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Please Pray for my Mom

Mar 26, 2009 - 18 comments

I haven't been around much due to everything going wrong in my life.  Aside from my own medical issues, my husband was laid off in late February and still has no work.  The only good news is that he has one very good prospect in the pipeline.

My mother has been in ill health for a number of years with severe scoliosis and a spine so damaged she's bent over at nearly a 90 degree angle.  How she's managed to walk, do her laundry and get her own groceries is unimaginable to me.  Mom's way of dealing with medical issues is to deny their existence.  She refuses to do anything to help herself or ask the doctor for help.

Nearly 5 years ago, her back issues got severe enough to imepede her mobility, so she had an MRI done.  Her spinal cord was nearly crushed in two spots of the lumbar area, and nearly every disc from L1 to the mid-thoracic region was ruptured to some extent.  She was ready mentally to have surgery, but routine blood work showed she was anemic so surgery was canceled.  In the intervening years she has religiously taken iron and the doctor monitored the condition.  The highest she ever got was a 12 but it's always bounced around somewhat below that.  IF I remember correctly, the surgeon wanted at least a 15 count before doing surgery.

A couple days ago Mom saw her family doctor again and tried to get him to understand that she can't hardly walk around her home now and can no longer leave her home.  I've been running her errands and doing the shopping, etc.  The doc was having a bad day I guess - the office was packed with flu cases and she had to wait over an hour, which is very unusual for this doctor.  He didn't understand the severity of her case and barely paid attention to what she was saying.  He did make an appointment for her for tomorrow morning with a cardiac doctor, saying that with her high blood pressure she had to pass the heart exam before surgery can even be considered.  Mom was pretty po-d about that, but OK.

This morning, the nurse called Mom.  Apparently Mom's anemia is severe at a 7.5 and the doctor wanted her to go directly to the ER.  Well, Mom went off her nut with that news - understandably so.  The nurse put the doc on the phone and he finally got it.  He backed off the ER business once he was reminded about the cardiac doc appointment tomorrow.  So, he's sending the results to the cardiac doc and we'll see what we'll see in the morning.  I will not be at all surprised if Mom is admitted to the hospital immediately, and truly believe it's necessary.

Mom demonstrably has no internal bleeding, and since she's faithfully taken high doses of prescription iron for over 4 years, where are the red blood cells?  I'll say it out loud: I think she has leukemia.  Can someone tell me the name of the leukemia "flavor" that is chronic?  I vaguely remember that such a thing exists, but can't remember the name.  I think there are also any number of metabolic disorders that cause severe anemia, but my mind is in such a whirl right now I can't think straight.

My husband and I are taking mom to the cardiac doc tomorrow.  As much as Mom detests the walker I bought her years ago, she's going to have to use it.  There is no way she's able to walk the long hallways in that professional building, and since it's not a hospital there are no wheelchairs available.  The walker we have has a seat that folds down so she can sit down as needed.

Mom finally "gets" the wake-up call that's been ringing for years.  For the first time, instead of being angry and in denial, she sees that her life is about to change drastically.  She's going to lose her home along with her mobility, and perhaps her life.

Because my husband and I live less than 2 miles away, we are the ones who will take the brunt of Mom's issues.  I have a brother and sister in town but they're 20 to 30 minutes away and they all have full-time jobs.  They'll help where they can, but the writing's on the wall.  Another brother lives out of state and has Parkinson's so no help there either.

I am just so scared.

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203342 tn?1328737207
by April2, Mar 26, 2009
I'm so sorry you are going through this right now, Jaybay. I will pray for your family and that you can experience God's peace in this troublesome time.
Prayers and blessings to you.
*Hugs*
April

611067 tn?1458591483
by HelpinUtah, Mar 26, 2009
I'm also sorry to hear your are going through this - it's not easy.  All you can do is be a support for your mother and hand the rest over to God and let him be your strength right now and of course, post here for support too!  I will say prayers for you and your family and especially your mother!  Please let us know how her appointment goes tomorrow!  

Hugs & Prayers,
Janet

Avatar universal
by BS4C, Mar 26, 2009
Maan i have back problems but i cannot explain the pain ur mom is going through!!! Whatever the situation is God is the True medical healer & i will keep you & ur family in prayer God bless u bs4c bold!!!!!

