Dying Alone in the Time of CoVid-19

This blog was going to address the question of what we were doing with our time,  but it’s a matter I’ve seen dealt with in other blogs and even though I only got around to writing the first two paragraphs, when I got back to it, I realized a more important event that some of us may not have thought of is taking place.

My first line was:  What are we doing with our time?  Better yet, what am I doing with my time?

At first I played games and binge watched shows, but to be honest, I was watching things I wouldn’t normally watch, so I stopped. I quit watching doomsday or apocalyptic shows, like TWD and started looking for films that were upbeat. There really isn’t much out there and I don’t get Hallmark.  I think that was when I wrote instead,  “Wishing for a Musical”.

Actually, what I was doing is stewing a lot about my sister in Critical Care and/or ICU, because they, the doctors, kept bouncing her back and forth between the two places. I hated too, that while she was there the past two months, she couldn’t possibly get better because there were NO VISITORS allowed!   I got to thinking about so many others out there like her.  Families like ours.  So I started doing “busy” things.

Sure, I refinished some furniture until three weeks ago when my C5-C6 rebelled and put me in the ER. It was like a charlie horse in my back that wouldn’t go away.  Hubby and I first tried to work it out like you would a charlie horse and it got worse.  So the paramedics came and off I went.

There I was sitting in a wheelchair unable to move, all alone and my previous musings slapped me in the face multiple times until it got my attention.  I looked around at the people I didn’t know, like 4 or 5 of us spaced out in the room, but no family members by our side. One lady decided she didn’t like it or where she was, so she got up from her wheelchair and moved over by me.  I was in so much pain, I could neither stand nor sit without help. Between clenched teeth I hissed,  “No!  You’re too close, go away!” , but she didn’t listen and kept moving in even closer. I was in too much pain to roll away.  I felt helpless. Thankfully, a nurse rescued me and took me away, just as the woman settled in the closest seat to me! I guess I looked like a friendly face despite my hissing.  Some things, I guess you can’t hide.

I didn’t cry but I felt like throwing up, my Bp went up to 249/111 and I could hardly breathe and I waited.  They did scans and ran tests and I waited.  My four  hours felt like an eternity and I waited. That whole time I couldn’t even take a selfie to document my misery! Finally, I was heavily dosed and we called hubby to pick me up.  I was so sedated, I could not focus.  I was the equivalent of an inebriated drunk in pain.  The pills they gave me made my mouth feel so dry and nasty. I won’t tell you all the other things these pills made my body do or not do.  I did have time to think though.

You see, when I worry, I keep busy so I don’t have time to think about it, whatever it happens to be.  If you’re a blogger I follow, I probably hit “like” delete and no comment, or I pretended I’d read it or I read it and didn’t comment because I just didn’t have the energy to do anything else. Forgive me. By the end of the second week they lifted part of the ban, hubby asked if could walk. I was feeling like a walk.  It didn’t hurt to walk anymore, but as you noticed, I still didn’t have the energy to write about our hike until yesterday.

BACK TO THE PATIENTS

Think about all these non Covid-19 patients in hospitals all around the world not getting to see or hear their loved ones voices or feel a touch or a hug from them.  It was no wonder my sister began declining. We are all very close, but if there was a chance for her mind to come back it went with the lockdown.  The question at the top of my mind, “Was there ever a cognisant moment where she wondered where we’d gone?” I wondered and felt an overwhelming sadness.

Finally, this week, the doctor told my nephews that he did not believe she would recover.   Her brain has apparently atrophied.  Of course, if it isn’t being used or recognizing familiar sounds or voices around her… where was her motivation? When she spoke last, I was asking her and telling her about things she was familiar with, so I could get a yes, and finally, an “okay” when I told her “I have to leave, but you get better, so you can visit me in California”.  It gave her mind something to work on.

It made me sad this past week reflecting on not only her situation, but that of others during this pandemic.  She’s not the only one alone right now and my nephews are also not the only ones prevented from being near their loved ones when they need it most.

In November, my cousin, who had Parkinson’s, but because of her weak state, caught pneumonia, was hospitalized.  There, in the months that followed,  she had a series of three strokes, the last one being the most debilitating.  Her family was not allowed to see her because of quarantine.  Hispanic families are very much about family, so not liking the situation, they fought to bring her home.  She, unlike my sister was somewhat aware and once home they said their goodbyes and I love you’s.  Within 24 hours or so she passed.  I know that was how she would have wanted it.  Her siblings never made it in time, but her children, grandchildren and husband of 50+ years were all there. She was 4 months older than my sister.

