Monday, May 10, 2010


I'm coming off of a very long, rollercoaster weekend. Nobody currently knows what to think or feel or do.

I have to get this out somewhere so I'm pretty much done beating around the bush in case friends of Dorothy's are reading this. If you are, I'm sorry for any surprises.

Dorothy had made the decision last week that she was going to turn her breathing machine off. This is the machine that has basically been breathing for her since late October and is really the only reason she is still alive. She had chosen Wednesday of this week for that to happen. She let her nurse and her counselor know who she wanted present when this happened. It seemed pretty definitive and plans were set in motion.

Heather contacted all the necessary people this weekend, including Dorothy's priest. The priest came on Sunday to talk with Dorothy and do communion and make sure they were all on the same page for this coming week. He said, to Dorothy, "I understand you've made the decision to discontinue your breathing machine in the next few days." Dorothy gave him a completely puzzled look, basically to the effect of, "What are you talking about? I never said that!"

After some conversation (read: impossible reading of Dorothy's handwriting) Dorothy conveyed that she is wanting to see her mom and her best friend again before turning off the machine. They live in Wyoming. They are 96 and 70-something. They were planning a trip out here at the beginning of June but then moved it to the end of May and now Vicky (the best friend) is saying she doesn't really know when it will be because she is having some health issues and appointments and they're waiting for snow to melt, yadda yadda yadda. I have really mixed feelings about this whole thing because, first of all, Vicky is a flake. And second, Vicky was here at Christmas and Dorothy's mom was here at Easter. It has NOT been that long.

So NOW nobody knows what the heck is going on.

Interestingly enough, it has also been decided this morning (by the nurse and several caregivers in agreement) that Dorothy is having hallucinations. Her writing is making no sense at all (writing BVB and meaning DVD but being adamant that BVB is what she means), she is nodding off during writing, making very strange requests, being POSITIVE that she sees or hears certain things (like a mouse in her room), etc.

Heather has been here since Friday night and has just been on what she calls a fuck-train (and I would have to say that I agree) of emotions. She has been everything to Dorothy from her daughter to her caregiver to her executor to her counselor to her secretary... she can't BE anything else.

I'm not sure where I'm at right now. I took today off work just to try to sort through my own thoughts/feelings/whatever and also to be here as a support person for Heather if she needs me. Dorothy's nurse is here now and they just got done with giving her a shower and then I assume they will have some conversation about some things (though I think it would have been wise on Dorothy's part to skip the shower and use that energy for writing). The nurse is a very black-and-white person so hopefully something will be determined today, whether it's that she DOES want to turn the machine off or whether she wants to wait for her mom and Vicky to come out. And if that's the case, well, perhaps a phone call is in order to get them out here rather quickly.

As Heather said to me last night, "I feel like we've been teetering on the edge of a cliff for the past five months. But I'm not so sure we're teetering anymore, I feel like we've been pushed over the edge and got caught by a tree branch or a spiderweb or something." I agreed. And we're getting bashed up by all the rocks on the way down.

1 comment:

Diaria said...

I have no idea what to say in a situation like this, besides the obvious of I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Since it is Wednesday as I respond, whatever is going to happened, has already happened, so I hope that the stress of the whole thing is over for you, one way or the other. Let me know if you need anything, I will do what I can.