Mom Was Our Little Fighter
The last 16 years of my mom's life was touch and go. She was diagnosed with leukemia (CML) in the mid 90's then in 2006 had renal failure. For the last 5 years of her life she was on dialysis treatment. But, honesty, the last 9 months of her life were truly the hardest for her. She died September 7, 2011 in the Intensive Care Unit.
In July, she broke her femur from a fall. My sister and I knew if she ended up breaking a hip, that might be it for her. But she went into rehab and tried to do her physical therapy from home. It just got to be too much and I think she was just fed up with the fight. She told my siblings and I that if her dialysis access failed, that she would decline getting it fixed. And a week after she told us that, it happened. The access failed and I rushed home to convince her to get it repaired. That afternoon after begging and pleading for her to go to the ER, we had hospice care at the house. I was a mess, but she was calm. Before every surgery, she would always say that she's ready if its time. And that's what she was telling me, that she's ready. But when our priest came over, he convinced her to give all options a shot. Selflessly mom decided to see the doctor the next morning. I took her off hospice care. Her surgery was a success and we refocused on getting her back on her feet. But I think she had a different plan.
Mom didn't eat a whole lot to begin with. When her mother in law met her, her comment to my dad was, "she eats like a bird". Little did we know that after all the cancer, renal failure and broken bones that bleeding ulcers would be the cause of death. Okay, so I used to tell her that her only responsibility was to eat and we would take care of the rest. We will clean her, put her to bed, get her up, do rehab with her-if she didn't eat, then all that was pointless. Well, after the surgery, her appetite changed and then her mind. She was so different. She started hallucinating, she was restless at night, she had no appetite, she would go in and out of consciousness mid conversation. It was the night after she died, that what we had witnessed was stages of death. She was dying right in front of us. The most apparent sign was her burst of energy. The day before she died she wanted me to take her to the beach to breath fresh air, which she loved. She ate most of her breakfast and finished a protein shake that morning. I thought she was on a real come back. But she wasn't. Homehealth nurse rushed her to ER just moments after she ate her last real meal. The doctor said she was very sick and she had internal bleeding from her stomach due to ulcers due to malnutrition.
She was admitted into the ICU. With limited visitation, we could only see her just for a little while every few hours. All the previous hospital stays, Dad would stay with her. But it wouldn't be possible this time. My brother, dad and I were visiting her after her first hours in ICU. She was stable. She was responding to the medicine, we were hopeful. We had to leave, visiting hours were coming to a close. I told her that I'll see her in the morning and that I love her. She responded, "i love you too." Ten hours later, at 4:44 am, i receive the call that she is passing. The doctor on the other line explained what has happening and how much time we had. "With in the hour, maybe ten minutes." We rushed over to the hospital. And there she was, gone. She looked so peaceful. But she was gone.
The nurse told us that while bathing her around 930 pm, my mom managed to give her a hug. So that nurse gave it back to me.
It was time for her. God said it was time. She knew she'd leave before we got there because she knew we couldn't watch her in those very last moments.
Its still hard. I miss her terribly. She was my R and R when I had a bad day. And i forget sometimes that she won't be home when i need to just say, "Hi Mom!' I miss her smile and her voice. Life is different now. I feel sort of lost. But I feel her always.
I just miss her.
When mom was diagnosed with cancer, the doctor gave her 3 years at most. I was only 21 and she was 61.