Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Good Specialist Visit

Good appointment with the specialist today. Dr. Kvapil ('s just fun to say) was great with Mom. He spoke directly to her most of the time and spoke loudly and clearly. Once he figured out what kind of person he was dealing with, he said, "We are not going to base our treatment on your age."

He recommended a full colonoscopy to check everything out, but also offered Mom a choice of just a partial colonoscopy to check for a recurrence of cancer in the same spot. Dr. K assured Mom that he would use a pediatric scope and would not push if navigation was difficult. And he said she would not have to have another colonoscopy ever again. Mom bought it and scheduled a full colonoscopy for May 11.

A couple of funnies about the appointment. It was in The Woodlands and they sent a simple map to Mom with the paperwork. She kept saying how easy it looked to find and that she could go by herself. I kept telling her I would pick her up. She did let me pick her up, so I didn't have to call in the Family Enforcer again, but even as we were driving home, Mom kept on about how she could have driven. Woman!

Then when Mom was on the exam table with Dr. K pressing on her abdomen, she let fly with, "I'm really only here because of my kids." I said, "I thought you were here because you think you have cancer." Dr. K asked Mom, "What kind of cancer do you think you have?" To which Mom replied, "What kinds are there?" You have to smile. :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

And the Truth Shall Set You Free

If you've talked to Mom lately, you may have discovered that she thinks her cancer is back. She had an episode of rectal bleeding, went alone to see Ves, went alone to a specialist who did no sort of examination, and made up her mind that she has cancer. True, Mom could have cancer. She could also have internal hemorrhoids. Hard to know if you don't have a look.

Sister Gayle did some research and then gave Mom a talking to over the phone. Some of the salient points:

  • Cancer detection and treatment are much improved in the past 20 years
  • Treatment could extend Mom's life by years
  • Intestinal cancer is not a nice way to die
  • Dying of intestinal cancer would involve people coming into Mom's home to care for her and Dad
  • Without Mom, Dad would need to be put in a home or have caregivers or live with one of us
  • Mom needs to take me with her to cancer-related appointments
I think it must have been the threat of people coming into the home, but Gayle is now the Official Family Enforcer. I have never seen Mom so cooperative! She asked me to go with her to see Ves. She asked him for a referral for a colonoscopy. She had me call the doctor's office and we have a consult next Wednesday. Wow!

I'm glad for Mom. Living with what you imagine would be tough. Truth is good.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Where in the World is Aunt Helen?

Not in Texas. Mom has not heard from Barbie or Marsha and is assuming that they don't want to send Helen now because she is so happy with her caregiver. I asked Mom if she was going to call B or M and she said, "I don't bother them much and they don't bother me."

Gayle has heard from Marsha and it seems they had daughter's remorse about sending H off on her own recognizance. Plus she had an episode with elevated blood pressure. I do think it odd that they do not contact Mom, but they might be avoiding her after that last guilt-laden phone conversation.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Little Help

Nate and I went over to the folks' today in between students. Nate mowed the front yard and blew off the driveway. We will return tomorrow to work in the backyard. It is really weedy and overgrown. I don't know that Nate can/should push the mower through it. Mom showed us a very large tree limb that had fallen just a few feet from where she was raking. She wants Nate to saw it up for firewood. I'm so glad she is letting us help!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Raison D'Etre

Well, not really the reason for being, but the reason Mom is so dead set on Aunt Helen coming for a visit now.

Monday Calls

Dave offered to make the Monday call for me today. Dad's knee is still painful, so Dave encouraged him to make an appointment. Dave called back later and found out Dad has an appointment for Tuesday morning.

Loren called me in the afternoon and said Dad slept on the pallet Saturday night because he got up from his chair in the night and fell.

Wonder of wonders, Mom called me and asked if Nate could come to mow the yard and blow the drive this week. Asking for help is good!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Everything's Fine

This morning I called the house to check on Dad. Mom answered and said they were doing fine, but they would not be going to church or our house for dinner. So here's what "fine" consists of today:

*Dad could not get into bed last night, so Mom put a pallet on the floor for him.

*Mom called a neighbor this morning to get Dad up.

*Dad's knee is still very painful, but Mom says he can get around.

When I asked if the knee was swollen, Mom replied, "Dad says it is a little."

When I asked how Dad twisted his knee, Mom replied, "Oh, that was so long ago." I said, "I thought it happened yesterday." Mom said, "It did." Then she told me something about Dad putting away his socks and underwear in the bottom drawer and not being able to get back up.

Either Mom is: a) unsure of what actually happened, b) forgetting what happened, or c) withholding information. Anybody get more specific information? Ves told me today that if it is still painful tomorrow, Dad needs to come in. I'll call tomorrow and see.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A New Twist

Dad called a little bit ago to say that he had twisted his knee today. He said it is pretty painful and he doesn't know if he will be able to make it to church tomorrow. He said they had called Ves shortly before he called me. They had been putting heat on the knee, but Ves said to ice it. Dad did not mention how he had twisted his knee. Any guesses?

Yes, Yes, That Is The Plan

So, it seems Aunt Helen is functioning better than was previously communicated. She showers, dresses and grooms herself. She wears Depends and tends to herself in the bathroom. In essence, she just needs a caregiver to be a companion, serve her meals, remind her to eat, remind her to take her medicine, etc. Kind of like Dad, but with a brain tumor. Cousin M and Cousin B now think Aunt Helen could fly down by herself and stay with mom for ten days.

Evidently, Mom gave Cousin M a pretty heavy dose of guilt and manipulation. Cousin M wants to make sure: a) I can pick Aunt Helen up at the airport, and b) there is help for Mom. I told her there were good caregivers around and that I could make some calls, but that Mom and Dad don't want help. I'm pretty certain Mom will do this the way she wants to do it. Period.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

How Did We Get Here From There?

I missed a call from Cousin M today. She left a message saying that she had just talked to Mom. She said that Mom was very passionate about having Helen come to visit. Evidently Cousin B thinks Helen is strong enough to fly alone. So the gist of the message was that Helen will come by herself and stay for 10 days. Cousin M wanted to check it out with me because I would need to pick Helen up at the airport.

What? The only thing I can figure is that I'm missing some vital element to this plan. Maybe someone else is coming to help? Surely the plan is not to put Aunt Helen on a plane and leave her alone with Mom and Dad for 10 days?