October 25, 2007

Where I am today...

I'm tired, mostly due to two nights fighting sleep, working against the Xyrem and as a result getting under 6 hours bad sleep. Woke with a ferocious migraine, took a 50mg tablet of Imitrex, for lack of two or the 100mg one I usually take, then decided, fork it, I really need one of my precious injections. Luckily, the injector mechanism worked -- sometimes they do not and if I can't find one that does, I am out of luck -- and I lay down for a half hour to 45 minutes, hoping to get up migraine-free.

No such luck. It was clear that lying down made the headache worse in any event, so after several minutes, I got up and immediately noticed a difference: the pain subsided almost completely when I stood. Gingerly I tried sitting upright. If I didn't tilt my head forward, that too was painfree. Aaahh, a solution! At least until the headache relented and released its piercing grip on my left temple.

This afternoon, I drove across W---field to see Cy and Lynn, her sister Leila and, I hoped, Lynn's son Danny, who is in from Texas for a week. Danny was nowhere to be found, but I made a "date" to visit with him and Sherri, his wife, on Sunday. They are two delightful people I adore and wish I could see more often than twice a year.

But I wanted to update you on "Mom." It is hard for me to know what Lynn is like when I am not around. I hear tell that others find her sometimes difficult, with personality quirks she never had before and far less patience or tolerance for frustration. Everyone understands that this is not voluntary and that Lynn is not "herself." For one thing, she is torn this way and that by a dozen different medications she cannot NOT take, and lord knows what effect each one has on her mentally, let alone in combination. Oxycontin alone must do a number on her, and she is certainly dependent on that (and so what? She's at the end of her life, and if she is addicted to a prescribed narcotic, who is going to blame her? And why deprive her of it just to avoid addiction? The very thought is foolishness!).

It seems to me that she is newly jealous if I pay too much attention to others i.e. Leila and Danny, when I go over there, and do not attend sufficiently to her. I can see it in her eyes and even in her posture, and intuit it in her behavior, the way she sometimes says she is going to take a nap (but never quite gets there) when I have spent too much time on the computer with her sister. But that's okay, I realize that I have to make sure that when I visit, Lynn is the reason I go, and the focus of my visit, no matter who else is also there at the time. After all, Leila and Danny are sometime presences in my life (much as I love them), whereas Lynn has been there (here!) for me for more than 2o years. If nothing else, I owe her the loyalty of my attentiveness, especially now, when she has so few things to enjoy or look forward to. THe least she deserves is for her "third daughter" to pay attention to her!

Lynn's memory is awful these days. She tries to hide it behind rather skillful confabulations, so that when I refer to something she clearly doesn't remember, or perhaps could not possibly know, but doesn't know the difference, she responds so socially appropriately that it it's hard to fault her. Someone casually speaking with her might not realize that she has no idea what she or they are talking about. Sometimes she will say words to this effect, like, "My mind is so ---" well, I can't think of what she does say, but I've gotten the impression that she is well aware of her lack of understanding, and that it pains her. She seems so lost...I try to talk about things she can remember, and give her prompts so at least she can find something to say if I ask her a question. But it is scary how often she will ask me something twenty minutes after she has asked me the very same thing, or repeat telling me something she just told me an hour ago. This doesn't bother me per se, in that I simply listen and respond as if I have not heard it before. But it saddens me terribly. It seems like such a short time ago that Lynn was driving me to my doctor's appointments a hour away, and now to be reduced to this? But reduced to what? She has dignity. She has respect (from me at least). She is loved and taken care of. Is that something so awful about old age that we are to be taken care of again? Maybe that's what it is all about, the full circle, and maybe that is good. I don't know that Lynn is reduced or diminished by her physical and mental "decline" so to speak. Perhaps we need to see it merely as the way we....Oh dear, I cannot go on. I'm crying, because, well -- you know why. It's that same old same old. She wants to die, but...


We all -- I don't actually know who "we" are, so I will speak only for myself, though I believe that Leila has said as much to me and Lynn is surely much closer to her than she could ever be to me -- I know that Lynn is on her way out, and that that is probably true for Cy, as well. Which one will go first is really moot, because it seems clear that neither will live without the other for long. It has been, what, 60 years of true love, and one of the happiest marriages I've ever seen. Right up through this year, Cy has always spoken of Lynn as the "love of his life." And will no doubt do so till the end. If there were hard times, and naturally there had to be, no marriage is without them, the bond survived, perhaps even strengthened. I have never heard either say a nasty thing about the other, truly! Not the way my parents might, openly, to anyone who will listen. (Cy and Lynn also would not verbally put down their children, certainly not in public, much less make a habit and a virtue out of it).

But returning to Lynn, it is clear that she is not thriving, that she is unwell. She claimed to me that she weighs 100lbs, but that is impossible. Her legs are as thin as baseball bats (perhaps thinner, I don't even know if that is a good analogy) and just last week she fell getting up from her chair and broke her arm (no one knew it for 2 days, because the first x-ray wasn't good). Her arms themselves are like railings, and it feels like she has lost inches in every direction just in the five weeks I've been away. Leila said she weighs between 88 and 90 lbs when I last spoke with her about it, 2 weeks ago. But I can't believe she weighs even that much now, though they tell me she does consent to eat a little. I'd be SO happy to know she weighed even 95lbs, let alone 100, but I don't believe there's a chance, and even if there were, it wouldn't change things: she is on oxygen and still smoking and the projected trajectory, unless things change radically, is downward...

I don't want to finish this entry right now, because I am only giving facts, and that's not really the point of this blog. I cannot look her death in the face right now, and see no point in dealing with it before it happens, even if that would prepare me and reduce the potential shock to my system. I will not do so, I will not. It's one day at a time for me, I have to do it in terms of the environment, and all the other impending disasters, so I'm entitled to live in the moment in this matter too. Lynn is still alive and kicking, if weakly, and so I will be there to kick with her as long as she wants me to. Fork death. It comes for all of us, but why anticipate it when it comes eventually whether we look for it or not.

Tomorrow I see Joe for the second time since Brock Hill, and I will update you all about him then.

Posted by pamwagg at October 25, 2007 08:44 PM | TrackBack


Post a comment

Please enter this code to enable your comment -
Remember Me?