posted by Mel
Vanessa’s mom has had another major episode. It started some time last weekend. She was in the E.R. on Sunday and got sent home. Back on Monday and got admitted to St. Francis Beech Grove. Eric (V’s little brother) neglected to call and tell us until Tuesday at 6 PM (ah, teenagers). The initial diagnosis was pnuemonia, and we couldn’t figure out why the pulmonologist was telling her she was never going to regain better lung function, needed to be on oxygen for the rest of her short life, and should make arrangements to go into hospice care immediately. We just thought it was another case of his shockingly absent bedside manner– this is the same man who told us she had 2 weeks tops a month and a half ago.
Well, it turns out that pnuemonia was just some kind of placeholder he put in the file until he had time to confer with other doctors and decide on the diagnosis he was really keeping in the back of his mind. If he is to be believed, and we’re not entirely sure that he is, given his behavior and the fact that we have yet to see him or talk to him in person because he never comes around, her lung is necrotizing, and she’s coughing up the dead tissue. That’s right. She is literally coughing up her lung.
Since this diagnosis, if it’s to be accepted, means there’s nothing more the hospital can do, she was released to us last night. We took her home and got her set up with the oxygen delivery service a really wonderful nurse at the hospital– the one bright spot of the whole experience– arranged for us. Vanessa and I spent the night on the air mattress in her living room. Tonight I’m home with the VERY pissed off dogs, and Vanessa is back with her mom.
Peggy is convinced death is imminent, which is different from last time, but we’re not sure if that’s because she really senses its nearness or because she’s so doped up on pain killers that she’s confused and hallucinating. She’s having very vivid dreams that are weirding us out, but again, those could be side effects of the narcotic patch she’s wearing. She can’t take off the oxygen for more than a couple of minutes without becoming very weak, and whatever she’s coughing up, it’s definitely not something that issues from a compromised but otherwise healthy respiratory system.
Vanessa’s keeping the phone numbers for doctors, hospice, and funeral home all close by and, at the same time, trying to behave as though she’ll be here another 6 months. For all we know, she will be. We both worked from her place today, but Monday Vanessa’s planning to go to already scheduled meetings, and I’m heading to work. I’ve got a business trip to New Jersey scheduled for next Tuesday through Thursday, at the end of which I’m looking forward to visiting with Co and Lo. Vanessa has an all day engagement in Illinois on Tuesday. Eric will be here, and, by that time, we might have things set up for a hospice nurse to check in on her. We’ve been on eggshells a zillion times in the past four years with Peggy’s health, and it’s hard to know what to think or how to behave anymore when we get bad news– particularly from a physician we don’t really know or trust. We’re hoping to hear more from her oncologist on Monday.
One thing that looks like it is going on hold– IVF. Neither one of us is terribly upset about this. I’m tired of cramming the majority of life’s most stressful events (changing jobs, infertility, death of a parent) into one year. High stress = crap eggs, and we’ve got enough issues in that department. We’re going to proceed with all of our bloodwork as if we’re moving forward with a December cycle, but it’s highly unlikely that it will actually happen. I am going to go ahead and make us both accupuncture appointments because, even if we don’t TTC this year, I think it will be good for stress management. We need that more than we need to assuage the biological clock right now.