Hey there. How was your day?
Mine came with a new lesson: Do not ever listen to the experts who have forecast my mom’s demise. Each time I follow instructions and notify kin she is dying, I lay awake all night worrying if I should just go stay with her or try to sleep. She has always been afraid of dying, long ago I promised her she would not die alone, I would be there for her.
So far this year it was predicted she had a week to ten days to live. The stroke was of such magnitude and did so much damage she would never come out of her coma. We are discharging her to hospice. Good luck. This was on Dec 28th, two days post stroke. She was paralyzed on the right side and in a comma. She transferred to a wonderful hospice house. “I cried wolf,” I notified the family.
It was in hospice that she had the biggest 2011 New Year party anyone had ever had at that hospice house. Since it was a holiday three-day weekend her family came from miles away and all landed in her room about 10pm. She sat up and laughed.
Ten days after being admitted she was transferred to a rehabilitative nursing home. Like drill sergeants they had her in therapy three hours a day 7 days a week. She learned to swallow, chew, feed herself, dress herself, and gained the strength to walk with a walker. She was a miracle, like a “Timex watch she takes a licking and keeps on kicking.”
Her progress amazed everyone, her sweet temper, her determination and her guts of steel earned her the respect of everyone she came into contact with. She returned home to her apartment in a retirement facility. She was happy and continued her therapy several times a week for 6 weeks.
She fell and broke her hip. Surgery followed. A week in the hospital and back to the same rehab center where she was welcomed with open arms. The anesthetic and resulting week on heavy-duty pain medications took their toll her physically and mentally. She was nearly back to where she had started on Jan 8th. She wasn’t doing well, call the family. She will need more care. We moved her to assisted living in her same complex.
Three more falls, two concussions and a compression fracture in her back and we moved her to a small group home. She seemed happy with the move. The second night there she got turned around heading to the bathroom and fell. Another trip to the hospital. A deep cut above her left eyebrow, a bruised brain, and a broken wrist. She could no longer use her walker. She was sent back to the rehab nursing care home. Her third trip.
Once again they put her on a horrible pureed diet they were sure she could no longer eat. She was confused, she was not doing well. After a week they released her in a wheelchair. They believed she was in a downward spiral and would not recover. Call the family. I cried wolf yet again.
But with the love, care, nurturing and people in her foster home she flourished. As she thrived she became stronger, walking with her walker, talking, making jokes, enjoying her life with the other three clients. She’s a miracle. She’s like the “Energizer Bunny, she keeps going and going.”
The 7th week there she suddenly turned bright yellow. Hubs and I spent most of the night at urgent care and then a transport to the hospital. Her jaundice levels were so high no one could live more than a couple of days in that condition. We had been home a couple of hours when the phone rang at 3:20 am. We are sorry, we are sending her home. There will be more tests this week.
More hurry up trips to appointments to sit and wait for hours. We were done Friday afternoon. Hopefully we would have a whole weekend without a nighttime trip to the hospital. This was in addition to working 40 hours a week to keep our company afloat and spending as much time with our youngest grandchildren as we could. Hubs and I were running on empty.
Monday morning August 15, her doctor phoned with the results. “Diagnosis: pancreatic cancer. I am sorry we can do nothing but keep her comfortable. I am ordering hospice care for her at her foster home. She will be under their guidance and care. She has two weeks, three at most.” Call her family. “I cried wolf.”
Her foster “mom” said don’t tell her the truth. Your mom is strong. What does it hurt for her not to know? So I didn’t tell her. She did fine, we went to lunch at her old retirement complex where we spent the afternoon visiting with her friends. We had a great day. Over they next couple of weeks her family once again came from all over to hug her and to visit.
Yesterday, her care giver didn’t think she would be able to be up today. She felt the signs were there, she had a day or two. She had me on speed dial. I stayed with mom and hour or more. She was sleeping I couldn’t wake her up. I held her hand and talked to her, told her how much I loved her, I would see her today, I had to go. She wouldn’t let go of my hand.
As I left her wonderful care giver followed me out to the car. “I am so sorry,, the cancer is winning, her bright yellow skin in now turning brown, she is cold, her legs and hands a swelling; all signs the body is shutting down. Please call her family. They should come now. She has maybe a day or two. I called wolf once again.
Today, she is up, alert, talking a bit, drinking a little protein shake. Visited with her best friend, two of her nieces, and my sister tonight. She is laughing and joking and her spirits are high.
I will not call wolf again. My mom is not listening to what the experts are saying. She is not going until she is ready. She is not ready now. I seriously believe her 90th birthday party is important enough to her that she will go another seven weeks to dance with my husband on her special day. She’s a miracle. She’s my mom.