Saturday, August 28, 2010

A lazy Sunday afternoon except it's Saturday

When it Rome, do what the Romans do. Today has been a lazy tv watching and magazine reading day. I wanted my last day here at the hospital with my mom to be peaceful. It was! We ate our meals together. Watched disaster movies on the Sci Fi channel. And now we are watching Bridezillas. My mom agrees there is something about watching a train wreck unfold in front of you. It was nice.

For dinner, she had chicken pan pie. I had a nice salad. And for dessert, we had little cups of ice cream that nurse brought us. My mom is a take-no-prisoners type person. Growing up, declarations of love and hugs were given. It was understood that she loved me. It wasn't until I was 22 and in the psych ward for an almost suicide attempt (combination of depression and ED) that she admitted she loved me. I was a grandma's girl so I figured my mother and I were just a lost cause. This is the reason I have lived up to 5 hours away. We have always did well in separate locations. When my grandmother died in 1998, I pretty much figured her funeral would be the last time I would talk to my mother. But my mother wasn't having it. I have to admit she fought hard to stay in my life. It started with a 10-minute call once every two weeks. A 30-minute once a month in person visit. It wasn't easy to get where we are now. But I am glad we both worked hard at it.

I have lived in this hospital on and off for a month. My wallet took a hit but I don't regret it. I got to spend time with my mother while she is still lucid and feisty as ever. I will miss her and the dessert area in the cafeteria. I worry about her and the future. And she worries about me--
MOM--I am going to miss you. You have spoiled me.
ME--You deserve it.
MOM--I worry that you don't eat enough. I know it is hard. Promise me, you'll try harder and see your therapist person.
MOM--I would hate to have to get well. And then I have to kick your ass.
ME--Point gotten.

My mom rocks. She is starting to have trouble holding cups and utensils with her good hand. She said it is a side effect from the chemo. I think it is because of the tumor in her upper arm that I discovered while putting lotion on her arm. It may not be a tumor but it is significant mass of something. It feels good to say this out loud. I haven't told the three musketeers but plan to talk to the doctor in the a.m.

Tomorrow, I head for home. The new boss has laid down some new rules. So I go from one stress to another one. But I'm not worried. What will be will be.

Daily Dose

1. A shout out to the dessert area in the cafeteria of the hospital. Some of the best desserts I have ever tasted.

2. A big thanks to the nurses, techs and others who have been so kind to my mom.

3. Bridezillas is quite interesting!!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

So close but no release

My mom was thisclose to being released today. They are having trouble with getting her pain management under control. I knew this would happen. But my brother didn't want to listen to me. I am just a Godless heathen, who wants her mother dead. Sorry--I needed to get that out of my system. I think my mother is finally starting to accept the magnitude of the situation.

Yesterday afternoon was awful. They were weaning her off of the pain medication pump and IV meds. And had went back to the slow release morphine and some other short-term meds. She ended up in a lot of pain. My brother, being the lovely person he is, was antsy and ready to leave. He drove 30 minutes to deliver some paperwork and wanted to stay 15 minutes. My mom wanted him to stay longer. "I'm tired. I need to go to Wal-Mart."Whine, whine and more whine. It never comes up about me being tired after working 10 hours and driving five and half hours. This is the reality of the situation--things are getting worse. A new game plan is needed. No one wants to listen to me so I am leaving Sunday. I will make the three musketeers (my dad, my aunt and my brother) are ready to step in. She will probably not be released until Tuesday.

I hope I don't come off cold and uncaring. I have tried so hard to tell the three musketeers that she can't go back to just pain pills. The time for that has come and go. I don't want her to be in pain. She needs to be comfortable. Her doctor has stressed this since she was wheeled through these doors 27 days ago.

With all these emotions, there was really only person I could talk to that understood what I was feeling--my husband, who I am separated from. In addition to sharing a beautiful son, we both have mothers who are dying of cancer. Right now, his mother has pneumonia. Months ago, she chose to forgo any life prolonging measures. So we are on the same journey but on different parts of the road. The conversation helped me a lot.

