Monday, January 14, 2013

a bump in the road

Hi, it's Renee with a mostly medical update.  Things are a little rough here at the moment.  My mom ended her epidural pain meds this morning and it's proving difficult to take care of her pain with oral meds exclusively.  My mom is incredibly tough, but I can tell the pain is starting to get to her.  She's currently rating her pain at a 7 out of 10.  Miserable!

Daniel and I are at the hospital with her right now while my dad attempts to get his work situation under control.  We're doing our best to work with our nurse and doctors to get a handle on the pain soon, but prayers would certainly be appreciated (as always!).  As many of you know, it's a crummy feeling to see a family member in pain but feel largely helpless to stop it.  I so hope that our smart team at Northwest will figure this out soon!

On a much happier note, we had a pretty good night and morning up until now.  I had the pleasure of staying at the hospital with my mom last night (girls night!).  We watched the Golden Globes and she ate her first real dinner in a week: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and zucchini.  She fell asleep early and slept most of the night!  Can't say the same for myself, but that's what coffee is for, right?  I have never been so happy to hear someone snoring; as soon as that laryngeal metronome started up I smiled knowing she was temporarily free from pain and worry.  Isn't sleep the best?

We keep reminding each other than in between all the hurdles we've had many small victories.  There were several this morning.  My mom got her epidural out, which is ultimately a big step towards leaving the hospital although it's currently hard to be off those meds.  She also got her catheter out, allowing her to feel much more like a normal healthy person.  And right now she's even disconnected from her IV for a while.  That means no tubes in her at all!  She and Daniel just left for her third walk of the day, and it's great to see her moving around totally unencumbered by an IV pole.

The second best news of the morning, if you ask me, is that her nurses cleared her for eating any food on the hospital menu, and they totally have Macrina Bakery cookies her!  Nice one, Northwest!  I ordered some molasses ginger cookies "for my mom," but she'll be lucky if there are any left when she gets back from her walk.

And I saved the very best news of the day for last: we heard the word "cure" for the first time this morning!!!  That warrants three exclamation points at least.  Dr. Lee came in this morning and reiterated that her surgery was optimal, adding that "an optimal surgery is the first step towards a cure."  My mom and I were so encouraged by this.  I keep thinking about the day I'll be able to say "my mom had cancer" instead of "has cancer."  I'm confident we'll get there, and so are her doctors.

Still, looks like it'll be a tough afternoon for her.  But as we've all said over and over, I'm blown away by her attitude.  Just now the nurse suggested she teach my mom how to self-administer her at-home anticoagulant shots, and my mom said with complete sincerity, "Oh, that'll be fun!"  I questioned her about it and she shrugged, saying, "Well it gets a little boring around here.  Something to do."  What a cool mom.

OK I'm going to track down a third cup of coffee before I start into my twenty-ninth hour at the hospital.  But I'm not complaining--my mom's been here for about 120 hours and she's staying strong.  I feel bad that we all get to take occasional breaks but she's stuck here full time.

Oh, and I forgot to add that we're not sure about when she'll be going home right now.  There's a good possibly it'll be tomorrow but we of course want to make sure that her pain is managed well and that she's eating comfortably first.

Bye for now, and many thanks for your continued support!

Renee

PS: Special thanks to my best friend Karissa for bringing me a late-night snack of fabulous homemade dumplings last night.  I'm definitely eating better now that I ever did in "real life" :)

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