Sunday, August 31, 2008

Latest and greatest

(edited at the bottom)

Sorry I haven't posted in a bit - and thank you to those who answered my question on LFCA and have checked on me since. I appreciate it greatly!

It turns out that the hallucinations and confusion were, indeed, medication related. They've lowered her methodone to 1 1/2 pills 2x a day, and she isn't taking the morphine like she was. Now she's taking it to help her breathe, along with some haloperidol. Her oxygen tank isn't singing to her anymore - it broke and they had to fix it, now it won't sing. The fan, on the other hand, is it's all good.

Mom is having such a hard time with breathing that yesterday, she thought she was going to go...that it was time. She pulled through, but she's starting to get the "make sure everyone knows I love and appreciate them" feelings, which is an indicator to me. She's trying to set things right.

My sister is still being a bitch in denial. She refuses to see what's in front of her and it's driving me batty. Last night we had this series of texts (S is my sister):

S: So how's mom this weekend?
Me: It's been a rough weekend. Having a hard time breathing.
S: She seemed pretty good when we were there last weekend. The boys were surprised.
Me: Things are just slowly getting worse, that's all. Morphine helps her breathe better, so she's taking that again.
S: I don't think she even took any while we were there. Are you sure you aren't making it worse than it really is? You are a bit of a drama queeen sometimes. It hasn't even been a week since we were there...

I was furious. I went to my mother and asked her to do me a favor - please call my bitch of a sister and tell her that things ARE getting worse, that she IS having a hard time breathing, that she HAS indeed taken the morphine (and the haloperidol) and that if she's going to be such a bitch she can just not talk to me again. I burst into tears about halfway through the request and went to my room, laid down and had myself a good tear. Mom came to find me (her oxygen cord reaches that far) and we had a talk. She agrees that my sister is being a bitch, but that it isn't just to me - her son called her on it the other day and her husband confirmed that it's been a few weeks that she's been like this. I, personally, don't give a fuck - she can be a bitch, but I won't tolerate it. She can just not talk to my like my brother and I will not be heartbroken. Both times I've had contact with her in the last month she's been a bitch and I WILL NOT PUT UP WITH IT. I am not her whipping boy, I am her sister.

At mom's suggestion I sent back a message that said "If you really think I'm being a DRAMA QUEEN about this, then call mom and ask her". She hasn't called... Mom is going to call her today though and talk to her. I told mom to be sure to tell my sister that her bitchiness is not appreciated and will not be tolerated - I don't think she will, though, although I DO think she'll tell my sister that I'm seriously pissed off at her. Yes, I should probably call my sister to the carpet for this...but right now, it's easier to just let it slide and ignore her permanently. If that proves impossible, then I'll have to deal with it. I'm just trying very hard not to put more on my plate than I have to.

*EDIT* I forgot to mention the coolest bit! They put mom on a catheter, to see if it would help get rid of some of the excess fluid she's got. Between the 22nd and the 25th, she'd lost 5000mL of fluid. You read that right - 5K. By they time they took it out for a bit on Thursday, she'd lost 4 GALLONS of fluid. That's a lot! She'd been feeling much better - able to breathe, less swollen - but they had to take it out because it had slipped down and was pressing against the urethra, causing cramps. They put it back in today and it was already filling by the time the hospice lady left!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A strange man

I have many posts to make and I COULD combine them all into one, but I really hate it when people write mondo posts and I have to read through it. I'd far rather have a series of smaller ones, which is what I'm going to try and do over the next week or so.

This one involves mom's state of mind, which means it might end up long.

Mom's methodone dosage has been upped from one tablet twice a day to two tablets twice a day, and her hallucinations have increased with the dosage. She's had a few funny ones: There was one about 3 "box people" named Faith, Love and Hungry. She made dad feed hungry (scrambled eggs!) and he became Happy. Dad wouldn't let her go for a walk with them, though, so they went away. I found THAT one interesting, because Faith, Love and Joy (happy) are three of the "fruits of the Spirit" and my mother is very religious. I think they might have been angels, come to take her, but that the family isn't ready yet...jmo, of course. Then she had another about a reindeer named Jingle Bells, and the neighbors had reindeer who ran away to my parents house and were now mad at my parents because they paid their reindeer more than the neighbors did. That one made no sense. While I was there, she heard flute music...something she recognized but couldn't (or wouldn't) name.

These are all relatively harmless and kinda cute. Lately, however...well, not so much. Tuesday morning mom called her friend Sharon 6x in 30 minutes, to tell her dad wasn't at the house. Sharon said he was, mom insisted he wasn't. Then she turned around and he was at the table, where he'd been. Mom said "OH! You're home!" and he said "I've been home. Right here. You were holding my hand just a little while ago." My mother replied with "Oh no, that wasn't you. That was a strange man." My heart broke on my father's behalf when he told me this, even though he sounded like he thought it was funny. I think he was trying to MAKE it be funny - oh look, ha ha, your mother is so funny. Her memory is going and her attention span is so short, she can't even remember 10 minutes ago! The other day she got the shakes from the meds, forgot she was holding a bowl of cereal, and dumped it on the floor.

Later, the same day as the "strange man" comment, dad was talking to the hospice nurse on the phone in another room. When he got off the phone, mom wanted to know if he'd been talking to me. He said he hadn't and she said "are you sure? I heard you..." to which he replied "I wasn't, and I was in the other room so you couldn't have even heard me." Mom's reply? "Yes I did. I heard you through my pillow!"

It's an understatement to say I'm worried. I called hospice, to see if this could be a side effect of the methodone or if the cancer is spreading to her brain and we're seeing the beginning stages of dementia. They said it could be either. Gee, thanks for the help y'all. I don't know that I'm equipped to deal with dementia. Talking to mom these days is like trying to talk to a child, or someone very slow. Sickness, depression, anxiety, sadness...this I can deal with. Dementia, my mother being taken away from me twice? I don't know. I just...don't. What will I do if she doesn't recognize me some day? What will I do if she turns violent? What will I do?