599170 tn?1300973893
by Cherie762, Mar 26, 2009
Your Mother seems to have deep inner strong self esteem and or faith, this will be helpful to her.I will also pray for you and her,,,,,a saying that was my step Moms favorite comes to mind "Don't borrow Trouble"   you may be wrong..its possible you dont know until you verify it with doctors twice!!!! God Bless YOU

82861 tn?1333453911
by Jaybay, Mar 26, 2009
Mom has a strong sense of denial.  Already she's calling again and convinced the tests are wrong, the doctors are wrong, she won't have to go in the hospital on a Friday because they don't work on weekends ... the usual.    I'm just keeping my mouth shut and hoping the doc tomorrow gives her hell, because that's the only way she'll listen.

Speaking of denial, this story illustrates just how far out into fantasyland she'll go to ignore medical problems.  In 1993 my father went to the hospital with a small bowel obstruction.  After surgery, the surgeon told us he had severe gallstones and lots of scar tissue.  I could sense by the look on his face and his demeanor that he was holding back.  A few days later, Dad was fully obstructed once again to the confusion of all the doctors involved, so they sent him home.  Can you imagine?!  Then the pathology report comes in showing adenocarcinoma of the gallbladder. In other words: terminal cancer.  Mom filtered that information to us kids saying, "They only found a few cancerous cells.  That report is meaningless.  He does NOT have cancer - his intestines just aren't working yet!"  My sister and I were in complete shock and called the family doctor - same one Mom uses now.  He told us the truth that the prognosis was extremely bad, and Mom said he was lying.

Well three weeks later Dad was back in the hospital where they opened him up from stem to stern, installed an ileostomy (small bowel) bag, and closed him up.  THAT was when she finally faced it.  Three months later he was gone.  

It's this kind of mindset that has allowed my mother to suffer through ungodly amounts of back and leg pain for years with little complaint.  So she waited too long and I have no doubt whatsoever that she is not a surgical candidate and never will be.  The very thing she so dreaded, being in a wheelchair in a nursing home, is staring her in the face.  If the force of her personality were directed in a reasonable direction, I would welcome it.  The fact is that she changes facts to suit herself.  I'm so glad DH is going with us tomorrow so I won't once again be told that I didn't really hear the doctor say X Y or Z.  She still insists that I made up everything regarding Dad's initial diagnosis out of thin air - even with my brother and sister backing me up.

675347 tn?1365460645
by ginger899, Mar 26, 2009
Oh Jaybay, this is tough. There's a likeness with my mother, who was very much the same until she got dementia, now she's just on another planet! She had bad bad rheumatoid arthritis....absolutely refused to use any kind of walker to help her about, and my brother and I bought her three different ones! In the meantime she was struggling around the house, bent at a similar angle to your mom,  grabbing hold of funiture, doorways. etc and declaring that she "certainly didn't need one of those walking-frames!"
She couldn't hear properly either. Everyone had to shout at her. I was always kind and gentle with her, but lost it one night when my throat was sore and my voice lost from shouting. I told her it was d**m selfish of her to keep denying these things that with a little help from technology, could be solved instantly, and that she was wearing everyone out with her stubbornness! "I don't need a hearing aid!!" she used to scoff, while everyone went hoarse.
Now it hardly matters, and strangely, her hearing seems to have improved. But what you say to her might as well be in Serbo Croatian, and the answers you get back might as well be in Swahili!

Anyway, about the anaemia.....there are so many types, and so many different causes. It doesn't HAVE to be leukaemia.
She could have an absorption problem in the gut (which hinders the absorption of Folate and Vitamin B12) This is known as FOLATE DEFICIENCY ANAEMIA. Or it might be that she just doesn't get enough in her diet. Some older people don't eat right, or enough of the things they need.(For instance, my mother thinks one small spoonful of spinach equals one 'portion'....etc, and that will be the ONLY greens/fruit she will eat all day.) Or if she is on any meds, sometimes they can prevent the absorption of Folate and B12. I know you said she's been given iron, so perhaps I'm way off here and she does not have Folate def. anaemia, but iron def. anaemia instead


There is an autoimmune anaemia too (autoimmune haemolytic anaemia)
Malabsorption can be caused by coeliac disease. (Gluten allergy)
Rheumatoid arthritis can cause it.
Hypothyroidism can cause it.
Drugs/medications can cause itEspecially anti-inflammatories/aspirin/anti-coagulants/alcohol

Remember, considering she's cussed stubborn and denies health issues, she could have had something going on under the surface for years! And kept ignoring any symptoms.

