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Old 11-21-09, 09:38 PM   #1
bluevelo
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Off to Des Moines tomorrow, Mom in hospital...

As some of you know,my Mom was hospitalized earlier this week and it has been determined that she can no longer have any more chemotherapy.

Her cancer has spread to new lesions on her spine, back of her skull and pelvis, and she is in considerable pain (they have her on a morphine drip). She is now receiving radiation to reduce the pain, and the treatment will now center on minimizing pain while maximizing quality of life issues.

She's at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, and will stay in the hospital until the current round of radiation is finished (she started yesterday, and the radiation oncologist says he anticipates 10 treatments). She is also suffering from gout and water retention, and has been catheterized.

I spoke at length with the radiation oncologist - on Friday. He said it was not an immediate life threatening situation - "she's weak" - but that it is time to think about care arrangements, including hospice. I thanked him and told him to thank her other oncologist for trying their best in a difficult situation - Mom is 74, smokes, and had enough underlying health issues that whether chemo would have really worked or not is questionable - and at that point, he volunteered that if he had to guess, she has between 3-6 months to live.

Yesterday, I told her that I was going to come home this week to visit, and she said "Let me think about that." This morning, we talked and she wants me to come for a little while, so I was able to get a decent ticket price on United for tomorrow, and I'm returning to California on the 2nd of December.

I have some difficult to deal with relatives that have been doing the caregiver function, so while I am looking forward to seeing Mom, I am not looking forward to having to drop the hammer, but my cousin's wife is, well, a drama queen and feeds off of drama and is already accusing me of "not getting along with me." Um, I've done nothing LOL and I hardly know this woman, but she's a piece of work. Of course, Mom has always been vulnerable to being taken advantage of by strong willed people and I see that happening here. So, its off to see the wizard... at least I'll have the house to myself and Mom has a decent car so if things get too weird at the hospital (and they have wireless there) I can get the hell away from these wackos...

I suspect that while Mom is sleeping I'll be spending a lot of time here on Foo...
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Old 11-21-09, 09:52 PM   #2
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I'm sorry to hear about your mom. Hang in there and just roll with the crazy relatives.
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Old 11-21-09, 09:57 PM   #3
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As your mother's son, you have priority over the cousin's wife. If she makes things difficult, I would not hesitate to tell her to give it a rest.

My father had hospice care at the end of his illness, and they were wonderful. I hope all goes well and you are able to get your mom situated comfortably.
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Old 11-21-09, 10:08 PM   #4
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As your mother's son, you have priority over the cousin's wife. If she makes things difficult, I would not hesitate to tell her to give it a rest.

My father had hospice care at the end of his illness, and they were wonderful. I hope all goes well and you are able to get your mom situated comfortably.
Thanks cbad. Yeah, I'm about ready to tell her something along the lines of that, possibly with the addition of "You *really* need therapy."
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Old 11-21-09, 10:13 PM   #5
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You're doing the right thing. I hope that you can make the best of the time you share and that your cousin's wife can give you the room you need.
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Old 11-21-09, 10:15 PM   #6
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Thanks cbad. Yeah, I'm about ready to tell her something along the lines of that, possibly with the addition of "You *really* need therapy."
I saw this mouthed on the hockey game tonight. It might come in
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Old 11-21-09, 10:35 PM   #7
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my thought & prayers BV, do the best you can...

keep us up to date.
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Old 11-21-09, 11:29 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone.
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Old 11-22-09, 11:08 AM   #9
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BV, I currently work with a hospice/home care agency, and I strongly recommend that you talk to them ASAP. Your mother meets the admission criteria, and it will be paid for by Medicare. They can do wonders in making this time as comfortable as possible, and can arrange for nursing, social work and chaplain services in her home or a nursing facility. Most families wait far too long to establish with hospice, and they undergo needless suffering as a result. Talk to the social worker, chaplain or oncologist at the hospital for a referral. PM me if you need further thoughts.
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