I’m sure there are other stories like these.  We are living in an unprecedented time, no doubt.  I realize hospitals have to be extra careful, but in my heart I cry for all these folks who can’t be with loved ones.  Some of these patients may not consciously understand why their loved ones aren’t there.  There may even be confusion and concern. It’s an impossible situation.

After the conversation with the doctor, her boys had to decide.  Do we keep doing what we’re doing and not get to see her and her not improving and possibly dying alone or do we put her under hospice care, where at least we can be with her?  On the remote possibility something turns around, where her mind can possibly absorb the sounds of their voices, they opted for the latter.  Sure, they know it may not happen, but then who knows?  There is always the off chance of a miracle.  What if something penetrates and she realizes she’s not alone?  WHAT IF?

In the meantime, she has a room with a beautiful view and she is getting soft massage like music played in her room. (She was a massage therapist) It is peaceful. But, the best part is her family can visit.

The view from her room and she and I, after a bike ride, a few years back.  She’s the tall pretty one.

 

IS IT POSSIBLE?

I know each hospital room has a TV and they are almost always on.  Has anyone thought to video family members talking to them and perhaps cycling positive messages and images from loved ones to these patients?  Many of these patients, even those not totally aware may be staring at or hearing the noise of a horrible TV with depressing news cycling all day long with information, that for the moment may not apply to them or it’s playing some stupid show they’ve seen a hundred times already.  How much better would it be to hear the sound or possibly the face or faces of  loved ones on the screen instead? Or, perhaps a family video of a special moment.  I would think that could aid their recovery.

Maybe someone out there has thought of doing this or maybe not. I don’t have the skill to run with this, though I wish I did.

In the meantime, if you’re with me on this, send all the good vibrations, prayers and love you can muster in all directions on behalf of all these special people.

Just sayin’

The Blogger Tag

I was tagged by the lovely Tanya for this blogger tag. I’ve not done a blogger tag before, so I’m not quite sure how this works.  I’m guessing I will use the same questions my blogger friend replied to.  I am flattered at having received this and compelled to respond to it for so many reasons. The most important being that I think it’s absolutely amazing that through blogging, people of all backgrounds from all over the world, and in various stages of their life can share information, perspectives and encourage one another from so many different vantage points.  For example I am several generations senior to sweet Tanya who is still in high school and yet we’ve made a connection.  That, in of itself, is phenomenal!  So here goes.

Question 1: How tall are you?

I am short. I am somewhere between a 5’2 and 5’3, but I think I’ve shrunken some. It comes with age, you know. And no you can’t take my height as 5’2!  As Tanya wrote, “The tiny difference is important. (short people will understand).” She’s right, we count every cm or micro-inch we can.

Question 2: Do you have a hidden talent?

Hmmmm. If it’s hidden, how would I know about it? I’m inclined to think not. I’m what you may call, “A jack of all trades, master of none”. Since I have friends from all over, that just means I can do almost anything (or try to) but I’m not magnificent in any of it.

Question 3: What’s your biggest blog-related pet peeve?

Rants.  Not much else.  I can’t stand blogs that go on and on about the same thing, like they’re beating a dead horse. My feeling is “get over it”.  Sharing what you learn from a bad turn of events is different, sharing to help someone else is also different, but belly aching about the same thing over and over and over again and getting nowhere is an exercise in futility and beneficial to no one. I like cheery blogs. Entertain and teach me something new. I’m too old to be feeding on negativity.

Question 4: What’s your biggest non-related blog pet peeve?

People who expect me to believe and respect their opinion or way of thinking without giving consideration to mine. I may come around to your way of thinking but don’t force or tell me I have to believe as you do. The street runs both ways.

Question 5: What’s your favorite song?

I don’t think I have a favorite song. The theme from To Kill a Mockingbird still sends chills up my spine and I like Monday, Monday by the Mama’s and Papa’s. It reminds me of Badfish, and “Little Surfer Girl” by the Beachboys remind me of ditching school to go surfing. (I didn’t surf, but my boyfriend did and I’d write all the excuse letters for him and his friends to go to the “dentist”, so I was the surfer girl).

Question 6: What’s your favorite social media website?

Twitter, Instagram & LinkedIn. I get to meet so many like-minded people there.

Question 7: What’s your favorite way to spend your time when you’re alone?

I’m alone most all the time. (Not Kidding) I read, write, bask in quiet solitude, play cognitive games to challenge my brain, (mother had Alzheimer’s so that worries me some) or watch movies and shows to relax me and learn.  At least that’s what I tell myself.

Question 8: Whats your favorite junk food?

