Here I am - back in North Dakota. Yes, I drove again. It takes me longer each time, as I stop more often.
Mom is so frail. I was here at the end of June and I can see decline since then. The fluid in her legs build up until they start leaking out profusely, pulling the skin apart in the process. Once the pressure is off, they are fairly dry for a short while. Then the process begins again. She has a deep sore above her right heel and the skin on both legs is breaking down. I used to be so glad she enjoyed her ice cream every day, as that was a source for some calories. But she doesn't even want ice cream anymore. She eats barely enough to keep a bird alive. She told me she just has no appetite at all, her gums hurt when she tries to chew (I'm sure her gums have shrunken, leaving her teeth to be very ill-fitting), her eyes are no good, and today she mentioned that she is short of breath. She doesn't do puzzles anymore and she sleeps a lot during the day. It is almost like she is disappearing right before my eyes. Tomorrow I plan to meet with her nurse and on Tuesday morning I hope to meet with the hospice nurse. She is taking morphine from time to time for the pain that she is now experiencing in her legs.
I encourage you to send her short, large-font (18 or more) emails. She said there was one whole week she didn't get a single email. How about we all make an effort to send a bunch of emails while we can. Short emails are okay!
I plan to spend a lot of time with her over the next week. Much of that time is just sitting there with her. I'll give another update after I have a chance to speak with the nurses.