she's failing, my miss ruby.
a month ago, i saw it on a weekly basis, then a daily basis, now.. it is hourly. she was able to use the walker, things change, and i have to fully support her body weight when i lift her, when i move her from bed to chair. sometimes, i have to wait for the aide to allow me to bathe her.. i can no longer get her into the shower alone. i have to change her at the chair, chit chatting with her to remove her concerns over me doing this for her. i remind her she taught me many things as i grew up, and this is the only way i can repay her. by caring for her. by doing. by being there.
she has full on night support when i'm not there for my 12 hours a day... hospice starts as soon as her doctor signs off--with luck, it will be monday.
i train each new aid, fighting to keep the two she likes there as often as i can, since she trusts them to bathe her and take care of her when i'm not around.. she's comfortable in their presence, and lets down her pride. she still prefers me, and i make sure she has all she wants--trimming roses to bring into her room, teasing her, buying handmade rose soap, fixing whatever food she thinks she might want to eat. friday, i made split pea soup for the first time in my life, and she almost finished a small bowl...and said it was good. i know she meant it, too.
we speak of death, her and i. we skirt around the fact it is near, we talk of funerals, and how she wants to be cremated and put in the same grave as her beloved... i tell her it has to be in writing, and we do just that, setting out the funeral.. she asked i make sure it is done, and, so that, too is put into place, filed with the lawyer, copies in file cabinets of three people.
we talk about her husband, her cat... she smiles that soft smile i have known since i was 14, clucking to her little pumpkin, worried who will care for her when all is said and done. i assure her i will, and not to worry... but, she does.
her niece is visiting this week. the same niece who told my mother, "we care for our own" and then put my miss ruby in a nursing home, looking for a vet who would put the cat down. she's not called nor checked in.. and is only coming out because the trip was paid for, and she wants to take inventory. when they put miss ruby in the home, after her husband died, when she was lost and grieving, this niece and her husband were arranging to have a mover clear the house out.
i made it quite clear she is there as a guest, and has no power. i made it clear miss ruby is to be treated with love and affection. i made it clear her funeral wishes would be adhered to, and no one would fuck with them.
her face never changed.
i don't get angry too often... i was angry with her, for what she'd done, what she'd said, how she'd treated this woman.
the aides know to call me if anything is out of order, anything is said that is wrong.. if anything happens.
i have to be away for three days... a good friend is having an operation in tulsa to remove cancerous lymph nodes. she called and asked me to come, the center will pay for the ticket. most importantly, she needs me, and i'll go.
i'll call every day, i'll check in with her nephew by marriage, who is a doll... i'll count the hours.
then, when i'm back home, i'll wait with her.
she won't die alone.