Yet Another Journal

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» Friday, July 22, 2005
Empty (Warning: Reality Check)
It's finally come back to bite me.

We waited for the nurse to come over this morning to do the paperwork and call the funeral home. She walked in the bedroom and said, "Oh, my goodness, she's so small I almost didn't see her." She did the paperwork and destroyed all the narcotics and made the call to Nardolillo's. Robert Nardolillo immediately called a embalming service here, and the two gentlemen came—in suits!—to fetch Mom's remains. The stretcher they brought probably weighed more than Mom did.

And so she was gone.

I had taken the fleece and afghan Mom was using as blankets right downstairs and soaked them in the washer because they smelled rank. She hadn't had a chance to wash since her decline on Sunday and I was quite aware being in the room all that time that she wasn't clean, a fact that would have embarrassed her had she been conscious. I had already decided to throw out the three bedpillows, but there were also two chenille sofa pillows being used as support that I thought could be salvaged, and the comforter could be washed or even dry cleaned (she was lying on top of the comforter rather than under it because we wanted to allow her to sit up when she wanted).

In hindsight, we should have gotten the hospital bed, but by the time I thought to ask for it, she was unable to be moved without screaming in pain.

I know certain bodily functions happen at time of death, but had never experienced them. I know now. James had bought a plastic cover for the futon mattress itself and the egg-crate pad over it. It didn't help. We had to trash everything because it was so badly soiled: the pretty pale yellow and powder blue striped comforter Ann and Clay gave us as a wedding present, the blue and white goose sheets, the mattress pad, all five pillows. Poor James started to walk into the room and had to retreat the first few times, almost throwing up. The smell had also gone through the plastic sheeting and we tossed out the egg-crate foam as well. The futon mattress seems to have escaped, we hope. But the odor seems stuck in my nose.

Once the hospice folks came by to collect the potty chair she had never used, we were free. We went out, nothing to keep us home. We went to Barnes & Noble, then stopped at Cold Stone Creamery. My stomach was so upset I couldn't tolerate the thought of cooked food. The ice cream is good, but nothing spectacular. We stopped at Border's so James could get a book. We got some air freshener (a gel that is supposed to absorb strong odor like cat urine) at Lowe's, because even with everything out of the spare room and disposed of elsewhere, it still was overwhelming. Then we got Ortho and a big bag of baking soda at BJ's and came home. We had already treated the futon mattress and the carpet with the pee-be-gone stuff and now I scattered baking soda all over the room and set the air freshener in the middle of the room. And it will stay like that till we get home.

Then we both took a jug of Ortho and went out to treat the doors and windows and foundation of the house. The "feels like" temperature was 99°F.

We had showers, and I then spent about an hour arguing with Kaiser about giving me a refill on my Atenolol. There were no refills on my prescription and I had never been given a new appointment for a checkup. I only have fifteen left and that was too little for me. At this point James, whose International Plastic Modelers Society group were having their national convention this week, went back to the show for a few hours and I took my car, which had its oil changed and was trip-vetted this morning, dropped off my library books, went to BJs to tank up, and then stopped at WalMart for three things for the trip.

James stopped by Kaiser on his way home and got the pills. When he got home my body had given out. I had stomach cramps and diarrhea, and was suddenly woozy. So instead of going out we had supper in. The soup was good, but it's given me roaring indigestion and I am so sick I could throw up.

Cleaning the room was the worst physical part, but now I'm feeling the psychological effects. I am empty. There is no one to run upstairs to care for, or no one to call on the phone. The house that in March was just right for the four of us now seems too big without there being five of us.

Hells bells, I'm knackered...