Two days after my request for hospice care, Lynne was vibrant, aware, & excited in Jennifer’s visit. (see below). I await a hospice nurse’s evaluation. In the meantime, my responsibility for Lynne’s care once again enmeshes me in doubts.
Jennifer’s story: (minor edits) Good visit with Lynne on 3/23. Got lots of laughs and responses. I arrived a few minutes after 3pm.
When I got off the elevator Lynne was in the same place I saw her last time. Bent over, standing with hands on her knees. I took my coat off, set my things down, got chairs in place and then I put my hand on her back as I leaned in close: “Hi Lynney, it’s me Jenny…”
She stood up, laughing, eyes open with a big smile on her face, “Hi!”
“I’ve come to rub your hands again. What do you think about that?”
With a smile she said, “Yes!” As she started to walk in the direction of the chairs with my guidance.
I got her situated in the chair sat down in front of her and said hello again. She smiled with her face down, towards her lap. As I began to massage her hands, I reminded her of how cold the lotion was last week, that it made her jump with surprise…to which she lifted her head, “Yes,” and laughed.
I talked to her about memories, the kids sledding, Christoph crashing into the fence after a sledding race, and needing to go on a snowy adventure to the ER. I named the kids who were there: “Gianni was there, remember little tiny G?”
And she looked at me immediately and responded with a sentence in her own language, but I’m sure she was concurring that she did, in fact, remember little G! I talked about her cowboy boots I always loved that she’d wear with her skirts. We sat in peaceful silence, while I rubbed her hands and legs.
Then I told her I brought a book to show her, a book she had given my kids that she loved and had in her classroom…immediately she smiled, “Can I see?”…!!!!
Clear as day!!! I put the book in her lap she looked at the cover for about 15 seconds while I read the title and explained the story line. Even though she had closed her eyes, I opened it and turned the pages and told her the story, not word for word, but the high points. I got to the part where Sam realized where Louis lived — Louis’ drawing had a clue — he loved running after the soccer ball! His own version of “playing” soccer.
She opened her eyes again and looked at the page with the boy’s drawing. She used to love that book and the boy who was different from the other kids.
I put the book away and went back to massaging and just holding her hands while playing some music from a “70’s Road trip” play list. Stevie Nicks, Billy Joel, Carole King…she seemed to hear and enjoy the music.
I leaned in close, down low with my forehead to her forehead, so I could see her eyes and face…”I love you Lynney! I love you Lynney! I love you Lynney!” She chuckled, smiled, looked at me without raising her head and said it back, not clear as day, but she definitely said I love you, through her smile.
I didn’t have a comb, but I asked if I could use my fingers to comb her hair and massage her scalp.
“Mmmm, hmmm!” A pleased look on her face – She liked it.
I told her I had to go. She heard me and made a sound of consent. I told her I’d be back next week to massage her hands and she said, “Yes.” I hugged her and rubbed her back and told her I loved her again. She stayed in the chair, seemed peaceful from outward appearances. Of course, it’s hard to know for sure, but I hope she was.