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Friday, February 25, 2011

Dress Rehearsal

At 6:01 this morning, I awakened without an alarm knowing I needed to get up. Less than one minuete later, my cell phone rang. It was the hospice nurse. She said she had been with Daddy all night and his respiration had begun to change. I said, I'm on my way."  I woke Jeff, gave him instructions about getting the kids to school, threw on some clothes, and headed over to The Lantern. My sisters were on their way. Daddy's breath came slowly but regularly as first Cindy and then Sharon arrived. His face looked flushed and he felt warm. One of the signs of impending death can be a fever. His blood pressure was 90/64.  We stood around Dad telling him we loved him, stroking his hair, or hands. Then slowly his breathing seemed to return to normal. His body is refusing to give up even though he hasn't opened his eyes in days. After a few hours, he stabilized and his blood pressure began rising. The bad thing about that is he is on crisis care right now with hospice which means they are there 20 hours a day. If he improves then they will back off and we will need to either sit with dad or have a sitter there so we will know when the end approaches. One of my sisters suggested that Mom had petitioned God to bring Dad on up since she was there already. I am afraid we may have many dry runs before Dad finally gives up this world.

The rest of my day was spent at Mom's apartment trying to clean it out. The place isn't that large and yet the process seems to be taking forever. There are pots and pans all over the kitchen cabinet. Clothes are bagged and ready to go the the Samaritan Center all over her bedroom. Papers, magazines, get well cards, and financial papers litter the tabletops and floors. We three sisters have divided and chosen and picked over possessions that have been in our family for years. It has to be done and yet feels so wrong. Jeff and I have been talking about whether to return to Knoxville. The idea of packing and moving again so soon makes me want to cry. Then again, as my sister-in-law said, it isn't taking much to make that happen these days. I am so tired. I hope I can sleep tonight.

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