Saturday, October 4, 2008

She's Gone

I promised more info about the bad news in the last post. Here it is.

A month ago, my mother was planning to come down and visit us at the end of this month. Drive down in her RV, with the dog.

Two weeks ago today, she called me up to tell me she was sick, and they'd found growths in her lungs and liver.

Things went downhill from there. The growth on her lung was small-cell lung carcinoma. The liver growths were metastatic.

I arrived here yesterday afternoon. She recognized my sister and me, and apologized for not being good company. (She couldn't say much. She wasn't in good shape; her liver and lungs were both swollen, and her diaphragm was caught in the middle. She was on hourly morphine.)

This morning, she was in worse condition. The morning bloodwork showed her potassium level was way up. They put her on various meds to try to bring it back down. The morphine dosage went up, and they moved her to a room where they could put her on cardiac monitoring.

It wasn't enough. Her potassium levels kept going up; her body was breaking down. They could try the meds again, but the next step was dialysis; if the potassium levels didn't go down soon, her heart would go. My sister and I discussed it, and read over her advance directives. She didn't want to be kept alive when she was clearly in a terminal condition. It pretty clearly qualified at this point, so we told the doctors to keep her out of pain.

We kept her company for a while, then went to get some dinner. When we came back, her body was still there, but it was clear that her spirit wasn't. We went down to the chapel; within a few minutes, the nurse called to let us know she was gone.

1 comment:

D&B said...

Something told me this morning to check under so I did. For whatever reason, I had forgotten that your Mom had told me this, years ago.
In reading your blog, it pretty well said all that Karlanne had already told me.
We (Dick and I) attended the memorial service for your Mom, held here yesterday; in Maine.
It was a wonderful service. Velma had done a wonderful job, both with having the stone engraved and with the gathering afterwards.
Your Mom had many friend, on both coasts, so she was blessed in that way. She was also blessed with having both you and Karlanne as children. And she adored all her Grandchildren, even though she didn't get to visit often. They were in her thoughts daily, believe me because when she and I talked (which was often) she would tell me all about them
She was very proud of you Brad, as she was Karlanne. I mean, really proud of allthat both of you accomplished. At least she lived long enough to know that about you.
She is and will be missed a lot.
Our Heartfelt Sympathy to you Brad. Betsy and Dick (Knight) friends in Maine