Monday, January 6, 2014

An apology and my mother is sicker than I am

First an apology, I have excuses but they are lame.  I have missed three weeks in a row of blog posts.  Whatever has been going on in the past I have always managed to put up a blog post for over a year.  Now admittedly some of those blog posts were really shitty but that really just makes it worse, I have not exactly set a high bar for myself.  A couple of crappy paragraphs about a couple of crappy days that is all that was needed.  I know it is sad I broke my streak but alas the new year is a time for resolutions, new beginning, and beginning again what we already began.  Now that the apology is out of the way on to the visit from my mother and why it cheered me up and made me sad.

First fact my mother is now in her seventies and has not been able to drive a car for a while; even greater than that she is getting sick enough that she can no longer be a passenger in long car rides and not in a can not stand being in the car with you kind of way but the I can no longer handle the pain for all the usual old person kind of reasons way.  Second fact is I am moving for my health not in the euphemistic way like an ex-wife wants to kill we kind of way but in the literal I could have more oxygen in my blood at sea level than living on a mountain kind of way.  Those two facts came together so when my mother called to say she did not want to make the trip up after Christmas she had planned I told her this might be the last time she would ever see me in person; this was not in a trying to lay a guilt trip on my mother kind of way but in a factual kind of this is the way it is kind of way.

I did convince my mother to make one last trip to see her prodigal son before the demise of one or both of us.  What I had not realized in the absence since her last visit in the race down the sick road to see who dies first my mother has passed me.  If my mother does not see a doctor soon she might be taking the checkered flag on the race to death, I do not think she has many laps left in her even if she does see a doctor.  So when I say my mother is dying it is not in that Waiting for Godot tree of life behind us way but in the real palpable not long for this world kind of way.

Mother has never taken good care of herself.  In her mid to late thirties a hernia was diagnosed above her belly button.  It was small and they said she should get that taken care of sometime in the near future with a quick corrective surgery to close the hernia.  Fast forward about eight to ten years and my mother is literally pushing her intestine back through the whole in her abdominal wall.  As a child I thought this was a completely normal and acceptable home remedy.  It turns out it is not and after some not emergency but definitely urgent surgery my mother had a quite extensive operation to close her hernia.  There was large piece of mesh that was installed in a lengthy operation because her hernia had grown so large.

Another one of my favorite memories is that my mothers menstrual cycle kept getting longer, don't worry I will make this one much quicker so read on if you are brave.  By the time my mother was in her late forties or early fifties she was menstruating the majority of the month and at one point passed out from the loss of blood.  She had problems with menstruation for about ten years as I recall and I do not know the details other than she had another urgent surgery to remove her uterus.  I say these things to let you know my mother avoids taking care of her medical issues until it is urgent and if she had her wish she would not deal with them at all with one important caveat, she loves over the counter pills and will abuse those like nobodies business and I wish it was not my business.

That was a lot of build up and here is the payoff.  She is sick, so sick I am having trouble finding any humor in it.  It is obvious that she has congestive heart failure, swollen legs, water blisters, cough, diarrhea, fatigue, muscle weakness and the list goes on and on.  I am not a doctor and I could be wrong but it is obvious something is seriously wrong even if it is not heart failure.  If it is congestive heart failure it is so sad that she will not see a doctor.  There are some easy things that could be done to help improve the quality and quantity of her life.

Since I have run out of options for treating sarcoidosis I have become focused on quality of life.  Part of why I am moving is just that to improve the quality of my life.  Even if the only benefit is that I can get rid of and delay the further need for supplemental oxygen that will be enough.  I have digressed to talking about myself which admitted is my favorite topic but back to my mother.  At the end of my mothers visit I told her I thought she had congestive heart failure and that I know that sounds scary but you can live with it for years and if she would get some treatment it would really improve the quality of her life.  I also told my mother that this is the first time it was obvious to me that she was much sicker that I am.  I may not have mentioned this in the past but my mother does like to compete in the who is the sickest contest and my quick forfeit and acknowledgement that she is the clear winner in the sick off did take her a back.

I have not had the best relationship with my mother over the years and I think any objective observer would say my mother was not a good parent but even with that being said she is my mother.  I have come to a point in my life where I can say I love my mother and I would like her suffering to be minimized as much as possible, hopefully to the point where she could enjoy what is left of her life.  It was good to see her and I am glad she cared enough to visit me but I am sad to see her so sick.  The roles have been reversed and I did feel like a parent and I also felt that my mother was going to ignore my advice.  No sarcasm intended I hope I am well enough to travel to her funeral.