Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Things are going relatively smoothing with Mom this week. We went out shopping yesterday for some Christmas cards and food. We had lunch afterward. Mom surprised me by having pancakes and bacon for breakfast when I arrived yesterday morning. We were supposed to go to IHOP but she decided to surprise me by making breakfast. It was nice to see her a little more engaged and trying some new things. She admitted that she hadn't made pancakes in 20 years...because Dad did all the cooking. She did a really good job and everything came out fine.

Tomorrow morning I am taking her to the bank and then we are going to go back to her apartment and make spaghetti for lunch. She has been talking about wanting this meal for awhile, so I figured it would be easier if we did it together.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saturday, November 25, 2007

Mom made it through her first Thanksgiving without Dad. She hemmed and hawed about coming to dinner at the house, but I finally just told her when I would be picking her up. She enjoyed touring the basement and looking at the work my brother Mark is doing down there to finish it off. We got her settled upstairs with some snacks and the paper while Cathy and Pamela finished the dinner. She managed to eat a little of everything that was put on her plate and seemed to have a pretty good time.

The big difference I see in Mom is how frail she has become since June. She is having a lot of exhaustion and is sometimes forgetful. I think this may just be depression. She hasn't had anymore trouble swallowing food and refuses to even consider having the endoscopy. I have decided to back off of this and let her make her own decisions around her health.

I am feeling kind of tired myself...taking it easy this evening...reading a book, catching up on bills...spending time with Pamela.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Yesterday was a really bad day with Mom. She woke me up early in the morning to tell me she is not going to have the endoscopy. She was upset about how much money it was going to cost, and being completely irrational. She told me that I had taken Dad to the doctor and look what happened to him. I got really upset because it seemed like she was blaming Dad's death on me. She said that if they had stayed in Arizona that Dad could have had surgery. I tried to explain to her that Dad would have died if he was in Arizona because he had Stage IV pancreatic cancer. She is in complete denial about what happened and keeps saying over and over again that Dad never talked to her about not feeling well. Actually, I am starting to think that Dad never told her anything because he had given up in some elemental way. He was so tired of all her abuse and bullshit that he got her up here and then slowly gave up.

I was on the phone several times with Mom ...she would hang up on me, I would hang up on was a pretty upsetting day.

Today things went better. I went to make the arrangements for their dual burial at Forest Lawn. I have the contract for Mom to sign tomorrow when we go out to take her to dinner. I just hope that she can continue to be lucid and follow through with this arrangement.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Thursday, November 13, 2007

The last week and half have been busy with work and dealing with Mom's ongoing medical issues. She called me at work last week to tell me she couldn't keep her breakfast down and had chest pains. I called her doctor immediately and consulted with her nurse. The choices were...bring her in that day or take her to the ER. I opted to take her in that afternoon because I knew the ER experience would be too much for her.

The doctor (not her usual physician) spent more time filling in information on her computer program than really listening to Mom. She told Mom that she needed to see a specialist as she probably had a blockage in her esophagus. I got on the phone right there in her office and made an appt. for the next day. It went fairly well with the new doctor...she did a much better job of listening to Mom and focusing on her. She goes back Nov. 27th for a procedure called an upper endoscopy.

Upper endoscopy enables the physician to look inside the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (first part of the small intestine). The procedure might be used to discover the reason for swallowing difficulties, nausea, vomiting, reflux, bleeding, indigestion, abdominal pain, or chest pain. Upper endoscopy is also called EGD, which stands for esophagogastroduodenoscopy (eh-SAH-fuh-goh-GAS-troh-doo-AH-duh-NAH-skuh-pee).

For the procedure you will swallow a thin, flexible, lighted tube called an endoscope (EN-doh-skope). Right before the procedure the physician will spray your throat with a numbing agent that may help prevent gagging. You may also receive pain medicine and a sedative to help you relax during the exam. The endoscope transmits an image of the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum, so the physician can carefully examine the lining of these organs. The scope also blows air into the stomach; this expands the folds of tissue and makes it easier for the physician to examine the stomach.

The physician can see abnormalities, like inflammation or bleeding, through the endoscope that don't show up well on x rays. The physician can also insert instruments into the scope to treat bleeding abnormalities or remove samples of tissue (biopsy) for further tests.

Possible complications of upper endoscopy include bleeding and puncture of the stomach lining. However, such complications are rare. Most people will probably have nothing more than a mild sore throat after the procedure.

The procedure takes 20 to 30 minutes. Because you will be sedated, you will need to rest at the endoscopy facility for 1 to 2 hours until the medication wears off.
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse

Friday, November 2, 2007

Friday, November 2, 2007

Our vet called two days ago to let us know the results of the test they did on the lump in his leg. The news was good in an odd sort of way. He had an invasive form of cancer known as fibrosarcoma. It is a type of soft tissue sarcoma that begins in fibrous tissue, which holds bones, muscles, and other organs in place. Outcomes are usually dismal and most pets don't live very long as it moves so fast. I am glad that Linus did not have to suffer through all of that.

He always had trouble with food until we started cooking for him. He was gluten intolerant and got so sick until we finally figured out a diet that worked for him. Organic ground lamb, sweet potatoes, cottage cheese and dehydrated lamb slices. I am glad that we finally figured out exactly what he could eat. It was a joy to see him excited at meal times again. I seriously doubt that he would have continued to eat as the cancer progressed. It is odd, but I see his death now as a graceful exit by an old soul not willing to suffer the indignities of cancer.