My mother was diagnosed with Stage III multiple myeloma last week, it is a form of leukemia.
She had started to feel crummy when I left two weeks ago, but we both thought it was just a bug. She went to urgent care a week ago Monday, and the rushed her to the hospital in an ambulance as she was beginning to have kidney failure.
As I was geographically closest to her, being in NY, I immediately offered to get in the car and drive to Virginia. She said no, that she would be home in no time. What I wasn’t aware of was that she had hypercalcemia and that caused her to be slighlty demented and she had no idea what she was saying. I stayed in NY awaiting a diagnosis.
She was in the hospital for a week. She had renal distress, anemia, elevated calcium, lesions on her bones, and blood cell counts. While in there, they discovered that she has bullous emphysema from smoking for 60 years. (That means she has large “holes” in her lungs.) On Wednesday they had the diagnosis, at that time, I was told she needed to be kept a few more days. I began to make my plans.
I was in constant contact with her doctors, nurses and anyone and everyone involved in her care while she was hospitalized. I spent hours on the phone setting up follow up appointments and making the arrangements to begin her chemotherapy. Additional time was spent dispelling the nonsense she was telling me, which I thought was the truth. I am sure the nurses on 4 South were never so happy to see a patient and their annoying health care proxy leave.
I left NY very early Monday morning to arrive by the 4:30 pm discharge time. (So close, I got there at 5 pm.) 9 hours in the car for a 6 and 1/2 hour drive while she wore my phone out tracking me down route 95.
I got her home, unpacked her belongings, did her laundry and got her situated. On Tuesday the prearranged home health nurse came for the initial visit, I took her prescriptions to be filled, and went back to the hospital to pick up things that were left behind.
Today, we had a two hour meeting with the staff at the oncology office and set up her plan for treatment, which will begin on Friday. I have held her while she cries, talked her out of her ridiculous decision to just throw in the towel and talked her into just giving a round or two of treatment a try.
Needless to say all or this has been highly stressful. I am not sleeping because of my own personal crazy; the room isn’t blackout dark, and my brain knows it even though I am wearing a sleep mask.
There have been land mines in my path every hour of every day since I arrived on Monday. All of the mines have a beautifully chilled bottle of sauvignon blanc attached to them. I have dodged and weaved them all while holding tightly to my sobriety. As always mother’s fingers are firmly planted on every single button as they always have been.
Since she got home on Monday, my mother has not had an alcoholic beverage. I have been amazed, and slightly impressed. That was one week in the hospital alcohol free, and two nights at home.
I asked her about it today, and she told me that the alcohol just isn’t tasting good to her right now. I was jumping up and down in my head, I was so happy to hear that. I was thinking that this situation may not be so bad after all. I can probably handle the anger, passive aggressive comments, and nastiness if she isn’t getting shitfaced every night on top of it.
I jumped too soon. Tonight around 6 o’clock she announced she wanted a glass of wine and asked what I thought. I told her to do what she wants, it is her body.
She then said, “Well they are going to start poisoning me on Friday, so I am going to get smashed tonight.”
Spoken like a true alcoholic with a truly sick alcoholic brain.
I ate dinner with her, and immediately retired to my 6 by 12 room, and my blow up bed. (Yes, the bed almost touches that sliding glass door.)
I may have to be here to hold her hand, calm her head, and take care of her if the chemo makes her ill, but I do not have to watch her get shitfaced.