I’m slowly learning that caring for a person in labor is similar to caring for a person in death. My stepmom has Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) and was transferred from the hospital to a hospice last week. When she’s struggling to breathe we remind her to take deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. We work hard to keep her comfortable – fluffing her pillows, getting the right amount of blankets or sheets on her when she’s too hot or too cold, and offering her water to drink. At the hospital we played some music and dimmed the lights to get her more comfortable. When I visit her I rub lotion on her legs and hands and give her a massage. This is pretty much exactly what I do when I’m volunteering as a doula!
We’re there to help her, but she’s not used to depending on people; she’s a super independent person and doesn’t like asking for help. I pretty much just fall into my doula routine when I visit her. I bring a “go bag” because you never know how long you’ll be there. I provide all of the comfort measures I would normally do for a laboring mom. The big difference is that at the end of all of this I won’t be welcoming a new person into the world, but letting one go.
It’s funny, caring for her is like caring for a one year old. Last night she ate chocolate truffle cake and the chocolate got everywhere, all over her face, hands, arms, legs, bed, and floor. Her appetite is insane. I have no idea what could be causing that. Being in a hospital bed for over a month would drive even the calmest person up the wall. My stepmom has always been on the anxious and fidgety side her whole life, and could never stay in one place at a time. I talked to the nurse, and she said keeping her focused is better than any drug they could prescribe to calm her anxiety. Something to keep her mind on or do while in bed would help. We will work on entertaining her as much as possible, like watch movies and play cards. I don’t think she knows how to crochet, but maybe I can buy a latch hook kit. Those seem easier.
We just have to keep reminding ourselves to take one day at a time.
Thanks for reading,