Daily Dose
1. Had breakfast, lunch and dinner today along with three Boosts and a Nutrigrain bar. The hospital switch from Ensure to Boost. My mom hates Boost.

2. The pain management process was so much better this evening.

3. Before I hit the road for RR, I will visit my son. His hugs and kisses are the best medicine.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Seems like yesterday...

I think this is the quietest that JJ has ever been.
It seems like yesterday that I was worried about being a mother. In the beginning, there were a lot of questions on whether I could get pregnancy. My first was a miscarriage and the second was devastating stillbirth at six months. So a lot of concern was expressed on whether or not I could carry a baby to full term. Or if I was mentally stable to handle it. Let me tell you, it wasn't easy.  It was a daily struggle between ED and I. ED tried to break me but I persevered. I found a high risk pregnancy specialist in Raleigh. Once a week, sometimes even twice a week, I would travel an hour to see the doctor. And JJ would always have a strong heartbeat at every check up. And when he kicked, oh could he kick. I still think that he has a future in playing soccer. I remember when I found out that he was a boy. I was so happy. As a tomboy, I could relate more to a boy than a girl. But it didn't matter, he could have Jaime and I would have been happy. On the days leading up to his birth, I wondered would he love me or know the crazy lady who talked and read to him.  Before November 23, 2005, I didn't believe in love at first sight. But that day, I fell in love with a beautiful little boy. And he in love with me. Call me crazy but his little eyes lit up when I said hello to him. He knew my voice. I can remember when he first said mama. It was wonderful. There are no sweeter words.

It was love at first sight for both of us.

Recently, there have been days I have wanted to give up because I don't know if I am strong enough to defeat ED. There is so much going on and sometimes it is very overwhelming and scary. Recovery is hard. And then I look at him.
My little guy, who makes my heart sing.

I have braved heavy traffic, storms and drank milkshakes to maintain my weight so he would be born healthy and strong. I will do anything for him. He will always be my motivation for recovery. I know his future is bright. And I want to be there so I can see where that future takes him. Of course, now I have got to make sure he remains seated on the school bus. Even though, he doesn't like me saying it--he will always be my baby.

Daily Dose

1. My mother is being released on Friday. I can't wait to get out of here.

2. I don't think I can take much more hospital food.

3. Soon there will be more structure in my life.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hospital living--the final week

I am back at Presbyterian for hopefully the final week. My mom should be released on Friday. She will be headed to an assist living facility for rehab. I am so glad. She has come a long way. Twenty-four days ago, I was very extremely worried and scared. I am still worried but a manageable worried.

At first, she didn't want to go to assisted living because she was afraid no one would come to see her. I told her if that was the fear, a facility could be found in RR, where I live. I could see her around my schedule. It put her at ease because it made her realize how much I care about her care and comfort. My brother and I talk on an as needed basis. Otherwise, we argue. I worked an eight hour day yesterday, drove five and half hours and wrote stories for two hours. And before I arrived, my brother complained about inconsiderate I was about the fact that he had worked also and I should have came back sooner. And 45 minutes before I arrived at the hospital, he left to go meet friends. Today, I chilled with some magazines and scheduled phone interviews. This is not the ideal work situation for a reporter but I have managed to make it work.

I was home for four days and it was awesome. My new boss arrived Monday. I don't like change but whatever will happen will happen. I know there are going to be changes. Of late, my life seems to be one big change--my mom, my son going to school, work, life and ED. Change. I hate the word. But it is necessary.

Daily Dose

1. My mom is finally getting out of this place.

2. My little one is doing well in pre-school.

3. Things are finally starting to calm down.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sleep—Best. Thing. Ever.

Last night, I got 9.5 hours of sleep. Good sleep with no beeping hospital machines or nurses coming in the room every hour. I am home. At least until Monday evening and then I drive back to Charlotte.

