It has been three days since my mother has had anything to eat or drink. When I try to feed her, she clamps her mouth shut. Not only is that her choice, but from what I understand, people who are dying feel better not taking input.
The changes are gradual and yet apparent. I went in before seven this morning and met her MD, who said, "It won't be long." We discussed turning off the pacemaker, and the doctor delegated that duty to the hospice nurse, who showed up an hour or two later. She spent a good part of two hours chasing around to figure out how to get the pacemaker turned off/discontinued.
First, we started with the pacemaker company. They said they needed the serial number of the transmitter we used to check the pacemaker over the phone lines. Since we had discontinued the checks months ago, no one knew where the transmitter was. We finally found it in a closet near the nurse's station.
Then we didn't need that number, but Mom's patient number. When we gave them that number (keep in mind that she has three binders stuffed full with her patient records), they said we had to call the cardiologist. The nurse called the cardiologist, whose assistant said, "We don't keep any records before 2006, so I don't have her here." Okay, so what has been happening to the pacemaker checks we had sent from 2006 to 2008? The office had to send to Iron Mountain (imagine my mental image), which I guess is a document storage facility, for her records.
Oh, and when was that pacemaker inserted? Like we'd remember?
So we wait. Meanwhile, Mom declines a little more hour by hour. If the pacemaker is what is keeping her alive, then we'll have to wait until the records are retrieved and sent to the MD and then he reads them and gives us permission to turn off the pacemaker, which most likely just needs a magnet to discontinue its use.
However, Mom seems peaceful and is resting, so we can be patient.
But I do have magnets on my fridge...