Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dreaded Phone Calls

I dread the middle of the night phone calls. Every once in a while our phone will ring after midnight and it will be a wrong number. For a while we turned off the phone in our bedroom but it's since been turned back on.
At 1:30 this morning the phone rang. Seeing as it's on my husbands side of the bed he groaned and then reached over to answer it. I'm all about answering the phone in a somewhat pleasant voice. His "what" came out pretty rude. It was downstairs Debbie telling him that Mom needed to go to the ER. It seems that there is some infection in her incision. He told her he'd be right there,laid back down and sighed. He hates hospitals. I got up thinking I'd be the one going and was told to go back to bed as I had done enough already with taking care of her. Off he went.
I've gotten one update so far. They took her for a CT scan-she's on an IV and she's sleeping. In fact he mentioned that downstairs Debbie is also sleeping and he's watching the CNN news that one of our friends is so fond of.
Downstairs Debbie is going to need a vacation after Mom is recovered. She's not in the best health herself and has been running ragged with taking care of her. (since the other sister checked out).
So four hours later they still sit in the ER waiting for the next step. In my opinion they should admit her to clear this up. Some things just can't be taken care of at home. Seeing as she sees fit to self medicate herself-at least in the hospital she can be given what she needs when she needs it. I was there yesterday for a few hours and didn't notice anything that would cause concern. She was walking around pretty good and in a good mood. Didn't complain of any pain or discomfort. Hopefully this is just a minor set back.

Monday, April 25, 2011

First Game of the Season

Two of my friends surprised me with tickets to a Brewer game Saturday. It was my first game of the season, good seats to bat and fairly decent weather.
I tend to be a fairly serious baseball game watcher. Let me clarify by saying-if a good amount of money is paid for a decent seat I'm going to be paying attention to the game. I am also going to be considerate of those around me. I'm not so serious that I won't joke around or laugh-but I'm not going to be loud or call attention to myself. I will try very hard to keep whatever liquid I am drinking in my cup and not on the lap or back of those around me. I'll not use hood of the person in front of me (unless I know them) for peanut shell disposal, or to wipe my hands. I'll try to limit the times I disrupt others by getting out of my seat. I will multi-task my using the bathroom and bringing back refreshments in the same trip. At most important of all-I will not argue with my significant other while seated.
We had the last three seats on the aisle. You always know you're in trouble then. You will be getting up for anyone who needs to get out of their seat. I don't mind a few times but there were two girls who must have been the runners that were up at least ten times through the game. Sometimes coming back with beers and then leaving five minutes later to use the bathroom. Then we had a soap opera going on in front of us. Two couples came in together and one girl spent the entire game hanging on the guy and trying to engage him in public making out. A room may have been in order. The other couple got up around the 4th inning and he came back alone a little while later. There was apparently a fight. The texting between them began. My friend was viewing the texts over his shoulder and relaying the content to those around us. This continued through out the remainder of the game. She came back at one point and left moments later announcing that she didn't like how she was being treated. He seemed confused and then was content to sit and chew his fingernails and beer cup until the end of the game. About one inning provided amusement by the guy next to my friend with the peanut shell residue hanging from his chin. And then the spilling of the beer when he was leaning forward to read the text message from the soap opera guy.
For the most part I was impressed with the new scoreboard, but found myself looking at it when I should have been watching the game. Unfortunately I attended a game they lost. Lost due to their own errors. Count of the young girls puking on the curb on our way out-4. Always a pleasure to see them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mini Spring Break