I have missed my room, the bed and shower. It was nice to work at my desk and see my friends. My mother has improved so much. She is sitting up, feeding herself and just being herself in general. When I left Thursday evening, I was frustrated because my brother had talked my mom out of hospice care. He is still in denial about just how sick she is. I have overhead the nurses and Dr. T talking, things are not good. I think her doctor is waiting until she is stronger before he tells her the complete truth. I see the signs. Her doctor is urging her to go to hospice and to fill out an advance directive. My brother refuses to see the signs and tells me I am being negative. No, I am being realistic. I have to remember that we are two different people with six years between us. Plus, I was there when my grandmother was dying of bone cancer. I am not a pro but I know what is going on. I am trying not to say too much because this is how families can become strained. So I after spending next week with her, I am going home to work for about a week and half. I need some time to process things.

Today, I covered a motorcycle ride and a back to school event. It was hot. I got a little overheated and lost my breakfast. I am happy to say that my appetite is back. I was worried at the hospital because it slowly went away. Before I left, I was living on grilled cheese sandwiches and French fries. I think it was the stress of being at the hospital and being off my routine. I eat at 8 a.m, noon and 6 p.m. I can adjust every so often but if I am off the routine, it drives me crazy. At the hospital, I eat when they bring my mother’s tray—between 8:30 –8:45 a.m., 12:30-12:45 and 5:30-5:45.

Hopefully, my mother will be released next week. I know she is ready to go home. Even though, I secretly things she likes being there.

Daily Dose

1. I found my favorite candy—coconut stacks. Even though, I hate coconut. I love this candy.
2. Having a chance to sat on a Honda Goldwing. This is the Cadillac of motorcycles. It was so sweet.
3. I love my job. It gives me a measure of peace when things are crazy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My baby is growing up

My little guy!!!
 My son starts school tomorrow. My little guy! It seems like yesterday that he was learning how to walk. And now, he is heading for school. What if he doesn't make friends or what if he is scared? I think he will do just fine. He's my little guy.

It's Wednesday here--fried chicken day at the hospital. The most anticipated day of the week here. My mom was so excited that she could hardly contain herself. Thank God for the catheter. 

All morning, she was talking about the fried chicken. Apparently, only a select few know about this hidden option on the menu. My mom is one of the special ones. Also, I learned from a nurse today that my mom is something of a celebrity on this floor. She has defied all odds. Her cancer was so advanced when she diagnosed that she was suppose to have only lived six months. Now it makes sense why so many medical folks are in and out of this room. 

It was pretty decent chicken. She was quite pleased with fried chicken day.

Daily Dose

1. My baby is going to school.

2. My mom continues to improve.

3. New episode of Top Chef.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Not meant for Mondays

Why the chicken cross the road? There are many answers to this question. Unfortunately yesterday, one very nice chicken met an unhappy ending at the hands of a Silly Girl.  I drove home Sunday so I could cover a meeting yesterday. My drive home was quite interesting. It started when I decided to get off I-95 and take the back roads.

On one back road, there was a nice old lady in her yard feeding her chickens. One ran out in front of me. It was a choice of hitting the chicken or being hit head on by an 18 wheeler. I feel bad for the chicken. I stopped and apologized to the lady. Here's the conversation.
ME: I am so sorry about what happen to your chicken. If you want, I can pay for him or her.
HER: Don't worry about it honey. I was wondering what you were going to do. I'm glad you hit him because that truck would have smashed you flat.
ME: Thanks. Well, I should be getting on the road.
HER: Do you want the chicken? It's some good eating?
ME: No. I am on the way to see my mom in the hospital. She isn't allowed to have fresh flowers. I think they would frown on a dead chicken.
HER: Suit yourself. I'm going to have a good dinner tonight.
We discuss the best way to cook it and I was on my way. Thirty minutes later, I was stopped by a state trooper for having an expired tag. With all going on in my life, I had completely forgotten about it. So I have to take care of this before Sept. 17.

All in all, things are going well. My mom is thinking about hospice care. Today, she started feeding herself. I know this is a honeymoon period before things get bad again. I'll take days like this.

Daily Dose

1. I wrote three stories from mobile hospital office.
2. My mom fed herself and did pretty good.
3. Enjoying time with my mom.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Without music, life would be sooooo boring

I am listening to iTunes radio as I write. I think I am going to have to buy an iPod to download all of the music I have on my laptop. Music plays a significant role in my life. Even when I am walking down the hall, I can hear music in my head. My friends don't know this but I have created soundtracks for them. Most of the songs picked for my blog are songs I have listened to throughout the day.