Poor lady, anyway. My thoughts are with you and your family. I'll pray for you all.
It's nice to see you back anyway!

765775 tn?1366024691
by Red931, Mar 26, 2009
My thoughts and Prayers are with youand you mom Jaybay.

My mother is the same way. It takes an act of God to get her to the doctor.

82861 tn?1333453911
by Jaybay, Mar 26, 2009
Many thanks for everyone's good wishes, and I can't tell you how much it helps knowing that I have company in misery.  So Mom isn't the only crazy old battleaxe out there after all.  ginger, your Mom and mine are nearly the same person.  Mom's mind has been going slowly over the past 10 years.  Short term memory is shot more noticeably than long-term, but that's fairly typical of old age.  Her hearing is fine, so at least we don't have that to battle - yet.  That one is in my mother-in-law's court.  She deaf as a stone and also refuses a hearing aid.  The irony is that her older brother was totally deaf and liked to turn off his hearing aids because of the feedback and whining.  My MIL would start yelling at him to "turn on your d*** hearing aids you old fart!"  LOL!

I intended to go to bed early tonight knowing tomorrow will be an ordeal.  90 minutes later here I am online and unable to sleep.  I know exactly what will happen.  I've gotten calls from family all evening from various family members, and Mom is spinning and spinning and spinning further into fantasyland.  She's decided she will refuse to be admitted if the doctor says she needs to go in, and furthermore, won't go in on Monday either - even if it's just to receive a transfusion that is obviously needed.  "I don't feel tired.  I don't need it."  Shoot, I wouldn't be surprised to hear she's canceled the appointment by morning anyway.

ginger, I lost it with Mom just like you did in the aftermath of hurricane Ike here.  We had no electricity, and she refused to prepare.  Denial again.  "That storm won't come here."  Refused to let us bring her supplies either.  The next morning we're faced with tons of debris and Mom was already calling everyone to get straight over and clean up her yard.  Thank God my sister and her family took care of that.  They had very little damage and their power came back on the next day.  Day after the storm a front came through and flooded us.  The water service went out.  The phones were out - land and cell lines, and we had no way to leave.  Hours later we got the cell messages Mom left.  She was in a terrified panic for someone to get over there and bring her water, which a cousin managed for us.

After two more days of no power, but water service restored, Mom started to seriously lose it.  She freaks when the power goes out because her Sacred Schedule is upside down without it.  She had no food, and refused to open her windows.  She sat inside in that hot box with nothing and filled it with cigarette smoke.  We would open windows for her and she'd close them right away.  We brought her food every day but she didn't like this, didn't like that, wouldn't eat or couldn't eat, and spent the rest of the time burning up the phone lines with beotching that nobody would help her.  I seriously feel for the utility workers.  I know she called them every hour with angry words - she takes it personally that other people had power and she didn't.  Forget that the entire city of 4 million and 7 million including outer areas had no power.

My sister and I decided Mom needed to go to her place where power, water, TV and everything else was available.  I knew it would be a battle, and it was.  I finally just started packing her and the cat up and arm wrestled her into the car.  Yes, I am the damned child.  Mom lasted a day and half before screaming at me to pick her up and take her home.  She wouldn't listen to reason.  No power.  No food.  No grocery stores open yet.  "Well isn't that just a bit important?!" she screams at me.  By God her grocery day was coming up and they'd better be open.  Three times I begged her to stay put another day or two.  Finally degenerated into me screaming back at her about how selfish she was being with millions of people in far worse condition.  She hung up on me and pitched such an awful fit she scared her own grandchildren.  Slammed doors, screamed and cursed and made a huge scene.  My poor sister....

