I’ve been inexcusably silent lately, and I apologize. I was working on a freelance project, I’ve been sewing a lot getting ready for a craft fair I was in, and I have just had so many ideas to write about I haven’t been able to pin one down to focus on.
Today is no exception. The democratic convention and the quick followup of McCain’s VP nominee announcement have created some great discussion fodder amongst my family and co-workers, and now I’m looking forward to hearing Governor Palin’s speech tonight. Although the only other person with that surname that I know, Michael, is one of my secret crushes, I’m not so keen on her just yet.
However, over the weekend our family has been dealt a blow that has overshadowed much of the political talk. My mom is in the hospital with what has only been determined to be a “mass” on the right side of her brain. She has had some incidents that we had considered to be isolated or related to other things over the last few months. Dizziness, a bout of vertigo that required her to be driven home from work, some fatigue… All things that now, looking back, we see were related. It was just a case of attributing those things to other easily explained causes at the time, but seeing the big picture now with our hindsight vision.
Right now I’m frustrated with the lack of communication my sister and I have had with the doctor, a neurosurgeon, who is “treating” mom. I put that word in quotations because I wouldn’t call the last 36-48 hours a real period of treatment at all.
Mom arrived at the ER early Tuesday morning (around 1am), had a CT scan, and was told there was a mass in her brain. At 8:30 or so that morning the neurosurgeon came in to visit, and told her and my sister who was with her that they would be taking some pictures over the next couple of days. I got there at 9am and Erin went home to sleep. At 11am they gave mom two big cups full of stuff she had to drink to prepare for the MRI that was to happen at noon. At 1:50pm they came to get her for the MRI. Meanwhile, that stuff she drank made her nauseous. So she was going on 36 hours without sleep, barely anything to eat, and a headache. The whole rest of Tuesday went by with no further contact from the doctor. At about 4:30 we asked if mom could get something else to help with nausea since the pill they’d given her wasn’t working. The nurse called down to get an order for an IV drug, and two hours later she finally got word that the doctor had approved it. Then, two full hours later, a nurse came in and gave the medicine to her. It took four hours from request to administration of meds. I was appalled. Finally, mom was able to rest and Erin and I left to get some sleep ourselves.
We did find out that there was some swelling in her brain, since the doctor ordered a prescription for a steroid to reduce swelling. The nurse was unable to give us any further info about it though, and since the doctor didn’t communicate with us either, we just had to speculate about what that meant.
This morning I went in early in case the doctor came by at the same time he did yesterday. But he never showed up, or sent a message or gave us any info about any further tests, so we just sat. Around noon a couple of people came in to take mom for an EEG. We had no idea they were going to do one, and didn’t know why they were doing it, but off she went. I ran over to my office for an hour or so, and Erin went with mom. When we came back together we found out the doctor had come by while she was having the EEG, but had to go back to his clinic. Half an hour or so later he called the room and talked to mom. Erin and I were unable to hear what he was saying, we couldn’t ask questions… I had to stand up and pace I was so pissed. Who calls a patient to talk about a mass in their brain, for crissake!!???
The good news is that there were no other masses found in her abdominal or chest cavities. That means we are not dealing with brain mets resulting from a late stage cancer occuring elsewhere… but we also don’t know what we’re dealing with yet. The doctor has scheduled a biopsy for Friday morning and mom is taking the steroid and another medication to help with a bit of a tremor she’s had in her left arm.
So, that’s what we’re dealing with here for a while. My sister and I are so fortunate that our employers have given us reassurance that we can take the time we need to take.
Although this is in the top of my head tonight, I’m still looking forward to hearing Sarah Palin give me a reason to vote for her. As a creative writer myself, I’m ready to be impressed by what her speech writer concocts. (oops, did that sound snarky?)