In my younger years I remember being off school on Good Friday and the entire week after Easter. Once my kids were in school I would always take that week off to spend time with them. We did day trips and things around town-movies, zoo, museum and of course some shopping. I'm sure there were days in there that were cold or rainy but for the most there would be a few days warm enough to play outside.
I saw the forecast for the next week and felt sorry for the parent's and children who are off next week. Cold and rainy. This means either the kids will be stuck in the house fighting over video games or constantly complaining of boredom. Maybe there will be some trips to the movie theater or local pizza-arcade along with the tons of other parents trying to find something to amuse their kids.
For those who can afford to-pack the kids up and head south on a mini-vacation. Not north to a water park where millions of kids will be running around and waiting in endless lines for their turn. I'm wondering what happened to the warmer days of Spring break when we'd be out the door early in the morning on some neighborhood adventure. Mother Nature surely has some vengeance this season.
One of the Holidays we have at work is Good Friday. I decided to take tomorrow off as well and have a four day weekend. With the recent goings on with my Mother in law I need a day to catch up on a few things. A day for me is in order. I shall call it my Mini-Spring Break. It looks to be the only dry day in store for a while.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I Will Stay Calm

This is what I need to keep telling myself. I knew Mother in law would be content when at home but I hoped it would last longer than a day or so.
Yesterday she was supposed to call and get a refill on some pain medication. We had talked the day before about Tylenol verses prescription pain medication. She didn't have the RX filled before leaving the rehab (had to get out asap) and had a few left. She was sure she could make it until Monday. I called yesterday expecting to pick the RX up after work. Her frail voice told me that she decided she didn't need them. I'm not one to take these things myself but reminded her that she just had a major surgery and without them may not be able to get the proper rest she needs. She pooh-poohed me and said she was fine. I stopped for a bit after work and she mentioned feeling very tired and not sleeping well. This was in the course of two hours. I told her to call and I'd go get them and she once again said she could put if off until today. Last night at 8pm I called to check on her and she was miserable. In pain and the Tylenol was not doing it for her. She is now going to call this morning and maybe one of her kids that are not working could find it in their hearts to help their mother and pick them up.
Loo the "stressed out" sister made an appearance yesterday. But first we had to take a call from her daughter asking us not to bring up her weekend melt down. She was at Mom's when I got there and had I known I would have waited a bit. She was a little sneaky and parked her car behind the garage. Damn. She didn't have to much to say and the conversation was polite but strained. As she was leaving she let me know that she decided not to take the week off work to help out, but if we needed her to call. After her departure I had to deal with Mom who thinks she's the one who drove her to the melt down. Brother Ike who was supposed to bring a few items yesterday never showed up. Downstairs Debbie is doing her best to handle things and is doing a good job. Older brother and sister in law are in their own element and mention letting them know if she needs anything. My husband is fixing things that need fixed or fitted to her needs. Allow me to mention that I am very close to calling Ike (who is laid off and has nothing to do all day) and telling him to get his lazy arse over and take care of his mother. Maybe he shouldn't have told me that since his lay-off 2 months ago he has done nothing but sleep and watch TV.
My frustrations are not with my mother in law. My frustrations are with the ones who want to condemn each other yet always have something else going on when help is needed. Lazy Ike had the nerve to call our house yesterday to remind my husband to fix the knob on the medicine cabinet.
Thank goodness I have my blog to vent.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pop Goes the Rib

With the weather lately I wasn't to shocked to see the snow this morning. It's spring snow and will be gone shortly. The sight of it is a little depressing being the 3rd week in April, but then again it has snowed in May.

I seemed to have popped some cartilage in my rib cage. Downstairs Debbie (sister-in-law) has a dog gate across her entrance door. I've walked over it many times. On Saturday amidst all the other drama going on I got one leg over and somehow my foot got hung up on the gate and down I went. I hit the wall with my arm and felt and heard a pop. Knocked the wind out of me and the fact that I was laughing didn't help matters much. See, in addition to laughing at others injuries-I laugh at my own. At first I though I may have done some damage to my arm but upon picking myself up off the floor I immediately felt the pain in my rib cage. I sat down for a minute to catch my breath and asked my husband what happens when one breaks a rib. His reply was simple "You can't breathe". Well I seemed to be having some difficulty in that area at the moment. "Oh, but you puncture your lung and die". That one made me chuckle a little. What, were they all sitting there staring at me and waiting for my lung to deflate like a balloon? I didn't see anyone moving toward a phone or anything? Guess they were just going to let it deflate.

