It seems like only days ago I felt so badly for Jess. Our moms had been at similar stages and it seemed we were wondering about the same things all the time, even entering nursing homes the same month. Then, her mom passed away and I was certain my mom had several years to go.
Wednesday afternoon, Mom was complaining of feeling "winded." No matter what we did, we couldn't make her feel better. I took her to the ER and they admitted her. After chest xrays, they discovered she had pnuemonia. I was beside myself trying to figure how she got pnuemonia where she's so protected in the "group home."
After a series of chest x-rays, on Thursday morning they told me that she also had lung cancer and it had spread to her thyroid as well. We are still waiting for more tests to know if it quick/slow spreading cancer. But, of course, they aren't recommending aggressive treatment.
I felt like I'd been hit by a truck. I had myself prepared for a slow dissent into many more symptoms of: not knowing, not swallowing, incontinence and on and on. I "thought" I was prepared, but instead I was just shocked!
I still feel numb. I never suspected anything like this. She never smoked, never drank, always took care of herself. I just keep thinking they've made a mistake. She did have a mastectomy many years ago, and they are assuming that it simply returned and spread.
Now we have an orientation for Monday with hospice. It just seems impossible to me. I've struggled so hard to make her money last, so that she could stay in this nice group-home for as long as she was aware of who we are.
I guess even when you think you're controlling things, you really aren't at all. She's been in the hospital since Wedensday and is not eating. They bring her meals, but she has no appetite. After the antibiotics and draining the fluid from her lungs, she had a really good day today. She was happy and cheerful and laughing for most of the day.
She knows me, my husband and one of my brothers. But has no idea where she is or that she is sick at all. It just breaks my heart that we must even consider hospice. She does wail nearly all night, though, crying to go home.
I was so certain when this time came that all memory would be gone and I'm just feeling devastated that it is not. Does that make any sense at all.
I just don't know how I'll do this. It's unbearable right now.
Oh Sandy, I am so sorry to hear all this. Of course you are shocked and devastated. You have done so much for your Mom and have been such a wonderful daughter.
Now you have to be very strong and put on a cheerful face when you see your Mom. I hope and pray that everything works out as well as possible. It is scary that nobody saw this coming, but then, what could they have done? I hope that Hospice has a lot of ideas for you and your Mom, they are well known for making a horrific situation better. You are in my prayers.
So sorry to hear about this with your mom. I can imagine the disbelief after planning for long term care. Maybe hospice can arrange to take care of her in the group home so she will feel at "home"?
My mom had lung cancer and died at 76. She was never sick and it came as a complete shock to us too.
Now with dad having dementia, from my experience as horrible as it was seeing my mother's illness, it was a blessing that it was fast and not this long goodbye. Maybe it's lucky your mom is spared knowing how ill she really is, yet still knows you.
Sandy...my prayers for both you and your mom join the others. I would think that...just as a healthy body can be trapped by this horrific disease...we forget about any other challenges our afflicted loved one may have.
I'm glad Hospice can help ease the burden. They have been involved in my mother's care since before Christmas...and their efforts are greatly appreciated.
Treasure those moments that she knows exactly who you are...and she knows you are there because of the unselfish love she has taught you all your life. Take care, my friend......Pam
Sandy: I'm new here and I don't know your history (it looks like you have been a member for some time) but I felt so bad for you when I read what has happened to your Mom and to you. I can relate to what you are going through in terms of thinking you have things under control and suddenly finding that everything is completely out of your control. You sound like me in researching what will happen next and trying to be prepared and then something like this hits.
As awful and unbelievable as the situation may seem to you right now, the hospice will give you renewed strength. They are very caring and it is the very best place for your Mom to be for her end of life. I wrote a few weeks ago for the first time about my Dad who had AD, became ill with a bladder infection as well as pneumonia and was put in hospital. It was a bad time and it was something completely out of "left field". My experience with hospice was with my mother-in-law two years ago when she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I badly wanted my Dad to go to a hospice for his end of life but his illness was short and he was placed in isolation for yet a third infection, so a hospice was not an option.
May your feeling of despair right now quickly turn to one of acceptance. Enjoy whatever time you have left with your Mom, it will be precious to you in the months and years to come.
Thank you so much to all of you for being there for me. I remember how gratefull I was when I first found these boards. I was a basket-case then, and you've seen me through many more of those moments.
