So Dad's in the nursing home, can hardly walk, and doesn't know his children's names.
My sister, Barbara, is in the hospital battling something called leptomeningeal carcinomatosis, which means cancer wrapped around the sheath of the nervous system. There are masses in her head, at mid-spine, and in the lumbar region. She cannot walk and her right hand is numb. Her left hand is half numb. Her bowel doesn't work as well as it needs to. She has difficulty swallowing and says her tongue doesn't work very well. (Mess with a person's spinal cord and so many things go wrong!) She takes morphine 3 times a day for pain. She has a dangerous staphylococcus infection in her bladder -- and of course no immune system, due to radiation -- so we have to wear gowns and gloves to enter her room. Further, anything that comes into her room (such as a book) isn't allowed to come back out again. Her two girls, ages 7 and 11, haven't been allowed to visit her on account of the contagion. Thank heaven, when there's no immune system, we still have antibiotics.
Mom woke up in the middle of Saturday night feeling numb all up and down her left side. She and my other sister, Wendy, who has flown in from California, went to visit Barbara in the hospital, and while they were there, Mom mentioned that the tingling and numbness on her left side hadn't gone away.
WHAT? My niece and her husband insisted she go downstairs to the Emergency Room. The end of the long story is, it appears she has had a minor stroke. Obviously it must not be very debilitating, because she can walk and talk and do all the things she normally has done. The issue is to prevent more strokes.
Too bad she can't share a room with Barbara. At least they're in the same hospital.
Our family celebration this Christmas is going to be, shall we say, interesting! Nevertheless, in some fashion or another, celebrate we shall. Christ is born to put everything, in the end, to rights. He who died and rose again is born to be our Example, Guide, Companion, Rock and yes, our Heaven meanwhile, while we are still racing toward the finish line.
Monday, December 17, 2007