Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Queen for a Day

Well, that went well.

Mom's birthday was this past weekend, and my sisters went to great effort to make it one she'll never forget. My two girls and I flew to L.A. to surprise her, as did two other good friends of Mom's. Nurse Sis and I busted Mom out of her rehabilitation center and took her home--the first time she's really been anywhere other than a healthcare facility for a couple of months--to party with her friends and family. Just getting out for a car ride on a beautiful Hollywood day was an enormous treat for her. On top of that, imagine going home for the first time in weeks, even if only for a few precious hours, and having people who loved you waiting when you arrived.

Those of you who've been reading a while may remember Mom's posts last winter about her leaking roof and ceiling: buckets, tarps, and misery. The roof was replaced a while ago; Mom entered her house to find the interior finally as good as new as well. Her home has never looked better. Hero had a new haircut and dandy bow around his neck. In addition, my sisters landscaped the backyard as a surprise--much hard work by Kid Sis. Everything took a lot of coordination and went off like clockwork. The hours passed too quickly before Nurse Sis and I had to take Mom back to the center. She was the happiest I've seen her in...I can hardly remember. Many months if not years.

A nice result of our scheme (which I would have mentioned here before, except there was a small chance Mom might have gotten to a computer and spoiled it) is that Mom told us all that being home reminded her of what she's working for. She's more motivated than ever to build her strength, taper off her medications, and get the heck out of there.

So thanks to my sisters who pulled it together, and thanks to Mom's friends--some of whom flew 500 miles just to be there for the afternoon and flew home again the same day. Mom was overwhelmed with the best kind of surprises and was more grateful than she could describe for all of them.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Weekend Message From Mom!

I (Brian) just got off the phone with Mom, who called specifically to dictate the following message for you:

"Happy Birthday to me! Once in a great while, I feel like I really earned another birthday. This has certainly been one of those years. Wow, 66! And I'm in a rehab hospital, grateful to have enough of me left to rehab.

Sixty years ago, I was in a hospital for my sixth birthday--actually, a tuburculosis sanitarium, to be exact. My year of bedrest had paid off and I was almost ready to go home. But that's another book, and what goes around comes around...even if it's every 50, 60 or 66 years.

Thanks for all your prayers and good wishes!

Love, Mom"

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Thursday: Movin' On Up

Mom's out of the hospital and settled into a nice rehabilitation facility she's been at before. I think she likes being in a place that is both different from the hospital and yet familiar. Her job there will be to develop skills and muscles that haven't been used in a while and regain as much ability as she can to live independently, without needing constant attention from caregivers or my sisters. One nice thing about this center is that Mom can get passes to leave for several hours at a time. In fact, don't tell her, but we're hatching some plans to bust her out very soon.

Mom's mind is clear as glass, her spirit seems strong; all we need to do is get her medications under control and her body in shape, and I think her life could be much better within a few weeks. Still cancer-free.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Beginning a New Week

Brian again. I talked to Mom yesterday and she sounds very good. Sometime in the next few days, we expect her doctors to declare that her acute medical crisis is over and they don't want her taking up valuable hospital space anymore. She'll still need dedicated care and physical therapy, probably at another facility with the staff and skills to help her. Everything is working toward the goal of getting her mobile, self-sufficient, and able to step out into the world again. There's no reason that can't happen.

I'll keep you posted here, and as soon as we can get Mom hooked up to a computer she can tell you about it herself. For now, I think it's safe to say the emergency is over and the hard work continues.

Thanks for all your e-mails and good thoughts, they mean a lot.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Happy Thursday!

...and it is indeed.

I (Brian) talked to Mom last night and she sounds great. She's being tapered off her many medications and was overjoyed that Hero was smuggled in to visit her again. I asked what she wanted me to write in her blog and, recalling what she said back on August 4 ("I think I've turned a corner, except every time I turn a corner I just run into a new road with more potholes in it"), she said:

"It looks like there've been workers filling in the potholes, because I don't see any down this street."

We're all hoping for smooth road for a long while. She deserves it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Tuesday Afternoon

Not much new to report, but I didn't want to leave you hanging. We are apparently nearing the "boring" phase of Mom's Recovery (or should that be "Mom's Post-Recovery Recovery") now. No cancer anywhere, antibiotics working, mysterious symptoms slowly fading.

My sisters have managed to sneak Mom's pup Hero into her hospital room a couple of times, which lifts Mom's spirits considerably. She really loves that dog and, so far, he's lived up to his name.

Out of the woods, with the forecast calling for incremental progress.


Sunday, August 07, 2005

Sunday: Getting Better All The Time

Nurse Sis agrees with Mom's previous opinion that she's turned a corner. The medications seem to be doing their job, the staff is starting to look ahead to toning Mom up with some physical therapy, and she's got a sparkle back in her eye. Mom is still very fragile but definitely on the upswing.

Cookie, Raymond, Lynne and Lorna, thanks for your comments on earlier posts. I'll make sure Mom gets them all. Raymond, my editor and I have talked about listing "Mom's Cancer" with Diamond Distributors and in Previews; it'll happen, but we don't yet know when. The best place to keep up with the book is www.momscancer.com, where I've started a "What's New" page about the road to publication. What's great is that Mom is involved and behind me all the way (I showed her my first printer's proofs during my recent visit). If she weren't, I wouldn't be doing it.

Thanks to all. Brian

Friday, August 05, 2005

Friday Morning

Brian here. Not much new to report but I just talked to Nurse Sis and everything seems pretty stable. Mom had a good night and is getting some tests done today, the results of which will help the doctors fine-tune her treatment. We don't expect any dramatic developments, either good or bad, anytime soon.

Two steps forward and one back: Gradual Progress.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Thursday Noon

Brian again. I spoke to Mom about an hour ago and she sounded pretty good. The docs seem to be getting a handle on her electrolyte chemistry, etc. Nurse Sis is doing heroic work looking out for her well-being. I asked Mom what she wanted to publish in her blog and she said this:

"I'm starting to feel like my old self again. You could say that I think I've turned a corner, except every time I turn a corner I just run into a new road with more potholes in it."

That sounds like Mom.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Tuesday's Latest

Another note from Brian:

I've returned home from Southern California but Nurse Sis and I are keeping in touch several times a day. Mom's having a tough time in the hospital and is becoming something of a medical mystery. Tests aren't turning up much, but we are getting what I interpret as basically good news: Mom's heart, lungs, kidneys, brain and bones are essentially sound. No signs of cancer. In engineering terms, her infrastructure is in pretty good shape. So why isn't she turning handsprings down the hall?

Mom made it very clear to me that she wants her privacy and, most important, her dignity. With that in mind, with all gratitude and appreciation for anyone reading this and thinking of her, I'm not going to post every detail of her travails. She's exhausted and her body chemistry is out of whack, partly due to the medications she's been taking. She's pretty sick and anything could happen... but her doctors seem to see a clear path to resolving her problems and, I hope, turning things around for her quickly.

Realistic optimism.