My mom is watching Animal Planet. For now, things are pretty decent. She is getting her groove back because she has announced she is ready to go home. Sadly, her body isn't. Her white blood cells are okay but she is going to need some platelets later today. Physical therapy is going well.

After a long week, I crashed yesterday between helping my mom and trying to rest. I was exhausted. So I read some mags and kept my mom's spirits up. I got my greedy little hands on the September issue of Vanity Fair with Lady Gaga on the cover. The article was great and the pictures were awesome. I think awesome has become my word of the month. Anyway, I devoured the magazine. It was nice to just zone out.

While reading, I came across this section called My Dream. This month featured designer Michael Kors. I decided to write down My Dreams.

My Dreams by Silly Girl
My DREAM holiday is to go to a beach house for a week with close friends and family. Especially  with JJ. He loves the beach.

My DREAM mode of transport is a car with a driver. Sometimes I just want to read or sleep during a long trip.

My DREAM outfit is a cute black Ann Taylor dress with cool pair of shoes and a kick ass handbag.

My DREAM mode of transport is a car with a driver. Sometimes I just want to read or sleep during a long trip.

My DREAM home is in my hometown. It looks like a birthday cake and is three story Victorian style home.

My DREAM is to live to see  my little guy grew up to be a really good young man. Have a successful life and find love.

My DREAM medical cure is for cancer. It has wrecked to much havoc on the world.

My DREAM collection  includes James Dean and Curious George items.

My DREAM dinner party consist of a few close friends with guests such as James Dean, President Obama, Julia Roberts, Dave Matthews, Colin Powell and the music groups--Paramore, Breaking Benjamin and Slipknot.

My DREAM meal is a porterhouse steak with baked potatoes, a salad and key lime pie.

Daily Dose

1. Hospital cafeteria carrot cake--It left me speechless because it was soooo good.

2. My mother is doing much better.

3. Making sure nap time is a priority.

Friday, August 13, 2010

There is no shame in admitting there could be a problem..

It is amazing what a few days make. I went home for three days and worked. I missed being at work, seeing my friends and sleeping in my bed.

The mom I left on Sunday is very different to the mom I came back to early Thursday morning. She is quite chipper and very talkative. She is starting to feel better and eating more. But she is still very weak so she has a physical therapist and an occupational therapist.

I saw all of this because now that she is feeling better, she is more alert and notices everything. She noticed my brother eats everything in sight and I hardly eat anything. She said she hoped I wasn't relasping. I will admit I haven't been eating like I should be eating. I have had to cut back on my meds because I have to be alert for my mom. All of this change, uncertainty and stress is kind of taking its toll. I just don't feel like eating. My therapist has agreed to have an emergency meeting when I go home for a day on Monday. Once my mom gets out of the hospital, more of a routine can be established. Unstructured time is not my friend. The morning time is devoted to my mom. I write for two hours in the afternoon, two hours in the evening and a hour at night.

Until then, I am focusing on foods that I love to help get me through this. The hospital has an amazing grill cheese and french fries. Their salad bar is awesome and their broccoli and cheese soup is pretty decent. I went grocery shopping yesterday to stock the fridge in the room. For the first time in a longtime, I got anxious in the store. A big factor was how unfamiliar I was with the store and the fact it was so huge. We have nothing like this in RR. I brought some water, Kiwi Strawberry Snapple and orange soda. I have to have my comfort soda. I sampled some french fried onion dip. It was AWESOME. So awesome I brought a small tub of it. Along with some sandwich meats and bread.

I know I need to take care of me because I will be no good to my mom or my job. So I am taking it one meal at a time. Anymore than that and I overwhelm myself.

Daily Dose

1. French fried onion dip.

2. My mom is getting stronger.

3. Thankful for having such supportive friends.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The adventures of Silly Girl with special guest Flip Flop Boy

I have returned home for a few days. It was so great to sleep in my bed and not hear machines. I miss my mom but I needed some time away. It is great being back at work. Writing helps to sooth my mind and I can get back into a routine.

