June 14, 2009

It’s been an odd transition to shift the focus of my mother’s care exclusively to comfort. The days of finding creative ways to increase her nutritional caloric intake, or helping her transition from the bed to her favorite chair are over. Now, we cannot do much more than keep her mouth moist, her skin fresh and try to help her to maintain a comfortable position and body temperature.

Mom’s labored breathing started to become a concern early this afternoon. Mom’s gasps for air soon became too frequent for us to bear and we placed a call to the hospice nurse just before dinnertime. The nurse’s recommendation was to increase the frequency of the morphine doses.  

For weeks now, we have been managing the pain with liquid morphine.

It’s been very effective, and with my mother’s consent, very easy to administer.

We are still providing her with morphine using the some mode of delivery (an eye dropper) as before. Though, the process is so much harder now without being able to communicate with my mom. Of course, the hospice team has provided us with guidelines and recommendations for administering the drug safely, and from a purely clinical perspective, the process is not complicated at all. But as my mother’s son – as a nurse’s son, it’s so odd to suddenly be making these decisions for her.  

At first mom was very conservative with the morphine. We would offer it whenever we could (according to the dosage guidelines), and given the option, mom would often refuse.

At this point, we cannot discuss the dosages with her, and comfort is the priority. By increasing the frequency of the morphine dosages, mom seems more relaxed, and her breathing has become less labored.

Alicia is taking care of the girls in Chowchilla tonight. Isaac is here at the house in Fresno. I cannot remember the last time all four of us slept under this roof.


3 Responses to “Comfort”

  1. Lydia Avina-Drayer Says:

    Chole has so many friends and loved ones praying for her but not all are able to visit. For those of you who haven’t, be at peace. She is in such peaceful surroundings and lovingly cared for. During our visit yesterday Chole was not able to respond to us. Still, her face was turned toward the patio doors, where she so often gazed in the past to enjoy Lee’s garden and the birds’ antics she took joy in. Howard Jr. had her favorite music playing softly and the room was scented with eucalyptus and mint, her favorite hand cream. My sisters and I, without prior planning, had each worn sparkling jewelry, in the hopes it would catch her eye as it always did in the past but Cholita’s gaze is beyond us now. I pray that her new vision is as brilliant as she so deserves.

  2. Linda Haymond Says:

    You are constantly in my thoughts. Your posts keep me informed and connected. I thank you for taking the time and having the ability to not only post facts but also share such tender and loving reflections.

  3. Liz Maury Says:

    I am incredibly grateful to you for your courage and love in keeping the blog going.

    With much love,


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