An update on mom’s cancer

September 25, 2010 at 12:24 pm (Uncategorized)

Been a while since I’ve written on this (or anything, for that matter), and for the most part there hasn’t been anything positive to write about when it comes to this.

Her condition went a significant step worse a few weeks ago, when my dad took her to the ER due to excruciatingly painful headaches.

On the night they admitted her they did ct scans and found that the brain tumor was bleeding. They gave her several transfusions of a plasma with some sort of special clotting properties, and felt they had the bleeding under control within a day or so.
However, the headaches kept coming, sometimes multiple times in an hour, and the doctors didn’t really seem to be sure what was causing it.

After many days of trying different variations of pain medication, none of which seemed to make much difference, but after several days they seemed to finally find a combination of drugs that seemed to keep her mostly out of pain.

But unfortunately her brain seemed to have taken a heavy blow from this incident. She had been having some difficulty talking and having confusion even before this, but now the nurses had asked her several “you should know this” questions such as where she was right at that moment, what year it was, what her husband’s name was, what her own name was, etc. She wasn’t able to answer a single one of them correctly.

Since then she has been having periods of being completely unresponsive, not eating (and not allowing anyone to feed her), days where she’d try to speak but only incomprehensible gibberish would come out, and other such bad signs.

She’s had slight improvement since then, but after being in the hospital for over 3 weeks my dad was pressured by both the hospital and Medicare to move her elsewhere for longer-term care, and on Wednesday we went together to check out a couple of nursing/hospice homes.
It was really, really depressing.

In the end he decided to bring her home and hire an in-home hospice service, who will providing a hospital bed and any needed supplies, will be sending an RN to visit at least 3 times a week and possibly more if requested, will have an RN on a hotline 24 hours a day, and will provide pastoral services.

I think this was probably a good decision for everybody’s state of mind and will be more comfortable for mom. There were aspects of those nursing homes that reminded me of something out of a nightmare, and in one the patient rooms reminded me of a jail cell. It’ll be a bit more work for the family to take care of her when she’s at home, but I think it’s the best way to go.

The doctors are now estimating maybe about 3 months to go, so I’m thinking happy holidays may not be in the plan this year.

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