I would like to thank everyone for their kind words and support. This is a difficult time. I am trying to take care of my mother and myself.

My friends ask me how am I doing. Honestly, I don't know. I knew this day would come and tried to prepare for it. But it is still hard.

Yesterday, as I am driving on I-95 with the music blaring, I felt like a normal person. For a few moments, I didn’t have a dying mother or stressed about anything. In that moment, I was just a Silly Girl singing badly with her favorite song. I can’t sing. I have accepted I will never be on American Idol or in any type of singing competition. But I will not let this stop me from singing in the shower.
Before heading home, I got to spend an hour with JJ at Wal-Mart. My little guy has embraced flip flops. “They are the best. Thing. Ever,” he said. He was so adorable that I brought a disposable camera to take a picture of him.

My husband and I are working on being more than civil to one another. We have two key things in common. We are both parents of a beautiful boy and we both have dying mothers who mean the world to us. So we are both trying our best. Plus, before marriage, child and other things—we were best friends. The marriage is over but at least we are trying for the sake of JJ.

I am not a Wal-Mart person but I had a great time with him. I think I know every movie he has ever seen. I was quizzed on all of his favorite comic book heroes. It was the best hour. Plus, I got lots of hugs and kisses.

Daily Dose

1. Hugs and kisses from my little guy

2. Trying Brunswick Stew for the first time. I liked it.

3. Being back in my element 

Friday, August 6, 2010

The story of how a very sad day was saved by the sweetest little boy in the world

A visit from my favorite guy in the whole world.

It was not a good day in Room 318. My brother and I met with my mother's doctor. He was very honest and laid it all on the table. I had tried to prepare myself. My brother couldn't do it.

Dr. T told us how strong and resilant our mom has been throughout this battle with cancer. But he wasn't sure how much more of the chemo she could take. He talked to us about the other options--hospice and pallic care and DNR orders. I could tell my brother was about to go over the edge. Then Dr. T estimated without chemo, she would probably have three months to a year tops. She is in no condition to do any chemo. This morning, I watched her put on a catheter and given a medication pump  that constantly drips medicine and allows her to press a button. It was a day I wasn't ready for but knew it would eventually come.

Once the meeting was over, my brother disappeared. Then Dr. T talked with my mother. He admitted to her that he had never had a patient like her who was such a fighter. He mentioned the DNR. She said she wanted my brother and I to make the decision. A decision that my brother and I are divided on. So between meetings, breathing treatments and other things, it was a sad day until my husband texted me and said he was bringing JJ.

JJ, sweet JJ! I have missed him so much. He brought a smile to my face, my brother's and my mother's. He even had her laughing a few times. Of all the accomplishments in my life, fighting my ED to have him was one of the biggest. I love my baby. Oh, sorry, little guy.

Daily Dose

1. Several hugs and kisses from JJ.

2. Chicken and broccoli from the Chinese restraunt down the street.

3. Appreciating the time I have left with my mommy/.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sometimes you slip....

I did something this morning that I haven't done in almost six months. I skipped a meal on purpose. Not because I wanted to sleep in or because I planned to eat it later.  My mom had a bad night that turned into an equally bad day. I was tired, frustrated and I just didn't want to eat. I didn't make myself.  I just laid on the day bed watching daytime television.

My mom fell while I was helping her use the bedside potty. I should have called a nurse to help. I knew she hadn't ate well throughout the day and was weak. While helping, she started to slide and I did the only thing I could do. I put myself between her and the floor. Thank God, there were no broken bones or bruises. I am suppose to be here to help make things easier for her. After the fall, she had trouble breathing which upset her even more and resulted in four nurses and two CNA in the room.  I didn't sleep. Later this morning, the doctor wanted her to have a chest x-ray. All of the movement resulted in her being naseus and throwing up.

I did go and buy some Apple Jacks. They are still on the table unopened. I am disappointed in myself because my mom and all the people on this floor are fighting for their lives. Some would killed to be able to eat and not be sick. And here I am squandering a chance. I must do better. I figured no one would know. My mom knows everything. She maybe sick but she doesn't miss anything.

