She’s not herself anymore.
Six weeks ago she was talking, walking and making plans to conquer the world. Today, she sits in a hospital bed confused, not knowing who is whom or why are all those people going to see her. The decline was steep, relentless and ruthless. First the seizures became more frequent but the convulsions didn’t herald their arrival; she’d laugh for a few minutes, stabilize, and then cry for a few more. The seismic activity in the brain matter slowly destroying all the memories edified throughout the years. My sister flew in to figure out what type of aftermath we were dealing with. Her brain looks like San Francisco post 1989 earthquake.
The doctors scramble to adjust medications in an effort to save whatever information is still available. It is possible that her shutdowns are permanently causing damage to her communications centers, in which case her chances of recovering are smaller with each passing crisis. Blame the process. By the time we finally start chemo and radiation there may not be much mom left to save. We are already looking into long-term care options with 24/7 support. This situation is way above our pay grade and although the Colonel had contingency plans, she missed this whole scenario.
Timing is everything.
Between family and friends we have split her at home and in hospital care. Day and night nurses were hired to cover whatever shifts lacked volunteers. Coordinating from my location in the Pacific Northwest has been a challenge but thus far my sister has taken the command with flying colors. Twenty nine years ago mom was giving birth to her. Six weeks ago this same child would have to mentally prepare for a life without her. It’s not fair, but life never is. We need my mom to stabilize in order to get the chemo and radiation treatments that could extend her life and improve its quality.
I would not wish this on my worst enemy.
Just when we were losing all hope that she would recover, her communication skills started to return. First, we heard her state her name and age clearly. Little by little the names of nephews and nieces were recited as if they had never been forgotten. When she recalled my sister’s name, her brain scan registered seizure activity. Panic set in. Could knowing sis is there triggering her? Same thing happened when she remembered my name. 🤔 Tears stream down her cheeks every time a tremor hits. So very out of character yet completely understandable. Being trapped in your own consciousness doesn’t seem enjoyable from our end, let alone hers.
Moments of lucid clarity make me uneasy. This uphill battle can end at any moment, especially since the cancer is aggressive and most likely spreading to adjacent healthy cells. Whatever is attack next could set back all the progress made. The fact that she is on industrial strength medications doesn’t give us much solace. We fight today to win tomorrow, to gain some ground and protect what’s left of her recollections, emotions and motor functions. The extended family amd friends pray for her swift restoration. I’m caught between preparing for the worst and expecting the best possible outcome. This is new uncharted territory for all of us. We don’t know what’s right, and what’s easy anymore.
The armor is starting to show a few cracks, however, we plan to go down swinging, broken pieces and all…