If you are in a good mood, then don’t read this.
After being home now for just over 24 hours I can tell you that I am clearly embarking on what is going to be the hardest journey of my life so far.
As some may know my mom fell last weekend while visiting my dad in his nursing home. The door in the unit he is in has a 15 second timer and that was too short for my 79 year old mom to get through the door in time with her walker.
This put her in the hospital on Tuesday of this week. Things looked to be going well with no broken bones, a clean MRI and all other signs pointing towards her getting released by Friday. Seemed to be just another day at the hospital.
That was until we got her blood test results back. They came back with low red blood cells, low platelets and more importantly a fatally low white blood cell count. So low that her choice was to either die or get a transfusion right away. My mom refused the transfusion for a few days until the doctor, myself and my brother who lives here in WA talked her into it.
In addition to a transfusion on Friday they also decided to do a bone marrow biopsy to see why her marrow is not producing the white blood cells the way it ought to be. This requires a needle being injected all the way into the bone marrow in order to get a sample and to give you an idea of how much pain mom is already in (from what we think is caused by her Rheumatoid Arthritis) she said that the biopsy didn’t hurt a bit.
There could be many reasons her white blood cells are low, to include her Rheumatoid Arthritis to prescription pills she is taking to Leukemia. We are waiting for the results.
I am pretty sure though that the results don’t matter to her anymore. Mom has taken her own destiny into her own hands. She is ready to let go. The excruciating pain, the way of life and probably the fact that dad is in hospice are all wearing on her.
When I saw her yesterday afternoon for the first time in 6 months she looked like a skeleton at no more than 70 lbs. Her upper arm is as small as my wrist which took me aback on first glance. She is not eating due to many reasons right now. One, food seems to make her ill, two, she says it all tastes metallic, and three, it requires moving which because she is in so much pain she doesn’t want to do for a bunch of food that doesn’t taste good and will make her nauseous.
Makes sense to me and I am now ready to stop the nagging her to try and get her to eat. Why? Because I have done it for almost a year now from near and far and have gotten nowhere with it. Ok, maybe she actually took 3 tiny bites of a piece of toast instead of 2 because of me nagging but I am fighting her on it every step of the way. That vibe is good for neither her nor me.
But before I came up here to WA I came to terms with the fact that this (not eating) is her way of letting go of her life whether subconscious or conscious. As hard as that is for me, I am ready to be at peace with her decision and to accept it and to enjoy my final times with her vs. yipping the heck out of her all day. We can enjoy thoughts and memories together and maybe I can even get to know her a little better too while I am at it. That is way better than nagging her and trying to force an issue that she clearly does not want forced any more.
Yesterday in the hospital I asked her if she understood that by not eating she will not be here by Christmas time. My hunches were confirmed when she said yes and then went on to say that she is ready to start the journey of her next life.
Do you have any idea how hard that was to hear?! It was probably my saddest single moment in my lifetime. I asked her how I am supposed to do this and mom told me to just think of her happy that she is with her mom again in the heavens above. She is clearly ready to go and it makes me sick. I am so scared. More scared than I have ever been in my whole life.
As hard as that is, I am happy that she is clear headed enough to make these big decisions. She has a fully functioning brain and is very with it despite her rapidly deteriorating body. We know that she is speaking up about something she knows she wants.
She wants this and OMG it is so hard to accept but I will support her decision and enjoy what little time I have left with her at her hospital bedside. Could be days, could be months.
Got to admit though, knowing she will leave this world soon is unbelievable in the worst way of the word. I kind of wasn’t expecting it to go down like this in the end for her. Granted something great and crazy could happen to change things around but if it doesn’t, she will be gone extremely soon which is what she wants and is choosing.
I am going to respect the decision but it cuts like a knife if more ways than I have ever experienced. My emotions are out of control in every way.
Funny thing is mom has ALWAYS only thought of others her entire life and I am very proud of her for finally thinking of herself first. It is sad that she is choosing this for herself but she is done with the fight that it has been for almost a year now. She is weak, she is tired and she is ready to not be in any more pain.
I am SO frightened and scared out of my mind. I cannot imagine how much water loss out my eyes I have had yesterday, all night and already today. This is so hard.
I am now looking at loosing 2 parents at the same time!
I would love to hear from any of you out there - Please send your thoughts, comments, prayers galore, suggestions, ideas and experiences – I really do need to hear from you right now. I am so wrapped up in my emotions of all this that I feel so vulnerable.
The fear is overwhelming and the denial is even bigger.