Cookie started out the day as usual: bright-eyed, alert and cheerful. I treasure the smile of recognition she gives me every morning when I first walk into her room. But this morning was different; she wanted to talk. She said that she thought she would being “going soon.” I asked if she meant today and she said yes.
I’m not sure what to make of it. It is 11:00 p.m. as I write this and today has been similar to other days this week. Her O2 levels are down a bit from what they had been for several days, but not significantly. She has been comfortable. For the first time in awhile she stated directly that she was hungry. She managed to drink water out of a small tumbler by herself without spilling much. But still she feels that she is very close to the end.
I managed to create a bit of drama this evening. When the humidifier on the oxygen concentrator was low on water I switched her to an oxygen tank so that I could refill the bottle. I then noticed that the regulator on the bottle went to 15 liters/minute so I gave her that for a few minutes while I took care of the concentrator. Afterwards when she was back on the concentrator, I checked her blood O2 level. It had jumped up to 86-87 from the 78-79. But the concentrator only goes to 10 liters/minute, so I decided to call hospice to see if there was anyway to provide more oxygen, realizing any relief it provided would be temporary. After calling Dr. Wiens, a hospice nurse arrived with the options of a mask or an oxymizer, a sort of surge chamber for the cannula. Cookie nixed the mask immediately and the oxymizer didn’t seem to have any effect due to Cookie’s mouth breathing. Meanwhile Cookie’s O2 levels fell into the lower 70s. In the end we have switched to using the original cannula in the mouth and her O2 levels are back up to 80.
Pray that we can remain calm when things seem to be going downhill. That Cookie would continue to be comfortable and pain-free.