Today was an extremely long day. I picked Kensi up (she stayed with her cousin Roni last night) and headed back up to the Hospice center. We spent a little over seven hours their before I had to evict Kensington from the room. The nurses here have all fallen in love with her. We’ve set up a little play area in Mazha’s room, in the corner, with you laid out to keep her little tushie warm. Our routine has been to spend about 40 minutes in the room, and then wander the center for about 20 minutes. This place is amazing (minus the patients on their deathbeds). We’re in one of the patient wings where right next door is a small ‘family kitchen’. Down the hallway, they have a playroom for kids, movie theater, soda shop, chapel, conference room, library, solarium, and a quite room. We’ve been to all of these, and this is only our first day here.
About thirty minutes later, Regina showed up and asked to speak with me in the quite room. She said that while this center is a temporary place, they’d keep Mazha here as long as it’s needed. Their philosophy is to either help their patients pass peacefully, or to get them better to send them home. Knowing that we’re at the end stage, but not knowing how long that stage actually is, they will not release her if the family refuses to take her home because they can’t manage her care. Then Regina did what all social workers are charged to do… talked about the plans for the future, the families emotional state, and talked about the educational piece of Hospice and the stages of grieving. I sat there and listened, but I wasn’t paying attention. I zoned. She realized it and quickly changed the conversation to Kensi. I perked up. She said that I was now part of the 22 percent of the American population classified as the Sandwich Generation… meaning we’re dealing with parenting our own children and taking care of our parents at the same time. After some tears, we hugged it out and she walked me back to the room. Mazha asked what we were talking about and I told her we were discussing Medicare. Yes, I lied. I figured that if I’m going to hell, St. Peter has more volumes than the Encycloaedia Britannica on me and that this would not the reason for my eternal darkness.
Around 5:30, Kensington had enough of this place. I took her back to Simone’s and headed back to Hospice for a couple more hours. When I left, I grabbed you to take you home with me. To provide me more comfort. I know that in theory, you’re scrapped fabric but in reality, Lois, you help me. At the center, all I want to do is go through the motions can try to carry on… when deep inside, I just want to cry. I know that one day this experience will make sense, and I will learn from it. But for now, nothing is clear.
When I laid you out on the couch, the one that my mother had claimed for so many years, I noticed that you had strawberry ice-cream and macaroni and cheese stains from Kensington. I don’t have the heart to clean you… you’ll loose your smell. You’ll loose your touch. You just wouldn’t be the same.