My new background, supporting role lasted 90 minutes. I arrived in Seattle at 11am PST and went straight to the hospital. It was a relief to see Mom and give her a hug and kiss. It was wonderful to see the rest of my family, too. I listened to what's been going on and didn't boss anyone around for a full hour, until Mom had to go to the bathroom. I couldn't help myself, I just took over. Aaaaaaaand, I'm back.
I arrived right after physical therapy, so I didn't get to watch, but I got a full report: she walked about 5 feet more than yesterday, so she's steadily improving. Even getting to the bathroom is much easier-she has significantly more leg and core strength than she did two weeks ago. Around 5pm, she did another PT session with her physical therapist friend, and was strong again. That she continues to gain strength only shows how strong her will is-her body definitely looks weaker, but she's made of steel.
Lunch was corned beef on rye with smuggled mustard (I was so worried about getting the mustard through carry-on security!) and pickles. Delicious! All of the nursing staff knew I was arriving today and they all knew I was bringing NYC food-obviously, that's been the topic of conversation for a while now. For someone always so thin and health conscious, she sure loves her corned beef. I also brought Dad some very special Monofuku Milk bar treats for him only: malted milk ball truffles. Basically, I packed a suitcase full of food and will be wearing the same clothes for the duration of my stay. Listen folks, I know what's important.
We are still unsure about Mom's next move-where she will go, when she will go, how the treatments will be handled when she gets there. I have a lot of questions and look forward to reprising my role as Aynsley the Hun tomorrow when all of the doctors are there. Not that I'm a terror (much), just that I want all of the information.
Goals for Mom include:
- increasing liquid content. She's been having some dehydration issues and has been on and off the fluid IV. If she can't keep her fluid levels (and thus her blood pressure) stable, she won't be able to leave the hospital
- continuing to eat well and a lot. She's really been intentional about this and I know it's a struggle.
- continuing with occupational therapy and physical therapy and sitting upright. She spent about an hour in the chair today, which is endurance work and very good for her.
As her birthday approaches, we need to come up with a plan for the festivities. We don't yet know where we'll be on the big day, but once we do, we'll need to start making arrangements. We also don't know how she'll be feeling; there's a chance we may start the systemic chemotherapy at the end of this week. I want all of us to get a very clear understanding of what the systemic chemo entails and how she'll feel from it. Another unknown, which, for the time being, I'm okay with.In my two weeks in NYC, I'd been speaking with everyone over the phone and even got pictures from time to time. But still, I was so surprised to see how much weight Mom has lost and how sick she looks. She has aged so much in the last month. And when I gave her my arrival hug, she started to cry. Really briefly, but my heart just shattered. I honestly don't know how I'm ever going to be able to go home again.