for Pat Adair, and the people who love her...

Our beloved Pat got some shocking news recently, and we're off and running on a mysterious medical adventure. Not an adventure we would have picked, but we're off just the same... (If you're new to the blog, start here.)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A rough 24 hours

I just re-read the last blog post, where Mom was "feeling really good" and I just shake my head. It was true at the time, but it changes so fast it's out of date by the time the news hits your inbox.

She still has something mysterious going on that's draining her of energy, but not of fluids. She gained 20 pounds of water weight in one week and the diuretics aren't having much effect. She was home alone this last Monday and Tuesday, with friends looking in on her, but her energy was flagging. I decided to come out on Wednesday. She had a blood transfusion Thursday (that took five hours!) that by midnight had the same result as when she had it in the hospital - she was gasping with short raspy breaths and just felt miserable. I was debating about taking her to emergency, but ended up calling her oncologist at 4 a.m. for a chat. ("Hey! What's up?") He increased her diuretic dosage but mostly said watch her and take her to the hospital if it gets worse. Mom moved to her recliner so she could breath more easily, and by 6 a.m. she was feeling better and sleeping in her bed.

But neither of us got much sleep, and we were pretty shot when we went to her chemo appt. at 10 a.m. Shorter version - didn't get chemo because she's so tired, had more blood tests, a chest x-ray, and a echo cardiogram at three different locations, and didn't get home until 4. She was so tired she couldn't see straight. Mike met us at the last appt., which was great, because when we got home I took a three-hour nap, and I don't think I moved a muscle.

Tonight she's sleeping well, but exhausted just going to the bathroom, and Mike and I think we may have to take her to the hospital tomorrow unless she starts feeling a fair bit better.

I've been thinking lately how inadequate it is to talk about the death of your mother with a list of symptoms and medications and procedures. Those are a large part of what's happening, and are easier to talk about, but they so don't touch the heart of the matter. I had a dream a few days ago where I was standing in front of my mother, crying. I was crying so hard that it was physically painful - not just in my dream but in my body - so much so that it woke me up. As I was waking I couldn't tell the dream from the non-dream and I felt confused. I guess that's a hint of what I'm feeling right now about losing my mother. It's not one of those subtle dreams where you have to tease out the inner meaning! So the heart of the matter, I guess, is that it pierces the heart. And that's a painful, beautiful, love-filled and exasperating time. All swirling together, where it's impossible to pick one aspect out from the others. To simplify the experience by boiling it down to some it's-like-this phrase is to miss the subtlety and mystery and wonder of it all. It's killing me - almost in a good way. But not quite...

Too much love,


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