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Dept. of Tired and Wired

Tomorrow Mom Comes Home for a Day; Today I Cornered a Doctor

So this morning, I attempted to do a small amount of laundry, figure out what the various frost covered lumps in her long-ignored freezer were, dust the area around her bed, figure out what I needed to get at the (completely inadequate) grocery store; it was eye-opening.  For the four months Mums been in hospital, her cleaning lady-cum-friend has been doing yeoman's duty in trying to keep Step-dad Rob fed and such. But it's four months of just one 87-year-old man living on his own and ... not being extremely good at it.

I finally extracted myself from the house by reminding myself that I am not here to clean the house, which she probably won't be in again permanently anyhow, but to be with her. I was there to help explain (again) the legal papers transferring power of attorney to Mac. And we just spent a lot of time hugging each other.

I also got the chance to speak to her doctor, or at least the doctor who has been handling her case the most (we fired the GP she'd been seeing for several years. You know, the one who missed the damned cancer.) I've been getting excellent reports from Mac for the last four months, but hey, I'm a reporter, and I go for original sources.

I told him that I was aware that doctors normally say, "Oh, it could be a long time" to relatives of cancer patients, and that I'd heard that sort of thing from doctors for several decades, and that I would prefer him to be more specific. He looked panicked, so I said, "Alright, between six weeks and six months, which end are we talking about?"

He said six months, unless something new popped up.

This is what I have been waiting to hear, because I've been getting sick of the mealy-worded "Well, we can't be sure," which is what my brother apparently has been getting. He had guessed the six-six spread, but had admitted it was just a guess. He hadn't gotten any data points from the doctor.

Well, I wanted them. Not ambiguity, not open-ended stuff. Yes, I'm aware that nothing is ever cut and dried, but the hard reality is that a lot of things are far more cut and dried than we'd like them to be, and this is one of them. And I need lead time. She does, too.

I hope that doesn't sound cold. After all, I'd love for them to be wrong. It would be uber-cool to see her happily set up in a nursing home close by where she used to live, with the ability to get out from time to time. I'd love to be typing up a post next year that says I've visited her at the home and she's doing well. But I don't think that's going to happen.

So ... no more ambiguity.

And one other certainty: Mum's coming home for a 24 hour visit, which I am looking forward to like whoah. More pics then, maybe (none today or yesterday because the time got away from me.

This entry was originally posted at http://kaffyr.dreamwidth.org/267594.html?mode=reply, where there are currently comment count unavailable comments. You can comment there or here; I watch both.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
earlgreytea68
Aug. 20th, 2013 02:05 am (UTC)
::hugs::
kaffyr
Aug. 21st, 2013 08:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the hugs, and sorry for the delayed response. With Mom here for the past 24 hours, I definitely was not online at all.
earlgreytea68
Sep. 6th, 2013 03:54 am (UTC)
Of course you weren't! No worries!
time_converges
Aug. 20th, 2013 02:10 am (UTC)
*hugs* I hope her home visit goes well! :)
kaffyr
Aug. 21st, 2013 08:23 pm (UTC)
There were a couple of sort-of tough moments, when her mild sundown syndrome kicked in and she wanted to go back to the hospital, and when the dressing from her surgery incision (still not healed after four months) started falling off.

The first was dealt with by very clear and calm responses that she would be fine here at home tonight because I was with her. By the next morning, she said she was so glad she'd come, and that she'd had a great sleep. She'd forgotten even saying anything about wanting to go back to the hospital.

The second was slightly more nerve-wracking because they had given me tape to help keep it on, but I am so not a nurse or health-care giver, and my retaping was bad enough that it kept coming off. That came the closest to driving me to distraction and tears, but I held off, because that's not what you do in front of your mother. And in the end, it stayed on long enough and well enough.
a_phoenixdragon
Aug. 20th, 2013 04:07 am (UTC)
*hugs you hard* Hope you both enjoy her home visit. I'm glad you got a definitive answer, though I know it was a tough one to hear. It's better than 'we don't know' which is a whole 'nother realm of panic...

*Sends massive amounts of love*
kaffyr
Aug. 21st, 2013 08:25 pm (UTC)
*hugs back*

I know that "definitive", in this situation, can't ever be completely definitive. That's not how health, or cancer, or life works. But I want the realistic outlook, and then any positive change is gravy, and any negative change isn't too unexpected.
lydy
Aug. 20th, 2013 03:35 pm (UTC)
All the most kindly thoughts I can muster, and virtual hugs. I applaud your insistence on actual, you know, information. In my tribe, that makes things easier to deal with, even if the information is grim.

Take care. Hugs and bunnies.
kaffyr
Aug. 21st, 2013 08:29 pm (UTC)
In my tribe, that makes things easier to deal with, even if the information is grim.

Absolutely. And in this case, with a mom who's not currently in pain, I'm happy to have a six month prognosis. I have had time to say goodbye, and her other friends and family will be able to to do so as well.
viomisehunt
Aug. 20th, 2013 04:13 pm (UTC)
Trust me I completely understand. I'm blessed that my Mom is still very capable--when it comes to running a house, more so than me, --and that she has amazing neighbors. Good for you getting your Mom's Doctors to speak honestly and become forth coming with information, and don't count out alternatives--as long as they do not involve unnecessary pain and confinement for your Mom. My prayers are with you.
kaffyr
Aug. 21st, 2013 08:32 pm (UTC)
and don't count out alternatives--as long as they do not involve unnecessary pain and confinement for your Mom.

Mum has already made the decision that she does not want any further treatment, beyond palliative. And with the size of the newest tumours, and the location of it and the one they discovered immediately previous to this one, that make the prognosis very realistic.

I am so glad your mother has you, and a network!
apostle_of_eris
Aug. 21st, 2013 01:51 am (UTC)
For a moment, that icon struck me as odd, then I realized it didn't have The Eyes, which is why I liked it more.
Anyway, there's all that crap about doctors being trained that death is failure. Like, if they were just perfect, then people would stop dying. Med school really messes with their heads.

Oh, and all the usual good wishes, of course. I am not going to insert the lovely prayer for healing I keep handy. And come to think o fit, I don't know any prayers for a peaceful end.
kaffyr
Aug. 21st, 2013 08:35 pm (UTC)
For a moment, that icon struck me as odd, then I realized it didn't have The Eyes,

Heh. The young lady in the icon is wearing very thick glasses; she's a fujoshi, or female otaku, in a very quiet, charming little anime (and manga) called Princes Jellyfish.

I have seen your lovely prayer for healing, and I have my own personal prayer for a peaceful end.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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