After a few minutes I gained my composure, stood up and carried on with what I was doing. Saturday night I took some anti-inflammatory medication which didn't seem to help much. I didn't to well and yesterday the pain seemed to worsen. Last night was also a restless night and the pain has not subsided. I decided to call and talk to someone this morning. After describing what happened I was told that I must have pulled the cartilage. I need to ice it every two hours for 1/2 hour, continue to take the anti-inflammatory medicine and refrain from any sports, jogging, lifting, and aerobic activities. The pain will last 4-6 weeks depending on the severity. I can also tape the area to prevent me from straining it further. If the pain worsens I should come in for an x-ray. This ice thing at work isn't going to work either.

On a lighter note-Mother-in-law seems to be content at home. For now. I'm hoping that others will begin to pitch in and help a little. She'll need help with certain things for a while. The main issue is to get her strength built up for any further treatments she may need.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Drop the Drama

It's Sunday. Typically the day of rest. I'm hoping for a least a little less drama for one day. I could be cursing myself at the moment, but the phone has been quiet for the past 10 hours.
Drama was the object of the week. Mother in law had surgery on Monday. Waiting area got tense a few times. Loo-the eldest daughter had "taken charge". I will give her the credit for providing the majority of her mothers care over the past 3 years. She has a job that allows her to do so. Every so often Loo becomes a little stressed and needs a break. In saying she provides the majority of the care I also mean that the rest of us pitch in. It's never good enough for Loo.
On Thursday a decision had to be made whether Mom would come home or go to rehab. I felt the decision was up to Mom. She's of sound mind and knows what she wants. Loo felt she should come home. She thought she could make that decision (to also fit her needs) and Mom had no choice. She shunned Mom going to rehab and brought up money issues. She volunteered my house which I was fine with Mom coming, but Loo decided she'd also come. (I secretly prayed that Mom would not choose that option). She volunteered her younger brother and us to pay a niece to care for her. She actually told the niece we would without asking us first.
Loo went up to tell Mom her plan and ran into the Social Worker who was setting up rehab for Mom. Mom had made the decision as she felt she would get Physical Therapy and be able to come home within a week or so. The rest of us stuck by Mom's decision. Loo stormed out of the hospital and has now "checked herself out" for a week or so.
I was a bit worried about her because I think she has some deep rooted emotional issues going on and this put a head on it. I spoke with her Thursday night and after listening to some of her issues though she may need some help.
On Friday we moved her to rehab. Arnie and I stayed with her until 8pm and she seemed to be doing okay. I did feel a little uneasy about her being in a room with a slightly crazy woman. I could see the look on Mom's face when this woman started talking nonsense and wondered if I should stay with her.
At 8:30 Saturday morning I received the frantic "get me out of here call". I called other brother Ike and off we went. She had a horrible night. They wouldn't let her get out of bed (she had been doing so the previous day), the food wasn't what she needed, the crazy lady talked all night, she got now sleep and they only allow you to take a shower once a week. We tried to settle her down, they offered her a private room, they mentioned she was on a general diet and told her the shower thing was not true-they just didn't want her to go unassisted.
Nothing was working so I said we would take her home. I knew at that point that this is the only thing that would make her happy, so we called out the rest of the family-except for Loo and got her home. Things were re-arranged and purchased to fit her needs. When everything settled down I looked at her and say content on her face and it made it all worth it.
I sent a message to Loo informing her that Mom was home. The reply I got was typical of her "What was the sense in sending her to rehab". My response was "I guess it's what she wanted to do". Loo seems the have Mom convinced that her "Medical Power of Attorney" status allows for her to make all Mom's decisions. The social worked spelled out to her that as long as her mother is of sound mind she can make her own decisions. I figure she's got stage 3 cancer which may be treatable , she has always done for everyone else-these children of her's need to get their acts together-drop the drama-and take care of their mother.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Long Day for Doris

