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Category: Caregiving

10 Survival Tips for the Caregiver (So to Speak)

Oh, hey, hi! How are you? It is weirdly warm and rainy here in our part of Pennsylvania today. I’m writing this in a near-empty Panera Bread (coronavirus!), after having purchased toilet paper online because we ran out at the house (children!) and all of our stores have been emptied of it (coronavirus!). I just ate a bagel with my bare fingers that had not been sanitized ahead of time, and I expect the dry coughs to start shortly. Last week’s progress appointment with Mom’s neuro-oncologist was odd. Here’s the thing: Mom can’t walk more than a few steps at a time. Last week, she couldn’t do even that–couldn’t support her own weight at all–and after an afternoon of physically lifting her from wheelchair to car to wheelchair to seat et al, we expected to hear the worst from her MRI results. But her tumor is stable. Can you believe it? It’s just that her body is failing more quickly than the tumor is advancing. She’s also not always recognizing where her body is in space…

Mom’s Decline, and A Little Psychological Sewing

I thought maybe I should spare you an update this week, because I’m in a crappy, crappy mood (a friend asked Sunday how Mom was doing, and do you know what I said? “Oh, she’s totally dying.” The poor guy looked like I’d slapped him in the face). Mom has been declining again–no sooner did we pull her off hospice than she started acting like, well, maybe that wasn’t the best idea. She’s grown progressively weaker, and has become just sort of older-seeming. (This cancer of Mom’s likes to keep us on our toes, but I much prefer the happier surprises, you know?) On Saturday, David and I had made plans to take the kids to see Mom in the afternoon and have a movie day. The kids were excited–they’d settled on Jumanji, because “cake makes me explode!”–and Mom had been looking forward to it. We went tumbling into her house around 2:15, a big bowl of freshly-popped buttered popcorn in hand, but Mom was nowhere to be seen. The house was quiet…

Mom Gave Us a Scare, and this is the Closest I Get to Writing a Condensed Version

You guys, it’s been one roller coaster of a few days concerning my mom. (As of this writing, it’s all good–or as good as it can get outside of the brain cancer thing–so please don’t worry.) I have no idea how to break the week down simply, so would you like to start with me at the beginning? Here we go. Last Wednesday: the night of my monthly book club meeting. I’d been looking forward to seeing my friends, but that day, I was exhausted and down and didn’t want to be a drag. David gently pushed me out the door, and I’m glad he did. We talked about the Kobe tragedy and the month’s book selection and a lot of other stuff. I stayed up too late. (I worried about staying up too late.) I had two glasses of wine. (I did not worry about having two glasses of wine.) I wondered if I talked too much. (I always worry about talking too much.) Last Thursday: I dragged myself out of bed in the morning (this is usual). Got the kids…