Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A New Chapter

Here is a guest blog from my niece about my mom's condition. It's very special to see how each and everyone of us has a unique contribution as we walk through this illness with her.

Here's Mom visiting her older sister for her sister's 90th birthday. The visit was a surprise for my Aunt which made the day that much more fun and happy!! We took time to take lots of photos.

Here Mom poses with her sis and her younger brother.

Me, Mom, Aunt, my Sis and Bro.

Last night she did great. Got up 3 times. I checked on her a few times.
She woke up around 6am then I woke up pretty much minutes after I asked her a couple questions She said " I can't hear you I can't find my hearing aid!" LOL
I said they are on your floor I saw them there last night. " She said I know I have one I can not find the other one"
I went and found it for her and she said " Yvonne hates touching them because they look like guinea pigs."
I thought that was kinda funny.
They do look like some sort of small animal just being birthed.
Then Yvonne came in around 7 and Whipped up a few protein smoothies for us and whooshed out.
I was actually in my morning daze quite impressed with the speed at which she not only made Grandma smoothies but then rinsed the blender out, wiped down the blender and headed out the door.
For a micro second I had this epiphany " oh that is how you keep your house clean"
Grandma had some nausea. Apparently after she lays down when she gets up her tummy is un easy. Or maybe its just a morning thing.
I got her some pepto. she ate some Ritz. ( felt a little guilty at this point: as we ate pretty much all of her crackers not knowing she needed them in the morning)
I told her I would go get more Ritz. Yvonne said OH and get the bendy straws!
Then a about 20 minutes later Aunt Muffy came in.
Said her good mornings to Grandma. Checked in
She got Grandma all of her Morning Meds.
By the time I returned from the store around 9:30 Aunt Muffy had all Grandmas appointments lined up.and had her bile catheter bag emptied.
I started putting a cupboard full of crackers away AND DAMNIT I forgot the bendy straws!
But so far where we are at is to my understanding is.
Grandma was unofficially informed that she had Pancreatic Cancer.
The instructions from the Hospital were to call Monday to set up an appointment. Muffy did.
Wed she has appointments to officially find out the news, to remove the stint, and to hopefully find out the results of her biopsy. The Cancer Center called and I put Muffy on the phone. She set up the appointment with them for the 8th.( I know that sounds like its really far away but it really was the soonest she had and Grandma is first on the list for any cancellations.)
On the 8th She sees an oncologist. This will be to lay out how to tackle the problem and how much time Grandma does have.
Aunt Muffy handled those calls perfectly. Aunt Ceil , Uncle Joe, and Aunt Yvonne were able to set Aunt Muffy up with enough info to confidently pull off those calls. I say this because I did not feel informed enough to pull them off my self. Also Aunt Muffy read the Hospital instructions which were just a little different than what everyone remembered.
So now that all that was tackled we just mothered Grandma all day.
The first part of the day was super quite.
She ate lunch around 12. She had a 3/4 of a grilled cheese sandwich.
Then around 2:30 when she fell asleep it was like one visitor after another.
Aunt Muffy was having to turn away lots of folks.
It was ironic that as soon as she fell asleep everyone started coming. I turned off her ringer let her sleep we asked everyone to let her rest. Everyone did and graciously too.
Around 4 she awoke to tons of company and Skype with Uncle Thom.
Everyone was in full force. Visiting, loving her and noticeably staying strong.
I found joy in that.
I also notice that poor Grandma is getting worn out.
Here is my advice to all of you. Coming from an outsider looking in.
We are a family of workers, doers. We get stuff done. We like to get stuff done. We show love by what we can accomplish.
I mean not exclusively but partly.
I have watched you all and you all have different approaches. And really you all compliment each other quite nicely to be honest.
You all have your rolls in this and its quite amazing to watch.
I am just hear to support and do what it is you need from me.
But sometimes the visits they are too much.
I think we all should be good about being over there just a couple at a time. At least during her recovery.If she wants to talk let her if she is quietly watching tv let her do that too.
She is taking pain meds and can not concentrate.
She nods off about every 3 hours fighting taking a nap or resting.
I think its hard for her to be present for a long period of time . So maybe just sitting with her and not talking too much would help with that too I guess.That way she does not have to focus on staying awake too much.
She really does fight the nap and falling asleep.
I think we get our stubbornness from her.
If any of you all want super special time. I would suggest humbly you sleep over at her house to help her.
There is this moment at 6 ish that she wakes up and its just you and her.
Its quite.
I just sat with her. I let her talk.
I let her share her stories and frustrations.
It was nice.
I was able to fulfill taking care of her, sitting with her, and watching her get excited over the tennis match.
As if this was just another visit and we were just catching up. I did not fuss over her too much just quietly got up asked hey While I am up you want_______?
She would say sure please get me my ________.
She shared how special everyone has been.
How everyone has been so great. She actually loves having everyone around. But she also expressed getting tired. Especially during the evening.
She has lower abdominal cramping that makes her feel guilty for needing pain pills. Luckily I had read the article I will link at the end of this and was able to share a sentiment I found.
It help her accept that its okay to need them.
She is most happy about everyone finally being together .
I admire how you have all handled family dynamics in her company.
really with each other too.
That disagreements have not proven to equal disrespect. That the love you all have for each other and for grandmas desires shines through more than anything.
Its heartwarming.
The best times to visit are:
Between 8:30 am and 12:30
1-3:30 she is pretty sleepy
because around 8 she gets pretty tired and by nine she is nodding off.
I love you all and this is just my perspective on things.
I figured while I am staying with her I will email reports.
You know, since I have to do something this can be my contribution.
Ask away at anything you want to know and I will fill you in if I have the information.
Love always,
p.s I do not have everyone's email so please forward to whom you like
And I am also sorry this is a bit rambly. Its hard to get all the important stuff to everyone.
I just really appreciated the texts coming up north.
So let me know if you want to also be taken out of this thread.
Stay tuned. Tuesdays report will be much shorter. Its a free day. ;) No calls to make no Doctors appointments. It should be restful for her.
Article I found helpful.