Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The choices shrink

This morning I went with Mom and Tom to the radiation center in the hospital. The radiation tech said we'll do measurements for the mask today (as expected) and treatments start in 7-10 days. Tom said that would be too late. Even starting tomorrow (what Tom had thought) the radiation would have dubious help. The tech got the doctor, who said the earliest treatment could start would be Monday. The doc and Tom stepped into the hall so they wouldn't be talking in front of Mom. Tom came back and talked to Mom a bit. He turned to the tech and said thanks, but no thanks.

We returned Mom to the care home. When Tom and his wife and I got back to the house, she called hospice.

Tom had been mulling the question, if we go through the pain and hassles of radiation, then what? The tumor might be smaller, but not gone. He had already come to the conclusion that the benefits of radiation were small. If delayed the benefits would be near zero.

As we were walking out of the hospital I had two emotions:

* We had just signed Mom's death warrant. Of course, I must think intellectually that the cancer had already signed the death warrant. Even so, it is hard to think this is the end.

* There isn't much Mom left. Mom is worse than I saw her in December. She doesn't talk much. She doesn't walk much. Tom has to do fancy maneuvering to get her into and out of a car. There isn't much life remaining.

We met with hospice people in the afternoon to understand the process and sign forms.

Tom and I stayed with Mom through supper. Mom drank a milkshake (small by restaurant standards) and had a few spoons of applesauce. Since only the tip of the spoon would fit in her mouth there wasn't much on it. By 6:30 she was tired and was put to bed.

I am delighted to see the tenderness and patience Tom shows to Mom. He has been visiting her for a year now and recently has increased his hours with her. It is good to see how he cares for her.

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