I think my mother is dying…

…and I am so stressed out about it, at this very moment, that I cannot think straight. Not so much that her life could be coming to an end…with the onset of Parkinson’s a decade ago, I have long felt that she began a long, slow, lingering death when she collapsed for the first time, back in Grandma’s place, breaking a pane of door glass and cutting herself as she fell.

That event made Grandma serve notice that she was just too OLD too deal with this anymore, because in point of fact, the signs of something were already writ on the wall.

Upshot? Mom moved into her place again, I kept her out of a nursing home, she received 24-hour care from the city. And I was taking care of her business and other affairs. I got a Power of Attorney and became her Medical Proxy. I signed a DNR order for her, should it ever become necessary.

Here we are ten years later. Grandma is 3 years gone, and my mother could not be told immediately, not until after the burial, when it fell to me to let her know. I watched her as she lay on her bed in her dim bedroom with the blinds pulled down, virtually unable to speak by now, and saw her face turn into a mask of misery and grief as I told her that her mother had passed on, would no longer be coming over to stay with her on the weekends.

Now the pull of my own family became steadily stronger, with the problems surrounding Michael’s birth, as well as grad school and work, and I began to see my Mom only twice a month or so. It was no longer possible for her to get out of bed unassisted, or even to speak or dress herself, change her own position in her bed.

Martha Vega, my mother’s late home health aide, was stolen from us by an unknown killer back in October of 2007. Another person who loved my mother, taken from her.

My mother is forgotten, ignored, dead to what remains of my family. Nobody contacts her, asks after her, checks to see how she is doing. When a cousin gave birth to a baby some time back, no one contacted my mother to let her know, or to visit, or to see how she was. All I hear from the few relatives I still hear from are excuses and alibis.

Now here I am in the Research Library at 42nd Street, and my phone has been going off incessantly. She is beginning to fade. The nurse from the VNS hospice program has advised me that Mom will be receiving morphine beginning tonight, and that a nurse will be sent over to stay with her overnight, and that she will come back tomorrow to see how she is doing.

I can’t help it — I feel angry and frustrated, and am writing this in an attempt to get my head back together. I have work to do, work that cannot wait, that needs to be done if I am to graduate on time and keep my job, and my mom is dying at the same time.



~ by Rob Parrilla on April 21, 2008.

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