The living room was full of people when we got to Toni's house around noon today. A home health aide, a social worker, an old friend Rick, Dorothy, Laura, Mark, Toni and then us too. Toni was alert and talking and it was essentially fun, in a we're-all-waiting-for-you-to-die kind of way.
Then she slept for the rest of the day, not even waking for a visit from her accountant and his wife (good friends of Dorothy) or when Dennis and Ruth arrived. I don't think she even smelled the pizza we ate while we all hid in the kitchen.
Later, she woke up and we were trying to figure out what she wanted. She said she was in pain and wanted Tylenol. She's been afraid to take the morphine. I think it's so easy to associate morphine with stories of olden day suffering and addiction and side effects... it makes me think of Anna Karenina. Justin finally convinced her to have a small dose (which is what she can have) and gave it to her in liquid form with the little dropper. Unfortunately, beforehand, Mark and I were making jokes about passing it around to the rest of us--we were so stressed out from her earlier coughing/choking fit that we were cracking with pressure and fear. She said, "Tell them to shut up." I could read it on her lips before Justin figured it out, and he said, "She doesn't like the joking." I think maybe she didn't like the TV either. She doesn't like the noise anymore. She wants to talk to Mark and Justin and the family and that's it. We shouldn't have made fun of the drugs. But we're just so tired... and we have no idea how long this will continue.
Tonight, when we left, Justin said, "We're going to go home now, to Olaina's mom and dad's house, and sleep there. Then we'll come back and see you in the morning."
"I guess so," she said.
It took a while to explain that she wasn't going to be left alone, that it was just the two of us leaving (and Dennis and Ruth, our new house guests), and that Mark would still be there with Dorothy and Laura. I think she's starting to be afraid that she won't wake up in the morning. She fights sleep sometimes. But sometimes she can't, it wins, and she rests in what looks like a peaceful way for hours.
Justin and I are planning to see my brother and friends tomorrow night and then also go out on Saturday afternoon (his best friend ("brother" they call each other) is having a bachelor party and he really needs to be there--he's the co-best man). It's scary to think of missing that much time away from Toni's bedside, but what can we do? Besides, we've said goodbye, goodnight and I love you so many times now... I don't know. It just doesn't seem like there is a good way or a good time for any of this to happen. None of us even know when we're going back to work, which our bosses really love but all say they understand and that we should be with our family now. And if we're there in that final moment, what will happen? How would it be better and for whom? The questions are endless and without good answers...