DH and I finally had to drop our own restoration efforts (still no power at our house either) and managed to find a generator for her that would run a fan and the refrigerator.  The only way we could allow Mom back home was with some kind of power source.  It took hours to set up and get running, and I spent hours getting rid of spoiled food in the fridge and freezer and wiping years of nicotine out of the interior.  Yes, the interior.  By the time my sister got Mom and some fresh food to the house we were all ready to strangle her.  As soon as Mom walked in the door with the stupid cat, she was happy as a freakin' clam.  Forget we had to go over there twice daily to refill the generator, and change the oil every 24 hours - she got what she wanted and that was all that counted.  We actually left the house making comments to the effect that if she opened the windows this time she'd be gassed - and maybe that wouldn't be such a bad thing.  

When it was all over, all we heard about was how helpful the Mexican next-door-neighbor was to her by taking out her trash, and that her family did nothing for her.  Until now, I have not been back to my Mother's house.  We talk on the phone, but I just could not sit in that house and pretend none of that happened.

Like I said, I know pretty well what's going to happen tomorrow and it won't be pretty.  Do I continue to let her make irrational medical decisions or get into another useless screaming match?  She knows she has the right to refuse treatment and intends to use it.  In the meantime, I get to be the one to take care of her every need and whim and frankly, I can't keep this up.  My younger brother, the Favored Son, has medical power of attorney and absolutely zero ballocks.  He won't ever use it no matter how crazy Mom gets.

OK.  Sorry to bend your eyeballs this long.  Guess I'll take some more benadryl and try to get a little sleep.  Yeah right....

675347 tn?1365460645
by ginger899, Mar 26, 2009
Sleep?? Sleep is for geeks.
I'm not asleep either, and should be. It's 4am in UK now!! 5 hours shut eye again!
Oh gosh, that made me laugh! In a tragi-comic way. I'll blame you now for keeping me awake!

I don't know. Don't know what to do. It's not only because she's stubborn (and she's about the stubbornest person I ever heard of!).....it's because she's scared? Perhaps.
Yes it's monumentally selfish. But if there's any hint of dementia going on, she won't even be aware it is, and then you have got your work cut out that is for sure.

My mother smokes everything up too. Not being judgemental here. I smoke in moderation. But she'll happily sit and fog up her world, with one ciggy after another. I tell her "Mama, you need oxygen as well as smoke. Everyone needs oxygen as well" "What do I need that for?" She says. "Because I can't afford any more bleach for the walls" I say.

I hope things work out a bit tomorrow :)

552394 tn?1224298283
by kitnkate, Mar 27, 2009
First thing I am doing is praying for you. I understand and can tell you I have been there with my Father with cancer and now my 77 year old mom is having health issues and its terrible to watch. I think you are a very wonderful human being. With all of your health issues and pain it makes that so much worse to tend to your pain. I suffer nearly the same as you do with 2 colon resections adhesion and the story behind it. Please know that you are doing a great thing. It seems the one that have less to start with always meet the challenge with love and great care. May you know that prayers as being sent your way and I care.
Love,
Nancy

441382 tn?1452810569
by Ghilly, Mar 28, 2009
OMG, Jaybay, I am SO SORRY to hear this!  You poor thing!  With everything you've been going through it's not enough, now you've got THIS to deal with!  I will keep you and your Mom in my prayers.  I know it's easy for me to say, but stay tough and hang in there.  I know you are thinking "leukemia", and from what you have said, as much as I hate to say the words in this case, I agree with you.  However, I had a great uncle who was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 75 years old and he lived to be 92 with it.  He had to have two or three almost complete blood transfusions along the way, but he lived with it, and he lived quite well, so please don't ever give up hope.  

I haven't been able to be here as much recently as I usually am because first we had a string of bullwinkle happen here at work, then DH got sick, then I got sick, and then starting Monday we almost lost one of our kitties to a urinary tract blockage, so between being busy, being sick, and following a cat around praying for even a drop of pee to materialize I have had an awful three weeks.  

Drop me a note with your email in it and I will email you my phone number.  I am a VERY good listener and the best part is because of my hours I stay up all night long, so I am available to help with those sleepless nights.  Hugs to you, my friend.  You and yours are in my prayers.

Ghilly

82861 tn?1333453911
by Jaybay, Mar 28, 2009
*-*-*-*-/


See the above characters?  That is what is left of an hour-long post I was just finishing until the dam dog hit the keyboard.  I am beyond crushed and can't write it all again.  I'm heading to bed.  This week has about done me in for the rest of my life and my two do-nothing siblings will get theirs tomorrow.

