When it rains, it pours

Posted by on May 13, 2011

Wow. Two posts in a week. This has got to be a record for me. It’s been ages since I posted this frequently on here.

So indeed when it rains, it really does pour. With mom going in for her surgery this week, we got the word on grandma a few days ago. It was not good news.

Pulmonary Fibrosis is the official diagnosis. From the way I understand it, it’s the scarring of lung tissue which is not reversible, and is in fact a terminal condition.

Mom said she went in to visit her and grandma was just not herself. She was sort of rambling and hallucinating quite a bit. Her speech was somewhat slurred and, her eyes a bit droopy, and she seemed confused. Mom spoke to the doctor who gave her the full lowdown on the diagnosis, and indicated the grandma would never be able to live alone again, and that she would either likely remain in the hospital long term, or be placed in a permanent care facility as fulltime care by a family member would not be advisable. The doctor also indicated that she could have a week, two weeks, a month, or six months left. There’s no real way to know.

I had originally intended to stay clear of the hospital. Although I have a lot of fond memories of my grandfather, the last memory of him I have is him in his hospital bed, unable to speak, his breath gargled, and just not the man I knew. I did not want to end up seeing grandma like this. But, I knew that I had to go see her and I am actually glad I did. She was in better shape than I had thought, but much like what mom said, she’s awful confused. In fact, I’m pretty sure she has no idea what she’s in the hospital at all. But, she did try to speak a bit but there’s serious confusion and slurred speech. I would almost say that perhaps she’s had some kind of a stroke but I really don’t know.

Louise, Derek, and the kids are down for the weekend and Linda will be here on Saturday. Louise is planning on being down as long as she needs to be. I am glad that mom will have some help, but at the same time, I am more worried about her than anything else.

The reality is, a week ago, she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, and then a couple of days later, she finds out her mom is dying. All the focus right now among the family is going to be on grandma and mom’s own situation is going to get lost in the mix. I know it’s a bad situation with grandma but you know, mom’s also got some serious things to deal with and she needs family for herself, not just for grandma. Unfortunately, the way my mom is, she’ll tell everyone she’s fine and be strong to everyone, when I know that there’s the part of her that’s terrified. I need to try and make myself available to her, and to the rest of the family, as much as I can.

That brings this post to me. How do I feel about all of this? To be perfectly honest, I came to the realization the other day that with mom having cancer, the threat to her life is very real. It could take her just as quickly as it has many others, and with the stress of dealing with her own mom being terminally ill, I’m sure that can’t be helping her own cancer. How does that make me feel? Pretty shitty actually. It makes me realize that if grandma were to pass away in the near future, and if mom’s cancer takes her out at the same time, that means I would have lost all the remains of my blood family within just over a year. My dad passed away in May of last year. My grandmother is likely to pass away within the next few weeks/months, if not earlier. Hopefully mom won’t be going anywhere but the threat is very real.

It all of a sudden became very real about how the closest people in your family really can just drop off like flies at a moment’s notice. I’m not a pessimist and I am sure mom is going to be here for awhile. She’s a fighter and I know she wants to stick around to see her grandkids grow up. But there’s that tiny part of me that knows that for the first time ever, I’m really being faced with the realities of death.

Grandpa passed away 10 years ago this September and that was the first real family death I ever experienced. It was hard but we pushed through it. But within the last 4 years, my step-father, who might as well have been my dad since my real dad wasn’t much of one, died; My real dad passed away last year; And now this year it looks like I am going to lose my grandmother as well. Throw in my mom’s cancer threat and it just seems to be all hitting a bit too close together. Is it better to get it all done with at once, or to spread it out over time? I’d like to think over time would be easier.

Regardless, the end result is that all I can do is hope for the best, be there for my mom, and my family, and take care of my own wife and kids. Regardless of who passes away and who sticks around for awhile, family is still family, and it’s at times like this, I realize that I am SO fortunate to be close to mine, and to have them around to support me and my own family in getting through this. I cannot fathom what it would be like to go through all of this alone.

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