Yesterday was surgery day for mother-in-law Doris. The surgery was planned for 12:15 but the nurses were convinced she'd be going in earlier so they whisked her away before several of us were able to see her. Whisked her away only to have her wait in the holding area until the original time of her surgery.
So the off-spring and their spouses hunkered down in the waiting area for what we were told would be about 3 hours. Luckily yesterday wasn't a busy surgery day and we had a nice area for the six of us. The boys were disappointed that the TV was out of their viewing area but they managed to make it through. The lap-top was brought out which gave us some entertainment for a bit. We were there for about an hour when a very familiar person made her way toward us. My little "tower of strength" had arrived with a bag of snacks and some magazines to tide us over. Many thanks to the best sister in law and friend ever Nannette!
As the day wore us then tension began to grow. My husband was smart in sitting off to the side and fake sleeping. Each of his family members are unique in their own way and were all there for the love they have for their Mother. Each one handles these things differently. Over the years there has been some tension between older sister and middle brother. He is very argumentative. We're talking about someone who shines around every once in a while and then wants to take charge. I had to remind them several times yesterday that we were there for Mom. He took several walks, I assume to cool down.
After about 3 1/2 hours the doctor appeared to tell us that they had removed about 90% of the tumor. He was not able to fully remove some that was embedded in her lymph nodes. She will need to have chemo to hopefully shrink down what is left. He went on to say she did well and they expected it to be worse. She will be able to come home by the end of the week and will start the chemo in a month or so. When asked about the side effects he did say she will lose her hair.
As we all sat and absorbed his words I couldn't help but think about her hair. It's a tiny little thing to go through to get better. She had mentioned to me the other day that she wanted to shave her head and start over as she was having such issues finding a good style. I think I'm going to have to take Mom for a nice haircut before she starts her Chemo. These things were racing through my mind when the humor started. Middle brother is going to the clown store to purchase her several wigs. Husband is going to give her his pirate wig. Sister in law has a blond wig from a past Halloween. I chuckled but then remarked that a hot wig in the summer may not be the best so I'll be hooking up with my friend who designs bandanna's just for this cause.
After about two hours we were told she was in her room and settled. Poor Mom was so uncomfortable and in pain that all I could do is give her a hug and tell her to get some rest. I'm not quite sure she even knew we were there. Older sister wanted to stick around and tell her the out come of her surgery. I just thought it would wait until today when she could absorb the information. She had been through enough already. Now comes the healing process.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Can She Beat This?

My mother-in-law has had some medical issues that prompted us to take her to the ER two weeks ago. She started off thinking she had a bladder infection but then other symptoms began to appear (of the female sort). The doctor in the ER scared the living daylights out of her and she walked out of there thinking the worst and planning her funeral. She was prompted to see her doctor asap with the possibility of her referring her to a specialist.
She has a good general physician who did not delay matters and mom was off to the specialist within two days. This doctor was also good and sent her for further tests the same day. On Friday we received notice that she was going to be meeting with the OBGYN specialist, her doctor and the oncologist yesterday morning. So yesterday was the waiting game. By the time I left work yesterday I was informed of the diagnosis. She has ovarian cancer.
The doctor gave her three options-leave it-have surgery and then possible chemo-have radical chemo and hope it shrinks it down. After laying it on the line and giving her the options he left the room so she could discuss things with the two of her children that accompanied her. Her first words were "I'm just going to leave it. What's the use." That was the initial shock.
The doctor came back in and announced that he is legally bound to give the options but highly recommended the surgery. Told her that although they sometimes don't know how far the cancer has spread until they open you up, he felt strongly that there was a very good chance that this could be nipped in the bud. She opted for the surgery which brought a sigh of relief from all of us.
So Doris has surgery on Monday. They'll be doing a total hysterectomy and taking lymph nodes from two areas. She'll be uncomfortable for a bit but probably not as uncomfortable as she has been for the past 6 months. The decision for chemo won't be made until 12 or so weeks after the surgery.
I had the dreaded duty of telling my husband and convincing him to be positive for his mother. We can cry at home, but in front of her we need to be strong and remain positive. She's been a fighter all her life but does tend to let the doom and gloom in at times. After stopping to see her last night I feel good that she opted for the surgery and is approaching it with a fighting attitude.