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.)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A close race

Today it feels like a close race between me and Mom for who is more miserable. A little while ago Mom thought it was 2009, and I'm praying that it's just the effect of the pain meds and not another infection coming on.

Last Thursday we had a flurry of activity so we could get Mom scheduled for hip replacement surgery this coming Friday, 6/27, at 6:30 p.m. (That's an odd time for surgery, we all think.) A lot of things had to fall into place, including blood tests, doctor's visits, daily injections at the doctor's office this week. Mike came down for day with his youngest daughter, Brooke, and took Mom to a one-hour seminar about the surgery and recovery. She should be in the hospital for three or four days, then in a rehab facility for maybe two weeks. One of the rehab choices is to be at John Muir, which I'm going to request, since we've had such good experiences with them.

Mom is really scared of the surgery, and even talked about not going through with it. She's afraid of not making it through the surgery itself, even though the doctor's have told her that the real risks aren't in the surgery but in the recovery. She seemed like she felt a little bit better after an injection today, Sunday, including a little pep talk from the doctor.

It's kind of impossible to tell why Patio is having such a hard time right now, but the two obvious things are the pain in her hip and the pain meds she's taking for that. The cancer itself doesn't seem to be giving her obvious problems. She can't keep things straight, can't find words, and is moving as slow as a turtle. She seemed like she was feeling a little better this morning, so we decided to have breakfast out after her injection. We got seated outside at the Buttercup Grill in Walnut Creek, with some difficulty, and she started talking nonsensically about how to get her sugar in her coffee, when she doesn't take sugar. Then she wanted to stand up - I'm not sure why - then she wanted to switch chairs. I ended up leaving $20 on the table for the breakfast we'd ordered but couldn't wait for, and we came home. I took her temperature while she was still in the car in the driveway, because I thought there was a good chance I'd be taking her to emergency. She didn't have a fever, but she's definitely loopy in a way that she wasn't yesterday. She collapsed in bed just after she had something to eat, and with these meds she hardly moves a muscle. That was two hours ago.

As hard as it is to think of my mother dying, that's so much easier than it is to be with her when she's in so much pain. It's wrenching in a way I wasn't prepared for, and I'm not sure it's getting any better. I'm reminded of that Woody Allen line: "I'm not afraid to die - I just don't want to be there when it happens." That's about it with respect to Mom's suffering - it's just so hard to be with. It's amplified when I'm the caregiver, because I feel like I need to making decisions about her care that I'm not qualified to make. I'm not having fun.

Mom keeps asking me, "Are you getting tired of taking care of me, yet?" I told her that it's like when I was a kid and needed some care or attention. She didn't sit back and think, do I feel like doing this? Is this convenient? No - you just do it. So that's what I'm doing.

I love you, Mom.


p.s. Almost forgot - I'm having eye surgery three days after Mom has her hip surgery! I have pretty advanced glaucoma, and I'm getting a tiny little valve implanted in each eye - in my left eye first. It's a straight-forward surgery that ought to be simple. Except it's your eye. It does stress me out a bit, because it will limit what I can do to take care of Mom for a while. I'm not supposed to lift more than 30 pounds for a month or something...


At June 22, 2008 11:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sending Virtual Hugs Your Way"

Dear Pat, and Dave,
It is hard to count blessings at a time like this but I'm grateful to read that you've had the help of Alice in the past weeks when we have been so consumed with helping Karri in her own battle.

From the outside looking in, I'm relieved that the docs are giving Pat a chance to live in less pain and on less drugs with the upcoming surgery and I do hope that she gets into John Muir for rehab. Do keep us posted and let us know when she is ready for visiting.

Kim's Mom had hip surgery and was terribly frightened about it but the recovery was actually quite a breeze for her and she thought it was the best medical decision she ever made. She was about Pat's age when she had it done and was in ill health with a depressed immune system - so may Pat have that kind of a break, as well, and experience some wonderful pain relief and healing is my prayer for her. It is my prayer for you Dave that you'll also have the superbly 'straightforward' experience with the eye surgery that it is supposed to be and that it won't unduly impact your ability to be helpful and companionable to your Mom in your recovery. I know that your brother and his family and other friends will lend all the support they can - I hope it will be enough of what you both need to power you through these two surgeries. We will be carrying you in our hearts and thinking of you more often than you can possibly imagine. With much love, Kim


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