Sorry I've been gone so long. It's likely I'll be gone even longer, because these days I don't have the energy or gumption to post.
I'm in school full-time, scrambling to finish my BSN. Work has been really, really bad lately--so bad that management has had to come in to do patient care because we're so busy and so short staffed--and it's not even cold and flu season yet!
And, on top of that, my mom, who has been fighting stage IV colon cancer with metastases to the liver (and probably lungs at this point) has taken a turn for the worse. She decided to stop chemotherapy after the last round was completed, saying at this point she's more afraid of the chemo than she is of dying. She did OK for a while, but now is deteriorating rapidly. She's got ascites and her legs are swollen; she's not eating much, and has lost so much weight that she looks like a pregnant skeleton wearing Uggs boots. She's not yellow...yet. She's not having trouble breathing...yet. But she's very tired, and sleeps most of the time, and doesn't have the energy to do much.
What's even more awful about this is that, as some of you may remember, my mom is a nurse, too, and is aware of exactly what's going on with her disease and body. She is also a terrible patient. (For a long while she was hiding how bad she was doing from me--my sister came for a visit and told me mom's legs were swollen. She always wore long skirts and dresses in front of me so I couldn't see how bad they were. When I confronted her, she said, "I was hoping you wouldn't notice.") It's pretty unfun. I know she's feeling pretty bad because when I tentatively brought up the topic of hospice ("you know, mom, for later, just so we can have some resources in place eventually") she immediately agreed and wanted it set up right away. She also gave all control of her finances to my sister, which is a HUGE thing for my mom--and she did it without so much as a blink.
So we had a meeting with the home hospice nurse yesterday, and I have to say that MAN is that program fantastic. My mom is going to get everything she needs, right at home--and if there's something she needs that can't be done at home (palliative paracentesis, for example), they get her a bed in an inpatient hospice for a few days and then it's right back home. No ED visit, no fear that she'll be admitted to a regular hospital.
Even with hospice in place, the next month or so is going to be pretty bad. Every time I go to visit her, I'm so afraid that I'll find her in her bed, gone. Part of me, though, hopes for that--that it will all be over, quick. The rest of me knows that this might end up being a long, sad haul for all of us.
I'm just so relieved to have a nurse who is experienced in these matters on the case. She has the knowledge to be able to tell me what's going on and maybe even what to expect, which is something I need--because my sister lives 500 miles away and is pregnant, and requires extra planning to get her here to say goodbye...eventually.
Ugh, this sucks.