13:15, 24 March 2011 — My mother’s body continues to shrink and contract into itself.  Her breathing is shallower than it was.  I think she’s fighting less.  The gurgling sound is still there, though less loud than before, there is simple less fluid left within her or maybe the sound which had seemed horrible at first, is now something I’ve adjusted to.  (It doesn’t seem to bother her.  I think she is beyond feeling bothered by anything.)

Death is a teacher.  The handsome young resident whom I referred to as Doc Bollywood in a previous blog, seems to have learned something and matured in the past couple of days.  He just popped in and asked how she was and seems to have accepted that she is dying and he can’t do anything about it and nobody expects or wants him to.  He’s gone from arrogance to compassion.

The bed opened at the hospice, but the family decided that moving her made no sense at this point, though a hospice might approve a higher dose of morphine which could possibly speed things along, but the dose she’s at seems to be sufficient to keep her from suffering, so speeding things up isn’t important.

Not having monitors, we can watch the process and speculate — count her breaths, debate whether or not they seem more shallow.  They are certainly quieter with less heaving of the body, less struggle.  Like labor, it’s probably best to let it happen on its own time.  It’s humbling.  Even those of us with medical knowledge, can’t know exactly what will happen when.

I’ve turned the music back on and just swabbed her lips and mouth.  I may close my eyes for a bit.

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