Monday, December 13, 2004

The Silver Lining

I'm not calling the family situation Cancerpalooza anymore, since it's gone way beyond cancer at this point. Suggestions welcome.

When I last updated my faithful readers, Mum was going in for her second surgery, and I was leaving on a jet plane for Chicago. Here's the latest:

Mum is having a rough time recovering from the second surgery. In the end it was, surprisingly, more invasive than the first, and they found a tangerine-sized fibroid tumor while they were in there. But they've tested everything again, and she has been declared cancer-free! Also, when they tested her ovaries, they found that her o's have been producing too much estrogen her whole life, which can (and did) cause endometrial cancer, which can (and did) cause fertility problems (hello Miracle Baby!), and which can, but hopefully will not, slightly increase the risk for breast cancer. They're gone now, so they'd better stop with the mischief!

Dad had to have a cardioversion on December 7 to shock his heart into a regular rhythm. This caused him to go into congestive heart failure on the 9th. He went to the ER, spent a few days in the hospital, got one of his meds switched. Now he's in this oddly unstable condition until they figure out the proper dosage of the new meds, which leaves him with fluctuating blood pressure and other unsettling feelings. AND he can't travel while they're observing him, so the Christmas trip to Chicago is off. Thank God, because I really didn't want them travelling while Mum was recovering, but she felt obligated. Now the choice is taken out of their hands. And as a bonus, they get to go to Denise's wedding! Mum would never choose the wedding over her parents, but I know she'd been disappointed to miss it.

Nonna was released from the hospital and sent home, where they'd set up a hospital bed in the dining room and hired a day nurse. On Friday, December 10th, while Mum was out picking Dad up to bring him home from the cardiac unit, my uncle calls her to say that he's driving from the office to the hospital, but he doesn't think he'll make it there before Nonna dies.


Just what Mum needs, right?

And I got out of a meeting to find a similar message on my voice mail.

Nonna had been vomiting and delirious, and she couldn't breathe. The nurse thought it was really bad, and she was rushed to the ER. Turns out she had a pulmonary blood clot, which they're treating. She's still in the hospital, and should be home again soon.

And my uncle told my poor mother, as if she doesn't have enough to deal with, that now that she's not coming to Chicago until December 28th, he doesn't think he'll be able to take it, and he's going to have a nervous breakdown.


How DARE he?!?! She doesn't have enough to deal with? It's not like she's going on vacation instead of coming out to help. Anyway, for years she's been trying to get my grandparents to move to Boston and live with her, so she could help take care of them, and they've always refused beause they like their freedom and their own space. In fact, my grandfather wants her to buy a condo near him and move to Chicago to help him out, as long as she doesn't live with him and cramp his style.

Can you imagine? If this is the family she came from, it's a miracle my mother is anywhere in the general vicinity of sane.

I told my mother to bring Dad's medical records with her when they go to Chicago after Christmas, so that if anyone questions her reasons for not coming sooner she can rub them in their faces. Also, I reminded her that when Dad's mother was in and out of the hospital during her final months, he had a heart attack. So if her brother ever brings up the threat of nervous collapse again, she should mention dad's heart attack. So he has something to strive for.

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