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December 29, 2005

Mom's Gone - Part Three

Tom McLaughlin

I have asked myself 100 times why I am doing this. After all, I could have shoved my two parents in an assisted living facility or nursing home about few miles down the road.

The first reason is that I can. I am a writer and have an in-home book business. I have a girlfriend who is experienced in the nursing field and is more than willing to take over the unpleasant chores. I guess the old Hippie saying "If you understand, no explanation is necessary; and if you don't, no explanation will suffice" is a rational. Also, a biggie one from the mountain called "Honor thy father and thy mother" is another reason.

Still nothing prepared me for this. Doctor's appointments, hospital visits, running to get prescriptions, paramedics, radiation, vomiting, oxygen machines, oxygen tanks, walkers, pills, suppositories, washing and washing bed linen, emptying bed pans and commodes, light sleeping to hear someone call in the night, diapers, Ensure, medical gloves, nebulizers, and on, and on.

Mom was a good patient. She thanked everyone who did anything for her. She never did complain except when the pain was too much.

The morning was beautiful and Mom and I had breakfast together. We joked about funeral services, she saying she wanted a nice quiet one and I insisting on a loud one similar to the black service in the James Bond movie where everyone sings and dances.

My girlfriend and I had a party to go to at 4 P.M. given by the newspaper I am currently writing for. She returned at 5 P.M. and gave Mom some dinner that she enjoyed. Then her breathing became labored.

She called me at the restaurant and I rushed home. Her breathing became worse and I gave her a "break through" of morphine in the cheek. We called the priest and the Hospice nurse.

Dad was in the other room asleep. I just held her hand and wiped her head with a wash cloth. First the priest came in and gave the last rites of the church.or the prayer for the sick. or whatever they call it.

From my responses to the prayers, he knew I had not been to Mass in a very long time. He asked me if Mom could hear anything. I didn't know. Nobody did.

The priest left and the nurse took over. She told me Mom would die later that night. She said she was leaving and asked me to call her when Mom expired. I asked her to stay a while longer.

The breathing became slower and slower and then stopped. All the time I was wiping her forehead and holding her hand. Then I said "I think this is it."

The nurse listened to the heart for about two minutes and said "yes." I crossed myself and recited the Lord's Prayer but got it all screwed up. I looked upwards and said "Lord you know what I mean."

To be continued..tomorrow!

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