My mom was released from the hospital and I brought her home and helped her get set up. She could hardly walk and even though she had a state of the art, adjustable bed at home complete with massaging features, a remote control and led lights to light so you can find your slippers in the middle of the night, she was having a lot of trouble getting into and out of her bed. For the first few weeks I was there everyday helping her out. I had to help her make food, do laundry, run errands and shower. She couldn’t bend down which meant she couldn’t wash the lower half of her body and so I had to do that for her. I was angry that they even allowed her to go home alone in the condition she was in. Perhaps a rehab center would’ve been a better choice but o did not know about those until much later on. The social worker on her floor was a total, useless Bitch.
My brother didn’t come by at all or offer to help with anything and either did my aunts. About a month after the surgery my mom had to see an oncologist. I wanted to go with her to the appointment but Aunt Bea and Aunt Debbie already volunteered. They hadn’t done anything else up until that point to help and so I guess it was the least they could’ve done. I asked my mom if she still wanted me to come and she was really giving me the hint that she didn’t want me there. She kept insisting that my aunts were bringing her and that I should just stay home with my son. Looking back I think my mom didn’t want me to know exactly what was going on because she didn’t want to face what was going on. She knew if I was made aware I’d be on her about it and constantly nagging her to make sure she was following through with everything she needed to do. To this day I regret that I didn’t go to that one appointment with her. I went to almost every other appointment she had and I miss one of the most important ones? So stupid.
Anyway, my mom calls me later that night and tells me that, that morning she woke up to a feeling of wetness in her bed. She lifts the blankets to see that her sheet is completely saturated with blood. It ends up she popped open the top inch of the large incision on her lower belly. She sat in blood soaked clothing until my aunts got there and helped her clean up. They put bandages on the wound to stop the bleeding, on the advice of her doctor. I was so mad that she didn’t tell me when it happened. I would’ve come by and helped her. My mom was very independent and especially so since my dad died. She didn’t like to burden people or seem needy always asking for help. I had to remind her all of the time that I didn’t care what time it was or what I was doing, that she could call me anytime if she needed anything. She always said she didn’t want to bother me.
The doctor looked at he wound when she got there and he told her it looked ok and just to keep on top of it. Since my mom couldn’t even see the wound, I was the one who had to all the dirty work. I had to go there everyday to clean it out and change the bandage. Typically I am not the type of person who could deal with that kind of stuff but I had no choice. No one else was going to do it. It was disgusting to look at. I could see about a half inch of flesh. I could throw up just thinking about it but it had healed nicely.
The oncologist didn’t have the best of news. He had gotten back the pathology report and it was determined that my mom had a rare and aggressive form of kidney cancer called papillary type two. That was really scary news. The cancer had also spread to some of the lymph nodes and so doctor who did the surgery removed whatever he could along with then adrenal gland that sat atop her kidney. I knew that once cancer had spread from the spot it had originated from, it wasn’t a good thing. I watched my dad die from cancer and I knew all too well what cancer could do to a person yet I tried to remain helpful.
A few days prior to my mom’s appointment with the oncologist, my aunt Sue who was married to my mom’s oldest brother reached out to me one day. We had a nice discussion about my mom, her diagnosis, her reluctance to follow up on things, and most importantly her denial and depression and what role it played in her caring for herself. My aunt had done some research and had posed an idea to me. She was not happy that the doctors were waiting three months to do follow up scans. She suggested my mom get a second opinion from one of the top cancer hospitals in the country, Sloan Kettering. I thought it was a great idea and I was so appreciative that she took the time out to do that research. She had reached out to doctors and got names and numbers. She explained that she wasn’t pressuring me and that she was just telling me that when my mom was ready and up to it, she should seriously consider going.
I agreed but being that I was the one helping to care for her on a day to day basis; I didn’t not think she was ready for a long car ride to the city. She couldn’t even take the ride to the doctors office or to the lab.
I mentioned it to my mom one day. She sounded interested and thought it was a good idea but told me she wasn’t quite ready to go. She wanted a break from all of this. I didn’t pressure her. I figured I’d wait a week or two and mention it again. I was more focused on her trying to heal from the surgery. She had been through a lot in the past few months. The one day my mother calls me to tell me that my brother and Satan had stopped by. While they were there Satan hands my mom a piece of paper and tells her that she’s been doing research and she had gotten in touch with these doctors at Sloan Kettering and she thinks it’s a great idea that my mom gets a second opinion. My mom actually thought Satan was trying to help but I explained to my mom that Satan actually wasn’t the one who did all the work, that aunt Sue did.
My mom was disappointed but not too surprised. This is what Satan and her other, personality disordered counterparts do. They love taking credit for other people’s work and ideas. So long as it puts them in the spotlight it’s ok. I wondered how Satan even heard about this whole second opinion thing. We had a connection at Sloan Kettering in our family. My mom’s cousin’s daughter worked there. Aunt Bea decided to get in touch with her to get more info about how to get an appointment there. My aunt forwarded the email to me, Aunt Sue and Aunt Debbie. I wrote to Aunt Sue and asked her if she told my brother and she told me that she didn’t but my Aunt Bea forwarded him the email. When I looked at who was Cc’d on the email, his name wasn’t there and so that mean he got his own special email from Aunt Bea, about it.
I was annoyed. My aunt Bea had no place stepping in and informing him and if she really felt the need to, who wasn’t he CC’d on the same email as us? At the end of the day, it wasn’t her place to inform my brother. I didn’t inform him about it because I didn’t think my mom was ready to go just yet and I figured when she was, she would tell him when she was. Everyone thought it was crazy that my mom was told to go for a follow up scan three months from her first one. What they didn’t understand is that, waiting is standard procedure. There is a logical reason for it. They need to have something to compare their scans too. I assume that even the most aggressive forms of cancer don’t grow a substantial enough amount in 3 months time.
I was on the phone with Aunt Debbie one day talking about all this nonsense and I was telling her what Aunt Bea did and she agreed it was weird. As we were talking she mentioned that my Aunt Bea and Satan had a whole phone call about my mom. I’m sorry but I just found it weird. She knew how uncomfortable my mom was with her being that cozy with Satan. Again, it made her feel like Aunt Bea was saying well I know my sister is an asshole to you but I’ll be your friend. It was just wrong. My mom didn’t have phone conversations with her daughter’s or son’s significant others. I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall during that conversation though because after that day, something changed with my brother and Satan….
(To be continued)