Monday, October 08, 2007

Dying of Immobility

This past summer, I assumed my mom would die of a massive stroke. Clearly, however, her blood-to-brain troubles are of the small vessel variety, and no one directly dies of from the death of a few neurons here and a few neurons there.

Her demise, it seems, will be the consequence of her increasing inability to move. Our bodies were built for movement, and the little fidgets, the yawns, the coughs, the throat clearings, the up from the chair and down again even if only to get the last piece of cake from the kitchen are necessary to the healthy functioning of our body. Okay, maybe not the cake, but certainly the effort spent to get it.

I'm not sure what took out those little adjustments in my mom's daily life--weakness, pain, the little strokes--but she doesn't even shift her weight in her chair anymore. As a result, she's got several 'hot spots' where the skin is red and inflamed, ready to break down into bedsores and chairsores. She increasingly chokes a little on her food, and her cough is weak and ineffective. She is now susceptible to pneumonia, a UTI, skin infections, and blood clots.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.
T.S. Eliot


Ruth said...

So well said! I spend my days trying to encourage movement from people like your mother. How important to try to protect those little arteries and neurons.

girlfriday said...

I understand. My mom beginning to come to terms with her own declining health . Some similar events .
May they both feel all the love.

Mauigirl said...

Good point...I hadn't thought of that, but of course my father was totally immobile in the nursing home after he broke his leg. No wonder he went downhill so much more rapidly after that.