May 20, 2012

Dotty Still With Us, 9 AM, Sunday, A Difficult Night for Sure

I woke up around 1 AM and distinctly heard a change in Dotty's breathing.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

On Death and Dying
Dotty is still with us. Things have taken a turn for the worse. She is comfortable right now, but is more disoriented than ever before.

Oddly, I was able to sleep more last night than any other night, but right now I am feeling tired. A different kind of tired. Not physical, more mental. I definitely used a lot of cognitive energy last night.

Here is the background and scenario.

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I woke up around 1 AM and distinctly heard a change in Dotty's breathing. She was making a rattling sound, or old style coffee percolator sound. The right side of her mouth was bent down, and her tongue, while not sticking out, was balled up in the front of her mouth. Her jaw did not look like it had dropped.

I was both surprised and not surprised. Dotty's pulse was around 38.

I decided to call the Hospice for a nurse.

Once I did that, I started gently brushing water on Dotty's lips and the tongue when I could get it. I used these tiny little sponges on a stick they gave me.

After a bit, Dotty's lips, mouth, and tongue returned to the normal position. Her lips were not dried out after I worked on them.  Her lips were not purple.

Next I looked at Dotty's toe and finger nails. They looked okay to me.

I sat down in a position next to the bed where Dotty could look right at me. I held her hand and put my other hand on her face. Soon her breathing got into a pattern. Labored for sure. And, she seemed to be breathing not labored but very low at times.

I continued to add some water to her lips with the sponge.

I put my cheek on her cheek and gave her permission to go.  I whispered very gently in her ear.

I don't think Dotty needs permission, and I don't think she is holding on. So far, I think in her own way, and she has been saying it for years, that Dotty believes she is a "healthy old broad". I came to understand what this means in Alzheimer's World (Dotty's World) over the years.

I noticed when I put the back of my hand on her cheek, and held her hand, she seemed to be calming and if I can use this word, normalizing a bit.

Dotty did hold my hand from time to time. I mean we were both holding.

I continued to talk to Dotty the entire time.

By the time the nurse arrived Dotty was stable.

We gave her the morphine and she became more stable. She seemed to relax after a while.

Dotty is not agitated, but she is in a bit of distress. That is the best way I can describe it.

The nurse suggested a dose of Ativan (Lorazepam). I said no at this time. Right now, Dotty is not evidencing acute anxiety or anxiety that does not respond to other measures.

If fact, Dotty seems to be responding well to a non FDA approved drug called Bobby. Basically touch, the reassurance that I am here with her, and communication. As long as this works, this is our drug of choice.

Let me make this clear. This is not about me. It is about Dotty. Dotty does not fear death and neither do I.

I see death as a bridge. A bridge from this life to the next life. I am helping Dotty go over the bridge. To the degree possible I want her to pass over the bridge fully in tact. I don't want to send her over in a state of gaga.

Dotty responded to my touch, and when I whispered to her last night. She did hug my hand with her hand. A couple of times she stuck her hand out so I could hug it with mine.

I did not feel crazy, nutty, or completely out of sorts at any point last night. I started preparing for this moment more than 20 years ago when I started to read about death and care of the soul.

I have strong beliefs about death and I will write about them here after Dotty passes over the bridge to the next life. Into the light.

Thanks to all of you for the tremendous support and prayers. Dotty and I both appreciate this very much.

Thanks to Hospice by the Sea, and of those from the Hospice that are supporting us.

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Bob DeMarco is the Founder of the Alzheimer's Reading Room and an Alzheimer's caregiver. The blog contains more than 3,511 articles with more than 297,100 links on the Internet. Bob lives in Delray Beach, FL.

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room