My ever grateful thanks for the prayers.  I can tell you they're working and things are not as black as they looked before the appointment.  Certainly more procedures in the near future, but some light at the end of the tunnel.  I'll check back in when I recover from my dog's destruction.  I wouldn't believe it, but after this week obviously anything is possible.  I swear I won't even think about leaving the house tomorrow!



Avatar universal
by suzi-q, Mar 29, 2009
Jaybay,  I just caught up with these posts....I am so sorry to hear what you are going through....did the doctor say anything all about Leukemia?  My mom had leukemia (long story) but it is the WHITE blood cells that go out of control...not the red.  Could she have Thallasemia (I have that) it is a chronic anemia...I hope that whatever the news is, it is treatable and on the mend.  I am so sorry you are having such a tough time right now..Hang in there.  You are in my prayers.

390388 tn?1279636213
by Me967, Mar 29, 2009
Jaybay Hey.  Sorry to hear everything you are dealing with.  :-(  
I know when my Gramma was in the hospital, you helped me threw **** with dealing with the family and understanding the craziness of it all.  Mainly it was just knowing that friends/people cared on here was a big part.  I know dealing with the economy, and the family both is very hard for me too now again.  It really sounds like you have your hands full now.  I will keep you in my prayers.  Take care and hang in there.  (Hugs)     Amy

675347 tn?1365460645
by ginger899, Mar 29, 2009
My dog does things like that too. She switches the TV to different stations, or just switches it off.  She speed-dialled a friend once, and panted down the line, fit to scare him.

Hang in there Jaybay...........

Avatar universal
by RONINW5, Feb 04, 2010
FEAR IS THE WORST THING A HUMAN BEING HAS TO LIVE WITH. IF I COULD WAVE A WAND AND TAKE AWAY YOUR FEAR, I WOULD. I WISH I HAD SOMETHING FUFILLING TO SAY, OR SOMETHING I KNEW WOULD MAKE YOUR MOOD JUST A LITTLE BRIGHTER, EVEN FOR A MOMENT. ALL I CAN TELL YOU IS THAT I LIVE IN CANADA, I DONT GO NET SURFING AND I HATE BLOGGING ABOUT HOW AWESOME I AM OR ANY OF THAT OTHER ****. YOURS IS THE FIRST STORY I FELT I WANTED TO SAY I'M SORRY YOU ARE AFRAID, I WORK AS A BODYGAURD, SO I KNOW ABOUT FEAR, NOT JUST MY CLIENTS, MY FEAR AS WELL. THIS MAY SOUND SO ******* STUPID BUT BY ADMITTING TO MYSELF THAT THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH FEELING AFRAID, AND THAT AS LONG AS I DONT GIVE IN TO IT, IT WILL NEVER CONTROL ME, I WILL CONTROL IT. I KNOW, WHAT AM I? THE REINCARNATION OF GHANDI OR SOMETHING? BUT REALLY, MY HEART HURTS FROM YOUR PAIN AND FEAR, AND I TRULY HOPE THAT ONCE YOUR ORDEAL IS OVER, YOU WILL BE ALL THE MORE HAPPIER AND STRONGER BECAUSE OF IT. GOOD LUCK,   RONINW5

Avatar universal
by RONINW5, Feb 04, 2010
UM, I REALLY SHOULD LOOK AT THE DATE OF THE LAST POSTING BEFORE I POST ONE MYSELF. YOU SOUND LIKE A SWEETHEART JAYBAY, AND I HOPE THAT THINGS WORKED OUT FOR YOU, YOUR HUSBAND, AND YOUR MOM. BEST WISHES   RONONW5

82861 tn?1333453911
by Jaybay, Feb 04, 2010
Awwww.  Thanks Ron.  And thanks for reading and commenting.  Actually, Mom's situation hasn't really changed.  She will keep on bleeding in her intestines and getting transfused every couple of weeks until she dies.  Nothing can be done to help her lack of mobility and she still refuses to move to an assisted living facility.  Her dementia worsens daily.  Nothing to do but deal with it.  :-\

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