The people from hospice called again this morning before I'd gone to the hospital. I was honest with her and told her that I was simply horrified to put mom someplace new when it had taken so long for her to adjust to the "group home." I also admitted to the despair that it was causing me because I'd never wanted to move her again for as long as she "knew" me. It seems selfish, even to me, but I just wanted her to feel that I was doing my best to make her time pleasant.
Then the lady asked where she had lived, I told her the name of the home, and she said Mom could stay there! They work with "G" all the time. I swear, I thought I'd cry with happiness. I had assumed that "G" didn't keep them if they were that ill.
So it's been a very long day. The Hospice people met me at the hospital, had all the paper work ready. They had already called "G," had oxygen delivered to the home, had mom released and she is "home" tonight.
I have to say, the thought of "hospice" made me tremble. It was always like some sort of doom in my mind. But these people are wonderful. They gave me much encouragement and guidance to endure the next few weeks.
Mom was thrilled to be back home. When we pulled up out front she just squealed, "I know this place. All my friends live here!" I think I've spoken before about Mom's friend there, (Diana), she simply burst into tears when she saw that Mom was back home.
It's a sad sad time for me and I have an overwhelming sense of grief already, it isn't ending as I thought. But the doctor said she would have very little pain, if any, (they're changing her meds to opiates) and she was so happy to be "home" with her friends.
She kept hugging my hubby and me and thanking us for bringing her back home.
Oh goodness this is so hard........
Take care.......all of you........
That's good news in the middle of a tragedy. She is back at the group home where she feels at home. Hospice will do everything they can to make her feel comfortable and to make her passing a good one. Because this came so unexpectedly for you, it is very hard. But you will get through it, and will have peace. My prayers are with you.
i am so sorry to hear about your mom; these diseases are so awful and devastaing, it just scares me; my dad was diagnosed with ealrly onset alzhimers last yr, we are very close and it breaks my heart. i will keep your mom and your family in my thoughts and prayers.
Mom is settling back into the routine of the home very well. I see a little new fear in her eyes due to the oxygen tanks in her room. No matter how we explain them, they bother her. She likes her room so-so and knows that they are out of place and medical equipment.
She had anesthesia for draining her lungs and I had worried about after affects but I don't see anything. She's a little more tired now and unable to be as active. The only obvious thing is the cough, it seems to worsen everyday.
"G" is keeping her routine the same for as much as she can. I did over-hear her arguing with the nurse from hospice, saying she would not stop mom's depression meds and change to the new ones! She said, yes, she is going to die, but she isn't dying now. If she doesn't eat at meal time, they bring ice cream (her very favorite thing) to her room.
I feel so fortunate that we found such a good home for her and people who care for her just as much as I do. They take a stand when I'm too confused to know what to do.
Sandy...you are SO RIGHT about being fortunate to find a good home for your mother! I mentioned once before how much I admire those here who are taking care of their loved one at home..........such a huge challenge. Early on in this disease, life makes subtle changes, but when personalities drastically change and the caretaker's responsibilities multiply...their life is no longer their own. Bless them...bless them...bless them!
We were lucky to find a wonderful Alzheimer's facility for my mom. The caretakers treat each "client" like they are their own kin! I've learned much from these people who respect each deteriorating mind and give needed attention equally! It certainly takes a special person to do what they do...and I never leave without letting them know their value.....p
I'm flying to New York on Saturday and will see my Mom. I'll also tell the wonderful caregivers at the NH how good they are at what they do. They need to hear it. There are so many nightmare stories about awful places. Mom's unit is clean and smells good, the staff is caring and loving. I am so grateful. They never once changed their behavior towards her when she ran out of money and became a Medicaid patient. The same loving care.
I'll try to post from NY and let everyone know how she is coming along.
I'm so glad you'll get to see your mom. Hopefully you'll be able to post from there and let us all know how she is doing. I'm glad she is in a nice place with loving caregivers. That's the most we can ask and we're so grateful when it happens. I agree, I don't think these wonderful people know how much we appreciate them sometimes. I don't always think to say it because most often, I'm so busy coping with something else.
Now, I'm seeing every visit as a gift and more aware of the care she's being given by others.
Martha, have a good trip! Take care! And all our thoughts will be with you.