Is it possible that my mom was delusional? or perhaps I was?
She awakened from a deep sleep yesterday, barely able to open her eyes,
“I dreamt I had a lot of children,” she murmured in my ear.
“You do! you have 13 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren!”
She smiled as if still in her dream.
“I want some water. And I’m hungry. When’s dinner?,” she begged, still with her eyes closed.
“oh dear,” I thought to myself, she must not remember what I had explained to her the other day about the feeding tube. And so I told her again, as carefully as I had the first time.
And then we received the news that she wasn’t going to be able to go home, which meant another night in the hospital.
Did I tell you that she becomes a different woman at night when she’s in the hospital? She becomes aggressive and almost violent, tearing at her tubes, ripping them off, and hitting the nurses when they try and help. Our caregivers take turns being with her, and every night, they report the same thing. She becomes obsessed with the idea of leaving the hospital, and can’t stand that she feels trapped.
She began her silent scream when she realized she was going to have to spend another night hooked up to the tubes of antibiotics and liquid food. I tried my best to console her, to hold her hand and tell her to relax and accept that it does no good to try and fight the doctors. It doesn’t help to have my dad, yelling at me to stop her and that I can’t leave until I calm her down, and then complaining that “this hospital doesn’t know what they’re doing!”
I know my boundaries. I know I can try my best to calm her, but that it’s not up to me to make her better. I can let her know how much we love her, but I won’t be able to stop her silent scream. I know it’s not good for me to have my dad yelling at me to do something to stop her despair. She’s allowed to be in despair if she so chooses. I would be too if someone were to tell me I can’t drink water and eat food ever again. I feel her pain, but I’m not going to let her pain drive me crazy.
I choose not to feel guilty when I can’t make things better. I’ll talk to her about her choices today when she’s had time to think about it, and when things have settled down. Bless her heart.
I gave them my hugs, and love, and made my way home. It felt so good to walk under the light of the nearly full moon, watching little Danny wag his tail as he sniffed the flowers along the way.