Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mom & Meds

I go to visit my mom at the hospital. The volunteer at the front desk can’t find her on the patient list. So they try on the computer. She’s been discharged. Hmph, thanks for the call.

I head over to the nursing home. And they move her around a lot so I ask the nurse at the desk where she is. He’s all, “(mom)? (mom) isn’t here, she’s at the hospital.” What the what!?

He pulls over another nurse to make sure. Her response? “(mom) was supposed to be back here Friday but was never admitted. She’s still at the hospital.”

She’s not at the hospital and she’s not at the home. And no one knows where she is.

They’ve lost my mother.

My life suddenly turned into an episode of the Golden Girls!

Anyway, after being transferred numerous times and being on hold forever the woman in medical records finds a scrawl on her paperwork. All it says is the name of another hospital. A few more phone calls reveal that she is in fact, there. She’s in the infectious ward. I had to wear gloves and a mask. I don’t know how people do it - the gloves made my hands sweat and the mask made me keep fogging up my glasses.

They’re hoping the infection will clear and the wound will heal within four months so they can perform surgery and biopsy her kidneys. Which is where they think the cancer has spread. Did I mention this already? I don’t remember. Moving on.

They’re vacuum packing her now! Seriously! They’ve stuffed the wound with sponge and then, literally, vacuum packed plastic over it. They clean it out and re-seal her every three days. Science is amazing.

She’s still thinking she doesn’t want to do chemotherapy. But she’s feeling fine. Bored as hell but fine. I bring her word search books because she loves them but those only fill so much time. I keep offering to bring her books but she says she doesn’t have the attention span to read right now. She’s asked me to smuggle in a few pieces of See’s candy for Mother’s Day. The woman has eaten hospital food for six months.

Six months. And her abdomen has been split open almost the entire time. It’s still so surreal to me that seven or eight months ago she had a fairly normal life. And now she can’t walk or even sit up straight; she wears diapers and uses a catheter; and she’s lost almost 80 pounds. It’s just…weird. I miss her so much. I miss seeing her every day and just being able to walk downstairs to talk to her. I even kind of miss her driving me insane. (As mothers tend to do.)

I saw my psychiatrist and she changed my mood stabilizer. She says it should help with the depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Unfortunately there’s no generic and the only samples of it she has are time-release, which won’t work for me because of the gastric bypass. I had to shell out $180 for them. Thank god for tax money. These costly little fuckers better make me sane! Come onnnnnnnnnnnn Seroquel! You can do it! She also upped my anti-anxiety medication. I was on such a low dosage and panicking so badly that she quadrupled it. I go back in a week to check in with her.

The insomnia is especially annoying. In the last three nights I’ve gotten a combined total of five hours of sleep. I am so fucking tired. The Ambien stopped working maybe a month or two ago. I can take two or three and have no results wherein, before, I would take one and fall asleep mid IM and phone call. It was hilarious – I’d wake up with my hands still on the keyboard and a long row of ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss in the IM box. I was so desperate that I bought over-the-counter sleeping pills in the hopes they would work. Still no sleep. They do relax my brain and calm me down a bit. But they make my leg (and sometimes arm) muscles ache really badly…which is a weird side effect.

I admitted that I’d been suicidal and she asked me if I needed to be in the hospital. I know she genuinely worries I’ll commit suicide. Much more so since my dad’s death. I said no. The answer would have been different a month ago. The only reason I didn’t check myself back into the psych hospital was because I owe them money so I wasn’t sure if they’d even take me! But I feel okay enough now to not need that. And hopefully I’ll feel even better soon.

I think a lot about the past 12 months. The 22nd will be a year since my dad committed suicide. 365 days. “Nightmare” is really the only way to sum it up. It was also an amazing year. Dating a lot, tons of sex, falling in love, going to Portland, having friends who loved and supported through the all the shit… But the bad? Was pretty fucking bad! But, you know, I have a feeling the next 12 months will be amazing. It’s going to start with meeting a rad online friend. Instead of being alone and thinking too much/blaming myself, I’ll be having an adventure. I need an adventure. I hope for a lot more of them this next year. The pictures will be epic!

Sometimes I look around my room and find the weirdest combination of things I can. And wonder what they would say about me to a stranger if I just dropped dead and was unable to clean up. Currently? A bottle of Astroglide and an empty urine specimen cup are sitting on top of Maude dvds. Tell me yours!


  1. Seroquel is one of the few meds that has worked great for me. I have to be on a really high dose (800mgs now because 900 was toxic to me) but it made a huge difference. I'm on several other meds as well but Seroquel has been a huge help.

  2. I certainly can't top that group of strange items in a room. But I am glad that you are thinking of funny things again and expressing yourself so well.
    Wow, your mom is awesome....I can't imagine how she is coping with it all.

  3. "Sometimes I look around my room and find the weirdest combination of things I can. And wonder what they would say about me to a stranger if I just dropped dead and was unable to clean up. "

    I obsessed over that after my friend died. In fact, I probably do to some extent now, even though its going on to the second year in November

  4. I have left something for you over at my blog. =)

  5. Keep a vigilant eye on yourself with seroquel. I had pretty severe internal bleeding from it. I didn't know my ovaries had filled with blood until I got catcher's mitt sized bruises all over my thighs and back, which led me to the doc.

  6. Be careful with that Seroquel! I was in a research study on it and it did horrible things to me. It did stabilize my moods and it should help with the insomnia considering I was sleeping up to 13 hours a day and still felt tired. It would knock me out within about 2 hours of taking it. Plus...I gained over 30 lbs while on it because it makes you crave sugars and carbs like nobody's business. I was eating a bowl of Honeycomb every half hour. Granted people react differently so maybe for you it will be great, but jus keep a heads up on it!

  7. May 22nd is my birthday. *sigh*

  8. I hope things start looking up for you, H. And I hope you know that you are so so so SO entertaining EVEN when your life isn't going well, even when you're worried and anxious and sleepless.

    I have the "line of ssssssssss" across my computer screen all the time! I fall asleep while reading Facebook, while writing emails...I also fall asleep on buses all the time, and have even carried an alarm clock with me so I'll get off at the right stop.

    Many hugs!!