We had a conversation about me taking care of myself. Plus, she is upset at my brother and dad for just leaving me here to handle things. I defended my brother because he takes care of everything when I'm in RR. My dad has pretty much thrown in the towel. Since I have been home (last Thursday), he has called a few times but visited once. This is rough on all of us. My mom wants me to shine the bat signal in the air. She wants a meeting of the three of us on Saturday. This will be interesting considering my brother is not my dad's son. In 12 days, I will celebrate a year at the newspaper. At that time, I will qualify for the Family Medical Leave. There is a lot to discuss. Plus, I need to get checked out but haven't been able to but I don't want to tell them. I may have to but I don't to do it.

Since my mom wasn't feeling good, I had her lunch so it wouldn't go to waste. Plus, I needed to eat something. It was turkey with dressing and fresh green beans. It wasn't bad. I don't know what they put boiled eggs in the gravy. I had strawberry granola bar and a popsicle  for a snack. So for now, I will take it meal by meal. All of the stress is getting to me.

Hopefully, later today I will get to see my son. My germaphobic husband doesn't want to bring him to the hospital. I really don't feel like driving to the mall 30 minutes away but if I have to do it, I will. I really want a hug from my little guy.

Daily Dose

1. Walking in the rain.

2. Buying an apple from the farmer's market set up on the grounds of the hospital.

3. Having my son tell me a joke that makes no sense and listening to him laughing about it. I'll take the little moments.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Strolling on a Wednesday

I was given a mission this morning by my mom. I was to walk down the street to the Cancer Support Center and find her the perfect turban that stays on while she sleeps. It was nice to be outside the hospital.

There are two types of cancer patients/surviors--those who embrace relay for life and support and those like my mom, who don't talk about it. It was a big step for her to allow me to pick out a turban.  I picked out two cute ones--a leopard print one (it looks feisty like my mom) and a black one. Black goes with everything.

I have been good but my ED is starting to act up. I don't really have safe and fear foods but there are certain l like to eat throughout a week. Well, I do I think. I have certain food quirks:
--I love peanut butter and jelly but only if it is my pb and j. I need to know when the peanut butter, jelly and bread were purchased.
--Chicken salad has all of the ingredients I had if they were served separately--eggs and pickles.
--Mustard and ketchup are yucky. And washing the burger off will not fool me. (I know what you did S.)
These are some of my quirks. I am trying to be more open-minded. I try one new food a week. Thanks to this hospital, I don't need to try any new foods in the real world until mid-September.

This hospital is nationally known for its food. So I am taking it one meal at a time. For breakfast, my mom had blueberry pancakes, eggs and sausage. Sounds good. I like plain pancakes with syrup and sausage links to dip in the syrup. I love blueberry muffins but pancakes are different. I tried them but didn't care for them. So I took one for the team. I ate one of the pancakes because it made a very sick woman happy to see once very sick daughter eat. I don't like like fruit in or on my pancakes. But it made her happy.

I love my mom but being in a hospital room together can be slightly stressful. We haven't lived under the same roof since I was 15 years-old. We kind of snapped at each other early this morning. My mom needed to use the porta potty. I was cool with that until she decided she was going to sit up and watch some tv with me. It was 1:30 a.m. She slept throughout the day. I didn't. I was doing phone interviews, writing stories, giving relatives updates, exploring the hospital and talking with nurses. I tried to nap but if the nurses come in and find my mom asleep, they will wake me up to get an answer. Hospitals are the worst places to sleep. So from midnight to 6 a.m., I expect to get at least 4 hours of sleep. My mom couldn't understand why I was so tired. "It's not like you have to work tomorrow," she said. I bit my tongue and simply said, "I'm tired. I will be napping. Let me know when you are ready to go back to bed."

I am going to use the downtime now to take a nap before lunch comes in. I am not sure what it will be. I deliberately left so my mom could pick out a meal for herself. It is suppose to be a scorcher today so I will be hanging in the room or walking the inside perimeter. However, I did make a special trip to see my construction guys. My hot and gorgeous shirtless construction guys. It's great to be a Silly Girl.

