Almost 10 years ago I lost my Pop to brain cancer. This week I said goodbye to my mother. If you had told me in my early twenties that both my parents would be gone before I hit forty, I’d think you were crazy. You feel like your parents will be around forever.
My mom started getting sick over two years ago. She’s been through some terrible shit. When everything started, she was still working as a nurse doing admissions paperwork at a skilled nursing facility. She had moved in with me for about a year after she moved out from taking care of her mother for three years. She lived with me for about a year until she found an apartment close by. She wasn’t even there a year and things unfolded really quickly. Her doctor had done scans and didn’t really find much wrong. One day she calls and asks me to take her to the hospital because she thinks she had a stroke. They didn’t find evidence. They sent her home. A few days later I had a really bad feeling and couldn’t get her on the phone. I go to her place and she’s passed out on the floor. I call paramedics. This is where everything really goes down hill.
To condense over two years down, I’m going to make this as short as possible.
She ended up with septicemia. Blood infection. Home IVs for months. Then she had a hematoma outside of her hip. Doctor said it could kill her if they didn’t cut it out. So they cut it out. Then later they put several drains in because it wasn’t healing right. Then she ended up with osteomyelitis, bone infection. Seriously terrible infection. The infection ended up breaking her pelvis and snapping the head of her femur off. Meanwhile now she’s on more antibiotics. We’ve had to move her stuff from her apartment into storage and move her back into my house when she’s not at a hospital, or a rehab. During this whole ordeal, they keep giving her blood transfusions. They never tell me that they had found a disease in her stomach making her bleed. Eventually as I sit with a GI after an endoscopy, he asks me why we aren’t treating this disease. I told him I didn’t know what he was talking about and she’s had two different endoscopies and they never mentioned the disease. So we start treating the cause of the bleeding. Now on top of everything, her liver is failing. She has cirrhosis. I think her liver completely gave up with all the antibiotics. The liver was a thing her doctor had first checked when she said she felt sick. The disease in her stomach is a side effect due to cirrhosis.
She’s constantly in and out of hospitals, is wheelchair bound, and has had several hundred transfusions. At one point I drive her an hour to a different hospital system so she can have her infected leg/hip looked at. They agree to go in and clean out the infection. They say that they wouldn’t dare try to reconstruct it because it was so damaged and my mom’s immune system is so compromised.
Things are tough. Being a caregiver was really hard. They do another surgery on my Mom to try and slow the stomach bleeding. They put in a shunt through her liver. It seems to work. She sees a hepatologist in Miami after waiting six months for this appointment and is told that her liver is of no concern at this time.
A while goes by. Things start to deteriorate again. After seeing her primary doctor several times and getting stuck in the hospital much more often, the primary gets a hold of the hepatologist. End up getting an appointment a week later. They look at her most recent blood work and how terrible she looks that day and say they are going to check her into the hospital. They start testing her for a possible liver transplant. They move her to the next hospital after a week.
My mom never left. She spent a month in Miami. She was actually hopeful for the future after not seeing much hope for a long time.
She was in one of the ICU wards for most of the time she was there. They moved her to a regular room when she was doing better. They broke her rib. She almost bled to death that night. They did surgery to stop the bleeding. She never woke up. She was sedated and on pain medication. Her body couldn’t recover. It looked like she was doing better, but then she started to bleed like crazy again amongst other things. We made the decision to slowly remove support because she wouldn’t of wanted to stay on support. Her body just couldn’t take any more.
I saw her awake the day they had to do surgery. She was glad to see me and grabbed my arm and wouldn’t let go. That was the last time I got to talk with her.
At first I was glad she was in Miami. She was where she needed to be. Due to someone’s carelessness, she’s now gone.
I’m absolutely heartbroken.
She was kind. She was funny. She sacrificed so much to take care of us as kids. When she was going back to college for her RN license, she worked three jobs. My parents had hard lives and died way too young.
Here’s a couple of photos over the years:
With my Pop. Late 70s or early 80s.
Me and my mom when I was in highschool.
At universal together several years ago.
I’m sure I’ll add more photos this weekend as I collect them for her service.
If you want to donate towards it, my PayPal is my username at Gmail. Don’t feel obligated, please.
I’m back at my house. I’m trying to hold it together. I went to the grocery store last night and cried the whole time since I won’t have to shop for her anymore. I have an entire bedroom and storage unit of her stuff that I have to take care of. I can’t afford the storage. I also can’t mentally deal with everything right now. I was barely able to type this all out. I think it’s taken me an hour or more.
I’ll eventually be ok. Right now I’m just broken.
I love you Mom. I hope Pop is taking care of you. I hope all the animals ran up to greet you. I know you are no longer in pain. You can walk again.
My brother and I will miss you.
Edit with more photos:
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