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8 replies

laraeo · 30/05/2013 19:19

We have a strained relationship - putting it mildly. I drove @4 hours to see her. She is frail & unofficially has stage 4 colon cancer that's metastisized (sp). Waiting to hear from oncologist for a more thorough prognosis.

She's an alcoholic (ironically sober now), smoker and all round not nice person. But you'd never know it from the nurses who go on about how she's a fighter, feisty, etc. WTF? Okaaaay.

So now I'm sitting around the hospital room mnetting trying to decide if I pay her rent for next month, how to sort out her bills, etc.

Not sure what hospice care she might be eligible for - we're in the US and she has no money.

On top of it, I'm an only child & just wish there was someone to talk to. DH has been great but I don't know how to broach any end of life conversations with her.

And I feel bad drinking water because she's not allowed any.


OP posts:
headlesslambrini · 30/05/2013 19:28

Didn't want to read and run and although I may be thousands of miles away in the UK and don't 'know' you, but I wanted to say that people are here to listen and help you.

If you need to make practical decisions now, then I would pay her rent / bills for the next month - it may sound cold and I really don't mean it to, but it will give you some time to sort through things afterwards. The nurses should be able to point you in the right direction with regards to hospice care and how to broach the conversation.

Are there any other relatives?

SimplyCupcakes · 30/05/2013 19:34

hi, also in uk and no practical help to you having thankfully not been through anything similar. Just to say that thoughts are with you at a really difficult time, and I think lambrini is right, pay bills short term, talk to proffesionals but don't let any anger or hurt toward what she was cloud judgement, she will not be here for long and you will have to live with any choices you make. Stay strong, sadly one day it will all be over.

laraeo · 30/05/2013 20:01

I figured we'd pay the bills for the next couple of months. I dread going to her apartment. At least I have the number for the landlord who lives upstairs & called the ambulance for her. They had to take the front door off because she couldn't answer the door.

The oncologist said it's definitely stage 4 but once she's recovered from the surgery, she might get chemo. She has no support here. None. She burned all of her bridges long ago. And I am her only family. I am not going to be deliberately difficult but I can not come to take her to appointments etc. At some point she'll need to go to assisted living. Until then we can keep her apartment.

Thanks for letting me vent & taking the time to reply.

OP posts:
headlesslambrini · 30/05/2013 20:07

vent away - it's what MN is for! You don't have to know all the answers right now, you don't even have to know the questions yet but I would suggest that you get a pen and paper and start to write things down as they occur to you.

twentyten · 31/05/2013 21:08

Thinking of you. Vent away- do what you can but look after yourself too.

laraeo · 01/06/2013 00:10

Today she was more lucid. The ICU staff is amazed she's doing so well after surgery. She's horribly gaunt. But she's more aware of what's going on today.

She's going to be in the hospital at least a week. Then she'll have to go to some sort of rehab/post-surgery place. She doesn't seem to understand how complicated her needs are now and will become later.

I had to talk to her landlord. My DH doesn't want to pay the rent because he's worried we'll then be liable for her bills down the line - or that she'll start to rely on us to pay her things. I don't think either of those things would happen. But he did say if he landlord brings it up, we will pay temporarily.

The landlord said her place was in a horrible state. I'll spare the details.

I feel like such a bitch because the staff keeps going on about how wonderful she's doing, how tough she is, etc. and all I can think of is that she was the walking definition of horribleness growing up. Emotional abuse, alcoholism, her being the OW deliberately (she never dated a single guy after the divorce) - just a bit awkward going to rival schools' sports and seeing the men there with their families.

I just want to get her set up in some sort of facility where she'll get some care because I don't want anyone to suffer unnecessarily. Even her. I mentioned that she'll need to sort out where she's going after the hospital because she'd need care. That didn't go down well but at least the seed has been planted. Hopefully the social worker at the hospital assigned to her case will help because I don't see me going up regularly.

Sorry for the epic post. I needed to unload.

OP posts:
headlesslambrini · 01/06/2013 08:12

the nurses dont know her the way you do, they dont understand the history or what she is like. they will be saying how she is doing more for your sake that hers. talk to the social worker and get things sorted, the sooner this happens the more time she will have to accept it.
Take care

whataboutbob · 02/06/2013 20:39

Just sending my best wishes. This sounds so similar to my aunt and my poor cousin had a really hard time. In the end, after decades of trying to help she moved countries to get away from her mother s alcoholism and emotional abuse. My aunt actually came to live with my dad as she had burnt all her bridges. But of course she carried on drinking. After her death, My cousin had to face her mothers' siblings judgemental comments ( she could have done more for her poor old mum etc etc) . Funnily enough they never said the same about her two sons ( who as far as I can tell never did anything to help).
Anyway I think at this stage it may be helpful for you to try and wipe the emotion out of the situation, try and be practical in your approach, do your best, recognise the situation is your mother's doing and not least, do not let her or others involved guilt trip you.

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