Daily Dose

1. Fresh pineapple is awesome.

2. Shirtless construction guys

3. Tonight is Top Chef. I have really gotten into cooking shows.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Finding my happy place

In life, we all need a happy place. I have several places of those places that calms me. The library is my favorite happy place. There is something about all of those books and magazines that makes my soul happy. I also love going to the college bookstore and seeing all of those pens and notebooks.

But my favorite happy place is being with my son and seeing his beautiful smile. This week has been rough not seeing him and trying to help my mom. I needed a happy place and ASAP. I found it down the street at the building under renovation. Cute, shirtless men with equipment. It does the heart good. It may be hot and humid but I am perfectly content to do my hair, put on my cute flats and stroll pass them. And I'm not the only one. I noticed some women in the high rise across the street watching them.

My little quiet spot on the hospital grounds.
I took a picture of a spot I like to people watch without them seeing me. It's a nice shady spot.

My mom had a craving for strawberries. So I asked the nice lady who brings the food to the floor if I could get some for her. She is so nice. She always make sure there is extra food in the tray for me. For dinner, my mom had New England Clam Chowder and I had a bistro sandwich and a side salad.

Overall, she is getting stronger each day. She is still getting lots of fluids and shots to help increase her white blood cells. I will be here the rest of the week. So I enjoying the time that I am spending with her.

Daily Dose

1. Spending time with my mom.

2. People watching.

3. Enjoying some good food.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Far from an ordinary Monday

My mom had vegetable soup, applesauce and apple juice.

I had a chicken caesar  wrap with fresh greens.
It has been a productive day. My mom worked hard to eat. And whatever she couldn't eat, I ate for her. I took some pictures to share. This was lunch.

Overall, it was a good day. She sat up a few times. We watched a marathon of her favorite show, The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She loves this show. I'm happy she does but it's not my cup of tea.

Below is a picture of hospital room. My brother was stunned by how big it was. His visit was interesting because he wanted me to stay in the room while my mom wanted me to take a walk. I stayed until her dinner came. Then I did my perimeter walk while my brother got called to the carpet. I have ate pretty good today. Probably the best I have done in a long time. I don't count calories or anything. It takes the pressure off. Hopefully, my mom will be released Wednesday or Thursday. Dr. T and her discussed chemo. It is definitely off the table. Which is awesome. Her body needs time to heal.

This is just a portion of the mansion size hospital room.
Daily Dose

1. Had the best grilled cheese sandwich.

2. Taking a hot shower and preparing to read my many mags.

3. Double chocolate cheesecake. Let's have a moment of silence before I eat it.

Without dignity, there is nothing

If anything I have learned from my mom is to keep your dignity and self-respect at all cost. She has lost all of her hair but none of us have seen her without a scarf. She had a partial mastectomy. No one has seen anything or tries to because we want to preserve her dignity.

Today has been interesting. With a ton of fluids, antibiotics and other things in her, she woke up at 4:30 a.m. on a mission--to have a bath. I will admit I was tired but I'm a team player. She had overheard the nurses talking about a patient who hadn't bathed in five days. "I feel decent. I don't want to smell. You can sleep later," she said. After this, she swished with her magic mouthwash. By 5:15 a.m., we were both headed back to dream land when we heard the most saddest cries. A patient was in a lot of pain and fighting the pain meds. My heart went out to her. My mom got a little upset because she felt the nurses could have done more. At 8 a.m., I was awaken out of a sound sleep. My mom wanted us to have breakfast together at the same time. I put on some clothes and headed to the cafeteria.

The cafeteria is a bit overwhelming for me. There are so many breakfast options. I got chipped beef on toast with orange juice. My mom had grits with butter, blueberry yogurt and a strawberry ensure. Now, she didn't eat it all completely but she gave it a try. She is determined to gain some weight. Even with all of the pain and everything, she is so determined. It was nice having breakfast together. Not the most ideal situation but nice. She worries about me and knows when I'm stressed, I don't eat. I have been given a food allowance.

