Her body misbehaved and flung clots. Some lodged in the brain and messed up motor and sensory, a little bit of cognitive, all of which she’ll probably bounce back from. One lodged in her right calf muscle and they had to make two parallel slices and weren’t at all sure she could keep the limb, although eventually they detected enough pulse in the foot that they stopped threatening to remove it. Unfortunately the remaining clot blocked the femoral artery in the other leg and a good chunk of that leg turned into the equiv of raw pot roast, and they had to take it off at the knee.
She’s in the same state of mind I think I’d be in if it were me. Except that she’s 82 and has some other impairments and more amassed legitimate reason to consider calling it quits.
I’m alternating nights with my dad, so we never have to leave her unattended (my sister was doing this before I got down here, she has mandatory training this week; she’s done and will in the future continue to do more of this than I do but this is my week to be useful).
She says if this is how it is, she should have died, doesn’t want to stay alive. On the other hand, we can’t exactly smother her with a pillow, nor does the hospital bring a form each morning with a blank to check “No, let me die” as an option. So in hopes of getting the fuck out of there so she can go home and die, she’s demanded PT and told them when they appeared “Help me transfer to that chair”. PT: “… oh really? Already? Uhhh… hold on we need to get some equipment”. They brought in a “Sara Stable” device with an overhead bar to grab hold of with your hands and thigh pads to lean your thigh(s) against, and wrapped sheets around her butt and flung her upright and she was standing. Briefly. Did I mention that her remaining leg has a pair of deep incisions in the calf muscle where they cut out clots? One of them began to rip open, flinging staples. Next time, Ace bandage around that calf. She’s discouraged a bit. Hates the damn tubes and wires: oxygen, multiple IVs directly to heart from clavicle area, foley catheter, multiple cardio electrodes, finger attachment-thingie that reads her O2 levels, etc.
She has cognitive impairments that lead her to send me down for orange juice and when I come up with it she doesn’t want to drink it all: “Save the rest for the foot. Use the orange juice to unscrew my foot so we can get out of here”.
It’s hard when she’s not coherent. It’s hard when she is. There’s so little that I can do. I think maybe I’m the only family member authenticating how she feels when she feels like she’d rather be dead. You would in her situation. I would. Anyone would. Not all the time, but some of the time. And also mourning. It’s a horrible loss. All this optimistic bouncy cheerful “you’ll be back in no time, good prosthesis, you won’t let this stop you” stuff has got to be exhausting. In her case, if anyone’s, it’s probably accurate, but fuck. Everyone needs some time to cry about what they’ve lost.
Including me. Not that I’ve lost her yet. But the event really underlines for me that they day will come, it’s just a matter of when, unless for some reason I predecease her. Do not like. I don’t like to see her like this. Don’t like to contemplate all that she’s lost. Don’t want her alive and suffering miserably. Don’t want her to not be in my life.
I was packing up stuff for her to take to rehab in case they transfer her tomorrow. She has a jewelry box on her dresser I remember from when I was 6 or 7 or so. It was also a music box, you could wind it up and it would play a Japanese melody. We were forbidden to play with it as kids but she’d wind it up for us now and then and let us listen as a special treat. Yeah of course I tried winding it up. It doesn’t work any more, probably hasn’t done so in decades. But it was her from when I was seven, you know? And doesn’t play any more. Hit me hard. Finally crying.
Better crying than numb and moving from task to task.