Mom got a visit today from two home care workers, part of the medical services plan. When she was in the hospital last time, they strongly suggested that someone visit her to “see how you’re doing”. Floyd and I understand it’s a good idea, in case Floyd needs respite to go shopping or go to an appointment, or if Mom needs help adjusting her meds, but she really didn’t think it was necessary. I was in classes and came in just as they were leaving. I asked a couple of times for specifics – “What did they talk about?” “Nothing.” … Well they can’t very well just sit and stare at the walls for 45 minutes. I take it they were just seeing how she was doing.
Mom’s diet and quantity are both pretty limited these days. There are lots of foods she doesn’t like anymore, and her appetite is limited.
She’s taking medication to improve her appetite. It’s working, but she still doesn’t eat much. The foods she previously liked, like peas and carrots … kidding! She’s always hated peas and carrots. That’s kind of an inside joke. We go to a restaurant, and she asks what vegetables they’re serving. If it’s peas and carrots, she tells them to keep it. Smitty’s is one place that does substitutions. They bring sliced tomato and something else instead. Anyway, pretty much everything she previously enjoyed doesn’t taste the same, so she just doesn’t enjoy eating.
So I bought some protein powder.
That did not go over well. It acted like more of a laxative than anything. Extreme proteins, like eggs for example, have never agreed with her. But she is drinking the juice concoction I made, which is good, just so long as it’s not mixed in with this protein.
Mom likes her orange juice, a lot more than the Boost non-milk-based drink (“Boost juice”). But an orange, especially one that has been juiced and now comes in a carton, is not a whole food – it doesn’t give full nutrition. I suggested a couple of weeks ago that I could make a drink with protein, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, electrolytes, etc. that the body needs. She balked at the idea because “I just don’t want it, that’s all.”
Last night I asked what fruits she likes and pushed to the end. “And…? Anything else?” Floyd would mention another fruit. Peach, for example. “I don’t like peaches.” “You eat peaches from a can all the time. You like them.” No solid conclusion to be made on peaches.
Today I mixed it up anyway – everything except the protein powder – gotta go shopping. She drank it and, at the end, scraped up the pulp from the glass and said, “I’m eating it because it’s expensive. Isn’t it?” “Yes, but you should be eating it because it’s good for you,” I offered. I hope this takes because it’s a bit more nutrition in her, and every little bit counts.
I was away in BC for 5 days and came back yesterday evening. Being absent for a few days, I noticed that Mom’s voice is really low and hard to hear. She just can’t push the volume out at all. She often asks Floyd to fill in when she gets winded telling a story. She’s obviously struggling for lung power and doesn’t have the capacity of even 2 or 3 weeks ago.
Mom is now on Tarveva seven days per week. The cancer has grown in volume and size considerably, according to her last CAT scan, so the doctor strongly suggested she use the cancer drug every day. As a consequence, she’s more tired than before and lays down several times a day.
In her conversations, it seems to me that Mom acknowledges that things are quite different now (since the fall several weeks ago when she broke her ribs) and that she knows she doesn’t have years like she once believed.
Last Thursday Mom and Floyd got a walker from the Canadian Red Cross.
Mom complained that it wasn’t as the doctor suggested – that it was all free – but that it was in fact by donation. As well, you don’t get to keep it. It must be returned to the RC when not needed. The RC suggested keeping it for three months. Mom felt that there’s a lot of misinformation given by the doctor and that she was talked into getting this walker.
As it turns out, she doesn’t really need the walker. It’s too cumbersome for use in the house. She’s better off using her office chair with wheels. Floyd pushes her around on it wherever she needs to go. She’s had it a few days now and thinks it’s really not useful.
So they’ll take it and the bath chair back, save the donation money, and buy a shower chair for $60-or-so from Shoppers Drug Mart or someplace.
Mom went for a blood test today. Routine, I guess. But this time they took two vials. “I can’t believe it,” she says.
There’s also an appointment this coming Friday to see the doctor about her CAT scan that she had done in the hospital. We’ll post something when we know.
I installed a short grab bar in Mom’s bathtub. It’s only about 1.5 feet long, but it might be useful for when actually showering, like when sitting down on and standing up from her bath chair.
Here’s Annette’s new health blog. It’s an “upgrade” from previous versions. Sorry about it being offline for so long. I’ll try to keep a tighter rein on when the server being up and running.
I’ll backdate all entries previously posted on the old web. All new entries should be after this one.
Floyd is gone golfing with Jeremy this morning. I’m here the kitchen table with my breakfast attending to Mom.
She’s been home a few days now. She’s tired most of the time. “I don’t understand it. I wasn’t tired in the hospital. I expected to be good when I got home. But I’m tired all the time.” I suggested she’s tired because she’s getting exercise. She just laid there in the hospital. She only got up to go to the bathroom.
She’s not on any pain killers now. Her back isn’t sore this morning. She and Floyd have their set way of doing stuff.
- Floyd gets up.
- Floyd puts hot tap water into two cups to warm them.
- Floyd goes for a walk, sometimes to McDonald’s for a coffee.
- Floyd gets home.
- Mom gets up.
- Floyd turns on the coffee.
- Floyd microwaves half a muffin and pours a coffee, microwaves it, and puts a plastic lid on it for Mom.
- Mom writes down stock market numbers from the TV (BNN – Business News Network, I think).
This is how life is. Not bad.