Another round…

Mom sat in the chair holding her cane with both hands.  As if she needed it for support, even while seated.  Shoulders slumped.  Droopy eyelids completely closed.

Dr. M* looked up from the computer screen, where she was taking electronic notes while doing the quarterly medical assessment.

Dr. M:  Other than the pain in your leg, how are you feeling?

Mom:  My heart… My heart just feels heavy.  The pacemaker keeps it going, but sometimes I just wish it would stop.  I’m so tired…

We’d been focusing on the lung cancer treatment for the first part of the year.  When i took Mom out-of-town on our whirlwind adventure last week, my niece had warned me that Mom had trouble walking, and was having pain in her right leg.  And Mom struggled during our trip.

Pain in her shin has been the consistent indicator that Mom has a blockage in the iliac artery – successfully treated with angioplasty and a stent twice before.  The procedure is only mildly invasive, and has worked wonders.

In addition to that, she had a follow-up visit last week with the pulmonary specialist, looking over the results of her CT scan taken after the radiation treatments, targeted on the cancer nugget in her lung.

Dr. M was pretty sure that the occlusion in the CT scan results was due to bronchial blockage, and that was probably what was making Mom feel so generally crappy.  The body needs oxygen.  If the lungs got gummed up by radiation, oxygen isn’t getting where it needs to get…

i’d taken Mom out for lunch before our visit with the doc.  It was pretty obvious she was feeling crappy**.  So crappy that there wasn’t even much energy in her complaints.  A lot of sighs…

Dr. M confirmed that between the bronchoscopy treatment proposed by the pulmonary doc, and replacement of a failing iliac arterial stent, it was possible that Mom could be feeling much better with only a moderate amount of medical treatment.

But Mom just sighed…

As Mom told the doc about her heavy heart, Dr. M looked up and caught my eye.  She could see mine becoming a little leaky.  And behind those sexy, smart-girl glasses that she wears, i could see that i wasn’t alone…

image from the geniuses at despair

“That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable”

 

* Ridiculously sexy cardiologist.  i’ve written about her beforeHere, and here, too.  And here, in a footnote… The massive “girl crush” i’ve had on her for the past few years has bloomed into “deep love” due to her ability to provide spectacular care as both a cardiologist and integrating physician for my mother – while demonstrating sincere concern for her as a human being.  She is not a doctor.  She is a goddess…

** True to form, however, she was not feeling so crappy that she didn’t race to a table in our favorite pre-cardiology visit restaurant, and then clean her plate of all food molecules prior to leaving…  We are not “wasting away” people.  Far from it.