Recently, Mary Kay has entered hospice. Since no one knows how long this process will take, and since Facebook doesn’t always show up in someone’s feed, this seems like a more effective way of communicating what’s happening with mom.
Many of you have asked me, “Just exactly what is wrong with your mother” when I’ve said that she’s disabled. I hope to get all of the information correct, but a few details may be a little off.
Mom had some sort of virus that almost killed her when she was 14 (1954 or winter 1955). Since then, she has had varying degrees of chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and some sort of inflammatory process that’s similar to rheumatoid arthritis. Common advice from doctors over the years were to tell her that it’s all in her head, or they told her to rest a lot and to stop exercising, which we now know makes everything worse. As the years pressed on, she became more and more debilitated, and three unsuccessful back surgeries added to her misery.
When Bob (my father) died in August of 1999, Mom just gave up. The surgeries helped the acute pain, but not her chronic pain. Adding in decades of kidney problems, digestive issues, and an abdominal aneurysm, it’s been a tough 20 years for her.
About two weeks ago, Mom had a stroke. She sleeps most of the time, is very quiet and slurs when she speaks, and her arms have lost quite a bit of coordination. She qualified for hospice about a week ago, so our focus is on comfort.