IN MY OPINION
Books Read in 2008
COUSINS DAY - MARCH
14 March 2008
It was as if it hadn't been two months since our last Cousins Day, but it had.
We hadn't all been together since before Barb died. I didn't make it to Barb's funeral because I was in Santa Barbara at a baby shower and my mother didn't make it because she was home in bed with the flu.
So we have all been looking toward getting together again for what seems like a very. long. time. In a way it was partly our own private memorial service for Barb.
This was a very emotional cousins day, for all sorts of reasons, but before I go into it, I must point out that I took the above photo mid-hand (I probably lost that hand), but look who has the boob. That's my mother, in her normal place across the table from me. I just wanted it noted that when all of our games were over, she was left holding the boob.
Peach was actually the big winner. I don't remember how many games we played, but I think my mother won two, I won two, Kathy won one and Peach won all the rest.
It's so ugly when an old lady sneers, don't you think?
OK. Where was I, now? I think our blood-letting started with the story of Barb's final day. She had been in this Alzheimers facility for about 8 years or so and though the director admitted that they try not to get emotionally involved with the patients, Barb had been special and everybody loved her. So it was particularly horrible that her last day was the worst she's spent there. All because of one new nurse.
Barb was extremely uncomfortable and agitated. She had just been released from the hospital back to the facility on Hospice care, which means that she was just to be given some sort of morphine medication, enough to keep her comfortable until the end came.
What they didn't know was that this was a non-injection facility. Barb was long past being able to swallow anything, especially medication in pill form (and she was out of it and didn't understand anyway), and when Kathy looked in her mouth, she saw all sorts of pills, in various stages of disintegration because the nurse would just pop a pill in her mouth and leave.
When Kathy went to tell her that her mother was in pain and could not swallow, the nurse said that was not her problem. Kathy asked for a washcloth so she could wet it and get some moisture to Barb's mouth and the nurse told her that wasn't her job, though she was the only one on duty. Kathy finally got a latex glove and a glass of water and tried to remove the pills from her mother's mouth, but they began to fall apart in her hand, and Barb started sucking on her moistened finger, so she was at least able to get some medication into her.
But it wasn't enough, so they called their Hospice representative, who gave the nurse orders to increase the dosing schedule, so Barb could get up to speed with the medication she was supposed to have. She then told Kathy what she had just told the nurse. When the next dose did not arrive, Kathy went to the nurse's station and the nurse told her she had received no new orders and got angry because Kathy was bothering her. Barb was dying and this is the way you treat a dying woman who had been beloved by everyone in the facility.
Kathy's husband got the Hospice worker on the phone and had her repeat the instructions to the insensitive nurse, who only got angry. By this time another nurse had come on duty and Barb finally got the medication.
But I was appalled that someone in the health care field could be so callous of the feelings of a patient and of a family. There is going to be a meeting with the director and I sincerely hope this nurse gets her comeuppance, so she doesn't treat any other dying patient and/or the family like this.
Anyway, after we had rehashed Barb's death and her memorial service, there was the usual sharing of current stresses, and there are many of them. Lots of crying, lots of support, lots of love around that room. And don't forget laughter. Lots more laughter than crying. For some reason they thought it was odd when I gave the "boob" a breast exam. And I won't even talk about the effect of cabbage.
(But of course you know that what happens at cousins day stays at cousins day so I can't give specific details or they would have to kill me.)
Kathy made a fabulous chicken suisse enchilada and I made some pretty tasty peach margaritas. My mother prepared her usual gourmet breakfast in the morning and we had time for one more game before we left (Peach won...I repeat, isn't it ugly when an old woman sneers?).
Our next cousins day is toward the end of April, but in the meantime, Peach, Kathy and I are going to start doing Weight Watchers by conference call (if I can figure out how to make a conference call), and perhaps from time to time get together to do something like go for a walk or something like that, to continue the support that I think some of us need more than others of us right now.
Have I mentioned how much I love these women.
Except, of course, the one who sneers.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
This is entry #2909