Listen

I don’t even know where to start. The days have kind of been a blur until July 12th hit. I think I need to go back further than that. May, I think. It started to unravel in May.

Mom was worried that she had dementia. She has a few family members that have been diagnosed with it, possibly even alzheimer’s before people really knew what alzheimer’s was all about. So, she went to see her doctor to talk about her memory issues and leg pain. I’m not sure how the leg pain got lumped into one complaint, and I now realize that it should have been addressed separately but it’s a little too late now. Anyway, a bunch of scans later a tumor was found in her left temporal lobe. Meningioma everyone called it. Not acting like cancer. Go see a neurologist. 

So, we did. Sort of. We saw the neurologist PA. We didn’t really like her. She made everything about her in that way that does nothing but make me want to scream, “THIS APPOINTMENT ISN’T ABOUT YOU.” She wanted to do a bunch of stuff that later got cancelled. Who the hell needs a sleep study in the middle of a brain tumor? The leg pain did come up and there was a conversation about how little Mom drinks water. As in, she never drinks water. Drink some. See if that helps. And for the brain tumor? A referral to see a neurosurgeon. 

The neurosurgeon appointment was over before it started. I think it is going to take me longer to type about it than time spent in the mans office. We arrived 15 minutes early and we were walking back to the car before the appointment time even arrived. That’s how quick it was. It was basically a This Is What I’m Going To Do appointment. At first, we were cool with that but later questions came up and Mom wasn’t happy. She went back to her doctor. Her doctor cancelled the sleep study and called the neurologist to complain about his PA. Then explained that the oncologist should answer her other questions.

Don’t let oncologist scare you. Radiation oncologist treat tumors, not just tumors that are cancerous. All tumors that are going to get blasted with radiation are done so by radiation oncologist. So, there was a trip to meet with the radiation oncologist. He answered all of Mom’s questions and made sure she understood that this was more important than her shoulder pain. See, Mom had wanted to put off the tumor thing until after she had a shoulder replacement surgery. Yeah. Not going to happen that way. 

The leg pain came up again during this appointment. She had drastically reduced her diet coke intake and increased her water consumption but her leg muscles still hurt. The radiation oncologist made sure she understood that the leg pain has nothing to do with the brain tumor. Nothing more was said about the leg pain.

Then July 13th rolled around. Mom asked me to take her to the hospital because she had accidentally kicked a crate, twice (the first time was on the 12th), and her toes hurt really bad. So, we went to the ER and they kinda freaked out about not being able to find a good pulse in either foot. They asked about circulation problems but no one had ever said anything about her circulation. They thought that she had fractured a couple of toes and sent us home with crutches, a splint, pain meds, and a referral to a podiatrist. 

It was a week before we could see the podiatrist, by that time Mom had purple toes on her left foot and bluish toes on the right. The podiatrist didn’t care about which toes might be broken. He wanted us to see a vascular guy as soon as possible or he was going to admit Mom to the hospital himself. We saw a vascular guy the next day at the hospital.

Blood clots.

Both legs.

Four-and-a-half to five-hour surgery to clear them.

It didn’t work for the left leg. Below the need amputation two days later.

Liver failure.

Kidney failure.

Words like “gravely ill” got used. 

Sister flew into town for about a week.

This is when days started to blur together and time has escaped me.

I can’t really say everything that happened from July 22nd (the day we had the appointment with the vascular guy) to now. It’s all kind of mashed up together. But, Mom is awake now but not entirely coherent. Her liver has come back and the kidneys are working on getting better. As of tonight, she’s still at the hospital but she could be moved to rehab any day now. She seems okay with the loss of her lower left leg and anxious to learn to walk again. She has also realized that she needs to listen to her body. 

Listen to your body.