cried and cried, and I sat there, cold as ice. I shudder to think what the social worker must think of me, especially after Mom told her that I don't go see Dad any more. At one point Mom snapped at me for saying she wouldn't do hospice- "You make it sound like I want him to suffer!" Uh.... sorry, there really isn't a nicer way to put that. You may claim that you don't want him to suffer, but when it comes to him vs. your need to cling, well....

More fun details: if we took out the feeding tube, it could take him up to five weeks to starve to death. Lovely! Mom's so disturbed by taking him off the ventilator and losing him immediately- well, I'm disturbed at the idea of starving him for weeks. That can't be pain-free.

Mom did, however, agree to "comfort care" status. What this translates into is, "If he gets another UTI or something curable, we'll treat him. Pneumonia, however, we'll just not treat and ah, see how it goes." It's the "we're just gonna look the other way while the child crosses the busy street" method of killing, basically. Course, this could still mean it takes forever for him to die, especially if he somehow manages to magically keep recovering on his own just enough that he never fully dies. And yet, I am still wondering if I should bother to sign up for any classes to take this quarter or not.

I am shocked that Mom agreed to this, and don't think she'll stick with it in the end given her previous statements about how she'll only be "okay" with him dying if with all the medical help in the world couldn't save him.

She spent the rest of the day on the verge of tears or crying (she looked so pathetic following me around while I got groceries when we got into town), to the point where I tried to get her to call in sick and not go to work tomorrow so she didn't drive home alone and crying. At least she didn't crash on the way home. She was just so obviously broken-hearted. She is just constantly broken-hearted, over and over and over and over again. Every day, every moment breaks her heart like it's fresh and new, somehow.

And then there's me, who's gotten so sick of it that I have no heart at all any more.

At one point during the social worker meeting, she said she didn't WANT to be in the room whenever Dad dies, but feels like she HAS to be so he won't be alone. That surprised me. I said I don't want to be there either...but I feel the obligation to be there if she is. She called Pam to ask her what it was like when you're there when someone dies because Pam had been there when her dad died. Pam's response boiled down to, "I'm glad I did it, but... I really wish I couldn't remember it." That's what I'm afraid of. I don't WANT that in my brain for eternity. I don't think that answer comforted Mom much.

You know it's bad when Mom, Ms. Perpetual Optimist, "Someday He'll Get Well Enough To Come Home And We'll Get A Miracle", Magical Thinking Girl, says that he was obviously in much pain today being suctioned and moved around and it was horrible. But even still, I don't think she will stick with it. I've learned not to get my hopes up any more anyway.

Incidentally, I found out that Aunt Susie won't give Mom her power of attorney in the event of her being incapacitated because Mom would string her along forever, and my cousin Pam has the same problem with her (presumably pro-life) son Jeff. Now I'm thinking maybe I should give my PoA to Aunt Susie. At least she's the closest person who can get to me in the event of incapacitation (unfortunately, I know all too well the power of The Relative On The Scene), and if she agrees....

Today I'd promised myself I'd start a JanNoWriMo and rewrite my novel from last year. I don't think I will end up doing that, mainly because I AM SO FUCKING TIRED from December right now. I didn't get to do much pre-writing work on the novel At All- only on the train was I left alone to do that- and I am just not prepared. This bugs me.

I am, however, considering doing my own version of The Year Of Magical Thinking. I bought Mom that on audiobook for Christmas and we listened to it in the car all week. It's pretty different from our experience because she lost her husband out of the blue and suddenly. I can't help but think that has to be worse than our experience, definitely. But that said, it's a totally different experience to drag on an illness for-fucking-ever-and-ever. Maybe something like that is needed out there, if anyone else ever has this going on.

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