Ice creams with chocolate, fruit and nuts and Lays Potato Chips. Unfortunately, I puff up like a balloon (salty Lays) or go into a deep frump (sugar downer) when I have them, so I dodge them like a bullet.

Question 9: Do you have a pet or pet(s)? If so, what kind and what are their names?

I have two.  I have a Papillon named Ferguson around 7 years old, and a tabby cat, Chloe who is 14. We’ve known her since she was a kitten.

Question 10: What are your number one favorite non-fiction and fiction books?

Non-fiction – As a kid, it was the entire encyclopedia Brittanica . Otherwise, If How To’s Were Enough, We Would All be Skinny, Rich and Happy by  Brian Klemmer.

Fiction. Wow! No number one book here.  I guess novels of fantasy adventure, historical and mystery genres.  I’ve read all works by Agatha Christie (at least I think I have). I love old works, stories written ages ago and found at yard sales and old book stores.

Question 11: What’s your favorite beauty product or tool?

I take very good care of my skin. My favorite “tool” is my hands. Cleansers and creams vary all the time as I rotate them out as I age. Some I make myself by combining product, but that’s how I stay looking young. Believe it or not, a blend of olive oil and coconut oil massaged in the creases works better than botox (not that I’ve ever used botox) to minimize wrinkles.

Question 12: When were you last embarrassed? What happened?

I keep embarrassing myself.  I have poor navigational skills and my husband never lets me forget the time we went on a hut trip (cross country skiing) in Aspen. We left our cabin to ski some slopes not far away and at the end of the day, I offered to lead the way back…   as I confidently headed in the wrong direction, the rest of the group just stood there staring at me and laughed. Actually, I don’t know who was more embarrassed, me or my husband. Needless to say they never asked me to lead again.

Question 13: If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life what would it be?

I have to pick one? I like water best.  I make my own juice (a combination of beets, carrot, celery, kale, ginger, apple or pineapple), but I only have that once first thing in the morning. Coffee or tea (maybe) later in the morning and wine (occasionally) in the evening. Coke or Sprite with popcorn at the movies. So of all those, any dry wine, (I’m not a sweet wine drinker).

Question 14: What’s your favorite movie?

To Kill A Mockingbird has always been my favorite, but I  was really affected lately by a new release called A Monster Calls. Trailers linked.

Question 15: What was your favorite lesson at school?

P.E.  Physical Education (I always liked sports) followed by English.

Question 16: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

I have always thought I’d like to live in Italy, though I’ve never been. If wishes grew on trees (like money does) I’d live out of my suitcase and be a wanderer and sample all (well most) countries. Some for longer periods than others.

Question 17: PC or Mac?

PC (and iPhone.)

Question 18: Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boy/girlfriend, spouse? 

Ummm Sorry. I gotta censor that one, but it was all good. (smile) Trust me. For those of you still young and have a belief that “it” may die, it doesn’t, I promise.

 

Question 19: Favorite celebrity?

Liam Neeson.  I have a big megga crush on him and as long as he keeps his politics to himself, he will remain on my “hot” list. Kurt Russell is my next “hottie” love.

Question 20: What blogger do you secretly want to be best friends with?

No one special friend, well maybe Badfish because we already know each other personally. I feel that my other blogger friends and I are already “besties” though we’ve not met and despite the fact that we may not agree on all subjects.  Our diversity is what makes them all special to me.

Question 21: Who is your biggest inspiration?

My family, my children. They cheer me on when I think I can’t and their confidence that I can do anything is what keeps me motivated.

Question 22: What is your favorite blog to read?

Oh, I have lots of favorites and not enough time to give them. I like Badfish‘s travelogues, Bunkarydo‘s humor, Nutsrok’s stories, fashion, cooking recipe, photography, inspiration, health, bodybuilding, poems, reviews, you name it.

Question 23: What is your favorite high street shop?

What’s a high street shop?

Question 24: Are you in education or do you work?

I  currently work at being retired and it gets lonesome some times, especially now that my husband has a day job. Before that we horsed around a lot and that was fun. We enjoy one another’s company and I miss that.

Question 25:  One thing you are proud of?

Family. I love my kids even though I sometimes question their choices as they take detours that surprise me. I love my hubby, who is my best friend.

I Tag –

Elizabeth

P.J. Lazos

BelleUnrah

gradmama2011

Chape

Alexis Rose

 

My most difficult past post to share is here. (You could say my last post or favorite post or whatever.)

My social media links are:-
Twitter : joliesattic || Instagram :  joliesattic || Facebook : joliesattic

And until next time…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA