September 10, 2007
I’m eating my words about Brad. He called me on the morning of his wedding, and let the sweetest message – it made me cry. It’s so weird how feelings can come back… I remembered how much I used to love him, and felt a wave of regret that I didn’t make his wedding more of a priority. Brad got married. And I wasn’t there. But his message wasn’t accusatory – it was simply saying that he missed me, and he wanted me know that he was supporting me through everything with Mama. It was the first acknowledgement by him of her situation… and it made me cry.
Friday, I left work early on a whim to spend the afternoon with Mama…. I called Townville on the way home, and Daddy casually told me that he was sitting there chatting with a rep from Hospice. He scheduled them for a time when NONE of us could be there – except him, the king of the world, of course. And when we have the king, why would we need anybody else? I flew over there, blazed in, and asked her my questions – and it wasn’t even about the questions so much as just getting a feel for her and her organization. I can’t trust Daddy’s judgment, and needed to draw my own conclusion. She was lovely, very professional and compassionate, but I can’t overcome my irrational fear of Hospice and the implications. HOSPICE = DEATH. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to think anything else… and even though I know we’re to that point, I just don’t want to accept it.
Mama didn’t vomit at all on Saturday, and Sunday… very weak, very shaky, but no vomiting. Her bloodwork came back, and although I haven’t successfully gotten a straight answer from Duke about what it means, I did some research last night on the internet to get some “watered down” interpretations. Her alkaline phosphate level is very elevated – the upper range of normal is 91, and Mama’s is 921. It has jumped from 221 in the last month – which obviously shows that there’s something horribly awry with the liver. I don’t think she actually can be considered in “liver failure” yet though – the nausea has slacked off, which seems to indicate that the radiation and swelling of the brain have more to do with the vomiting than the liver. She hasn’t had a treatment since last Tuesday because the machine was down. So today through Friday, and then next Monday through Thursday, and this phase will hopefully be over.
Mama asked the Thorntons to come in on Thursday night and do communion… it was one the most reverent and sacred things that I’ve been a part of a while. Bobby was traveling to Greensboro, and missed it – I really wish that he had been able to be there. Everyone was crying, and I feel complete peace that Mama’s ready to go it that’s God’s will. She has such a will to live and to fight, but it is what it is – we can’t change it, or change God’s mind. I’m just ready to get it over with… if God’s going to take her, I wish that he’d do it quickly, suddenly, without hesitation. Not a slow, gradual, deterioration. It’s just so not fitting to who she is, who she’s always been. God, this sucks.
Oh, and for my most embarrassing story of the day – Aunt Polly sent an email asking for money for her brother to SEVEN of our family friends who she’s never met and doesn’t even know… David Lee, Scott & Anne, Aunt Gin, Aunt Susan, Donny Butcher, Linda, and Rob… oh my lord, I was mortified. I emailed all of them and apologized, then emailed her and explained that the following list of people had no connection to our family, and I knew that she had included them accidentally, and I had already written them and let them know it was a mistake. I’ve had just about enough of her… I talked to Grandma about it last night, and she said that Polly is “mental” – that’s she actually been institutionalized during the last few months. So that’s lovely…. She sent back this long, overstated apology about how she was sorry for any embarrassment she had caused me by asking my family friends to pray for her brother. Delete. Blah, blah, blah, cry me a freakin river.
And Ron sent an email to the entire dept inviting them to a lunch to celebrate “Tew’s anniversary”… it was uncharacteristically sweet… he shocks me sometimes.
Just talked to Duke. They finally called me back… not Felicia, but Marcom’s nurse practitioner. I wonder what happened to Felicia – if she’s just annoyed by me, and that’s why she’s not returning calls, or if she’s dropped off the face of the planet. Don’t know what’s up with it, but oh well, as long as I get my answers, I’m ok, I guess. I’ll be glad when Jennifer picks up the role of dr communicator again…. Daddy manages to garble even the smallest snippets of information. The ALT, AST, and AP are elevated – all are liver enzymes. So it appears that we were too hasty discounting the role of the liver based solely on what Linda said. I should know by now not to put too much stock in what she says, but I just wanted to believe her…. blah. The AP has jumped from 200-something to 921… normal is <90. But the NP I talked to said that particular enzyme isn’t as concerning as the ALT and AST, because the AP reflects the bones as well. I don’t have the blood work, so I don’t know what Mama’s AST and ALT levels were, but based on my conversation with the NP, they had definitely jumped in the last few weeks. So she’s going to talk to Marcom about starting Mama on Xeloda before radiation is completed – she said she would call back. I didn’t even get her name, which is annoying… she said it more than once, but I didn’t retain. I hope she calls me back…
We had invited Michael and Michele to the Clemson-Furman game a few months ago, before all this crap started. We bought tickets online, and at $50 each, I don’t really want to lose them. I don’t feel that excited about the game, but maybe it’ll be good to get a total mental break for a while – just pretend that I’m a normal girl with normal friends going to a normal college football game – rather than someone who’s just rocketing from one crisis to the next. We’ve already committed so I’m just going to try to enjoy it…. hopefully nothing will go horribly wrong while I’m trapped at the Clemson game. I’m really looking forward to seeing Michele – she’s so sincerely supportive of everything, and so easy to be around – I really do miss her horribly sometimes.
And I honestly, really and truly, don’t know how we’re going to make it once Grandma leaves. I think we’ll be able to keep her until next weekend, the 21st – I said that I would drive Grandpa’s van back with Grandma in it if she could wait that long. But after she leaves (and that’s even pushing the amount of time that she can stay here without shedding tears), I don’t know what we’re going to do. Mama can’t stay by herself – she’s feeble, she can’t walk very well, she can’t drive, and she doesn’t need to be alone simply because it’ll let the demons in. I just don’t know how, between me, Jennifer and Daddy, we’re going to split it up.