2021-03-14 Designated Daughter

The saying “Hurry up and wait” is often attributed to the military but I think is also quite appropriate for the hospitals and medical care. Nothing like waiting around all day for something to happen or change and being disappointed because nothing happens. And why is it that the waiting and nothing is also somehow exhausting? It makes no sense. 

My mom has a tube up her nose and down her throat and she was sure that when the doc (finally) came in yesterday in the late afternoon she was going to get them to take it out. Of course the opposite happened. He basically told her it was a slow process and would take upwards of 72 more hours to see real progress to help her predicament. 

Her predicament becoming more complicated every damn day. Her predicament being cancerous tumors lining her abdomen, a partial bowel obstruction, and now a large amount of fluid building up around her lower abdomen. 

The doc showed us a comparison of the cat scans last night, and the changes that have developed in just a few short days. Of course the build up of fluid is going to make her obstruction more difficult to resolve. I have to imagine all that pressure is making it worse. 

I’ve had limited exposure to medical complications in my life. I’ve never witnessed some of this. And let me tell you it’s pretty gross to think about a tube sucking the contents of your GI track out through the nose. It’s disgusting and smells horrible, but it’s the most non-invasive way to clear a person out (when the opposite end is not working). 

I think they are going to try to drain some fluid out of her today. It’s strange for me to say I will know more when my husband wakes up. He knows the surgical oncologist that’s in charge of my mom’s care at the Med Center. From Med school I think or maybe early in their respective careers. They talked on the phone last night but it was too close to the time I was just out of it. 

Out of it meaning that my unexplained exhaustion plus having a big meal when I arrived home (with a glass of wine), had lulled me into a sleepy state around 9:30pm. They talked as I was taking my tired brain to bed. If Jim gave me an update after that call, I don’t remember it. Right now I wish I did. I wish I knew what last night’s CT showed and what the plan for today is. 

It’s still pretty early and I’m dreading going back to the hospital. I was awake at 4:30ish and up by 6am. My mom texted before 7 and I’m currently on the treadmill (of course). 

*** 

I think my mom has a high pain threshold but very low tolerance for extended discomfort. When my grandma (her mom) passed away she pretty much said she didn’t want to “go out like that.” Withering away in a hospital bed, losing control of physical capabilities and her marbles. I get it, but what else can you do? 

After the consult yesterday and seeing the CT on the screen, she became convinced that this was it. It was just enough evidence to solidify the fact that treating all of her issues was not only going to continue to be unpleasant (to say the least) but it was also not going to end anytime soon. 

Even if the obstruction is resolved in the next 5 days (with or without surgical intervention), she’ll be facing 6 months of chemo and eventual surgery in her abdomen. After the doctor left the room she pretty much told me she was done. Like “done done” and ready to check out of this life. What the Universe am I supposed to do with that? 

And why me? 

When my grandma passed, my mom made me promise that when the time came, I would help her out. But this is different. She’s otherwise healthy and enjoys life. She has a lot of friends and enjoys her book club and her dog and bird and going on trips. She can still do all that stuff when she gets better but she doesn’t see it that way.

She said she’s satisfied with the life she’s lived and has made peace with herself about all the bad things she’s done in her life. She’s also recently found a new belief in God. This was news to me. She’s been an atheist for as long as I can remember. 

It’s really challenging to talk a person through treatments and expectations when they don’t want any of it. So now I’m not just the designated visitor.. I’m the one responsible for convincing her it’s worth it to go through all this shit so she can feel better and keep living her life. 

I mean, I know what I promised her years ago but that was all hypothetical. What am I supposed to do? 

Again I ask.. why me? 

We’ve never been close. She’s so much closer to her youngest daughter and their mother/daughter experience was much better and more supportive than ours ever was. 

Growing up my mom was always so preoccupied with the other parts of her life and never had time for me. I was a very lonely kid. My parents were divorced and I lived with my mom but my primary role was babysitter. I had two younger sisters—8 and 16 years younger than me. I was an “easy” kid who was quiet and got good grades so easily never the priority. It sounds terrible but I feel like I never had the love and help and support I craved.

I left home at 18.. or rather I was kicked out because my mom chose to side with her husband in an ongoing conflict between him and I.

I moved in with my dad but that didn’t last long as I got married and escaped my situation completely when I was 19.

After I left home, I never looked back. And never had support from either of my parents in anything I went through as an adult. Yes, they showed up to celebrate holidays and birthdays but that’s about it. 

So why is it that I’m now in charge of both of them? 

I clearly have a chip on my shoulder. Good gravy!! 🙄

Jim says I have to be the person because I’m a good person and it’s the right thing to do. So after a lifetime of my parents doing the wrong things I have to suck it up and do the right things??!! 

Whatever. 

It’s now 8am and I’ve got 10K steps and should probably just quit lamenting.

Peace out, 

~Miss SugarCookie

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