Thursday, October 25, 2012
Time Marches On
Yes, I'm happy to say she is! And when I say "with us", I mean with "us". We almost lost her, not to Heaven, but from the house. Much more of our time is given to her care, but we have it down to a science, thanks to the critical organized thinking abilities of Sister St. Aloysius.
I never talked about our adventure here on the blog, because I felt it would just be upsetting, and upsetting people with our personal lives (besides sharing our yearly struggles with Halloween, etc. for your amusement) is not our goal. Our goal was to point out that the lives of religious are not all that different from yours. We just have the added onus to try and get everyone's souls into Heaven. You have that job, too, but our version is on steroids, as they say.
In any case, a while back, Sister Mary Fiacre had a heart attack. It wasn't a massive heart attack and because of her advanced age, there was really nothing to be done for her, healthwise. But then, near the end of her hospital stay, "they" started asking us where she was going to go.
"Why, back home...", we said.
"No, she has to be in a nursing home. You won't be able care for her yourself."
Now, I will admit to you that I was very worried about taking her home. I had spent over a week witnessing all that had to be done for her, including turning her every two hours, day and night. It was daunting. But a nursing home had not occurred to me. Before I thought about it, I said,
"Of course we can care for her at home."
I don't know why I said that.
My response caused a meeting with the hospital staff and social workers. It was very grim and stern. The tone of the meeting was that these people would sit us down and explain to us, in no uncertain terms, that we didn't know what we were talking about and we were in over our heads. What was our plan?
I didn't have a plan. I just couldn't face dumping her off. There is no place she could go that is close by. There is a nursing home that takes old nuns down the coast. But is is waaaayyyy down the coast. We wouldn't be able to see her for days at a time and I couldn't picture her, in her condition, in this strange new world full of unfamiliar faces.
Sister Mary Fiacre is all about the familiar.
I was just about to have to sit there and flap my jaw up and down with no sound coming out when Sister St. Aloysius pulled a folder out of nowhere. I had not noticed that she had a folder.
Boy, did she have a folder. She had covered every detail, from where to get a hospital bed, to swing people to cover any time either of us would be unavailable. She had a nutritional program and had figured out how we could get Sister Mary Fiacre out of bed and into her wheelchair using the slide board (just like there is a patron saint for everything, it turns out there are tool for everything, too!) and how much time she should spend in and out of bed and even outdoors for some sunshine generated vitamin D.
And here we are. It is labor intensive, but it's happy labor. And Sister Mary Fiacre is actually thriving, in her own declining sort of way. We have what you would call a "new normal". I was certain she was on her way out, because she wasn't eating much of anything in the hospital. They pretty much told us she had maybe six weeks.
Several months ago. Her appetite returned, not to its former robustness, but to a new normal that includes three squares and a snack. She always did have a sweet tooth.