Since she broke her arm almost seven weeks ago, my mother-in-law has been pretty much helpless. She has used a walker for the past few years, and she can't even do THAT with a broken arm. Forgive me if I'm repeating myself; I don't remember how much of this I've already blogged about.
Mother-in-law is pretty much trapped on her sofa. She can't stand up without someone there to help her, and she can't get in her bed. She has a portable potty chair in the living room, and one of us has to be there to help her use it. She has terrible bed sores from sitting in one place all the time. Thankfully her sofa reclines, so the last thing we do at night is "put Granny to bed," putting pillows under her legs and helping her recline the sofa so she can sleep.
She can't see the clock, so if she wakes up in the middle of the night and has to go to the bathroom, she calls us. I guess it wouldn't matter if she could see the clock anyway; if she's gotta go, she's gotta go. Thankfully she's only called in the middle of the night twice, once at 3:05 AM and this past Sunday at 3:30 AM (at least I got to "sleep in" after that).
Hubby and I went down there yesterday evening, and she was asleep. It was the first time that she has looked like an old lady to me. Her mouth was open, her jaw was slack, and we stood there for a moment to make sure her chest was moving. I had a horrible thought, which I shared with Hubby on our walk back home. I am the one who goes down there first thing every morning. (I let Hubby sleep, because I don't see the point in BOTH of us having to be up, even if it is his mother.) I have a horror of walking in her house one morning and finding her dead. I'm not sure how I would handle it.
I've never seen a dead person, other than in a casket, and I don't even handle THOSE very well. When my step-mother died and the family was viewing her in the casket, my father realized the funeral director hadn't put her earrings on her. The director brought the earrings to me and asked me to put them in her ears. I didn't want to refuse, with my father standing there, and I meant no disrespect to my step-mother, but I just don't do death very well. I think it may stem from the experience of touching my brother in his casket when I was only 11 years old. I asked for permission to touch him, but I wasn't prepared for the fact that he would be cold. It pretty much freaked me out.
My mother-in-law will be 82 years old next Friday, and she has overcome double pneumonia, two broken hips, multiple other broken bones, and a heart stent they inserted a few years ago. She's a tough old bird, but I realize the odds of her living to be 90 aren't very good. She appears to be going downhill, and she isn't any more able to stand on her own than she was seven weeks ago. She seems to think that once her arm is well, she will be able to get around on her own again. But her legs won't hold her up, and I don't think her arm is going to bear enough weight on her walker to give her any degree of mobility.
I just realized how shallow I sound. Here this woman is nearing the end of her life, and I'm worried about being the one to find her if she dies in her sleep. That would actually be better than my sister-in-law finding her, though, because I would have my suspicions for the rest of my life.
Sorry to be so morbid tonight. It's sad watching someone you love suffer. My mother-in-law has been good to me, and I hate to see her helpless and dependent on others.