I think I will have a nap before taking a morning walk of the perimeter. My brother plans to come over after work. At that time, I plan to take a long walk and see what magazines I can find. My mother isn't happy with him right now. As I a kid, I enjoyed watching him get yelled at. I saw it as a perk of being the big sister. But this time, I can see both sides of the issue. I'll give them their privacy and a chance to talk. We have a long road ahead of us. And it will be a lot easier if we are all getting along.

I wanted to say thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers. It means more than you will ever know.

Daily Dose

1. Chipped beef is interesting. It filled me up. And I never want to eat it again. Ever.

2. Cute guy in elevator flirted with me. I looked rough and so did he. His mom was the patient having the rough night.

3. Found the Aug 2010 issue of Real Simple. Swapped it for a July 2010 Reader's Digest.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

New things I learned about my mom

This post is going to be long because it has been a looooooooooong day.

My mom is in the hospital. I had the scare of my life when I went to wake up around 11:45 p.m. last night. She was laying there with eyes wide open and not moving. For a few seconds, I thought she was dead. I screamed. She screamed. We had a moment. After that, I realized something was majorly wrong. After a quick confab with my aunt and called to my drunk brother. Yes, my brother used me being in town as a stress reliever. I am not mad or judging him. Being a caregiver is hard especially seeing your vibrant mom reduced to a skeletal pain ridden person. I understand. I just wish I had had some heads up. Once the three of us talked. They bundled my mom up and I prepared for the 30 minute drive to the PRES in Charlotte.

Once there, we discovered my mom was severely dehydrated, low white blood cells count, low potassium, low blood pressure, sores in her mouth from chemo and pain. Despite all of this, she never lost that bit of grit that makes her her. Here is an example.
Mom (to nurse): I'm cold. Could I please have one of those warm blankets?
Nurse: Ms. L, you are very warm and have a slight fever. We would need to take your temperature rectally to determine how high.
Mom (to me): Just put that sheet there across my feet.

It was everything my aunt and I could do to keep from laughing while the nurse was in the room. But once she left, all three of us were laughing. We needed after the night we had had. My mom was admitted into the hospital at 5:30 a.m. While we waited for her room, my aunt treated me to breakfast in the cafeteria. She said she worries about me. So I had two pancakes, sausage links and orange juice. I love dipping links in the pancake. That is some good eating. Anyway, it was nice to have a small break.

My brother is hungover so he hasn't been to hospital. My mom is furious. And she thinks I'm the good child. I'm not. I want to go home. I hate seeing her so sick.

And because her white blood cell count is so low. Visitors are restricted. My son and my nephew can't come. My husband did offer to drive JJ to the hospital so I could see him today. I declined because JJ is smart and will figure out that his mee maw is somewhere in the hospital and want to see her. He promised me, and I believe him, that JJ and I will see each other before the week is over. Wow, I know this was a lot but I needed to get it out. Foodwise, I am doing okay. So far, I have eaten every meal that my mom has been brought. It took a while to convince the nurses that a woman with sores in her mouth, is not going to eat a blt sandwich. It was a pretty decent sandwich. I think my mom was happy to see me eating. I have gotten a half a cup of jello in her and a few cups of water.

I have learned some new things about my mom:

--She is 53 years old. I never knew her true date of birth.
--She is allergic to hydrocodone. It makes her stomach hurt.
--Her driver's license picture rocks. The best picture ever taken by a person. If something happens to her, the picture is mine.
--She is not disappointed about me living so far away. She said I know how to prioritize.
--Had decided there will be no more chemo. Her doctor wants her to do five once a month sessions. "I am done. And he can suck it." Those were her exact words.

Well, I am going to make my rounds--finding magazines and checking out the cafeteria.

Daily Dose

1. I can drive under pressure.

2. I am resisting the strong urge to restrict. She needs a strong and healthy daughter. Now only three pounds separates us.

3. The room we are in is the mansion of hospital rooms. It is huge with tons of space. It has regular chair, a reclining chair and a day bed along with shelves and a mini fridge. I'll sneak and take a picture later. If my mom sees my camera, she will freak.

Happy New Year!!!!

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