On Wednesday March 12 my sister took my mom to Rocky Mountain Urgent Care in Aurora, Colorado, after my mom called her saying she didn’t feel right, she felt like she was going to die and could my sister please come take her somewhere, anywhere after she got off work.
When they got to the urgent care center my mom’s oxygen saturation level was at 71 percent so they took some x-rays. The pneumonia she’d had last year had returned –and the nodules on her lung they’d also spotted last year had grown.
My mom was afraid of cancer. She’d had it 25 years ago in the form of breast cancer, had a mastectomy, and had been cancer free ever since. But as anyone does who’s ever been confronted with a potentially fatal disease, she worried it would return.
Fear that it had combined with an intense dislike for her primary care physician in Denver kept her from going in for further tests to determine if the nodules were cancerous last year. But this year when she was in the hospital for six days the nurses and physicians saw to it the nodules were diagnosed.
Not only did the nodules turn out to be lung cancer, my mom also got another diagnosis. Because of her dementia the doctors at the hospital told my sister my mom’s days of living on her own were over. This came as more of a blow to my mom than hearing she had developed age-related lung cancer.
New Living Arrangements
Since she couldn’t live on her own, that left us five options:
1. My sister moves in to my mom’s place to care for her before and after work.
2. We get a companion service to stay with my mom during the days and somehow work it where I fly back and forth to every other week or as needed with doctor appointments.
3. My mom goes to an assisted living community.
4. My mom moves here where she’ll have company and someone to keep an eye on her and run her to appointments.
5. She does nothing, stays where she is, and dies.
My sister and mom were both against option 1, option 2 meant tapping into my mom’s savings as did option 3, which she was NOT willing to do. I couldn’t allow option 5 to happen and ever hope to live with myself again. That only left option 4, which my mom reluctantly agreed to.
New Beginnings, Big Adjustments
Even though it was actually Wayne who proposed moving my mom here before I even asked, I knew it would mean big changes for our lives. All of our lives.
My mom’s because she’s always been an independent woman who’s taken care of herself. As we spent the end of last week preparing to get her here, over and over again she bemoaned imposing on us. No matter how much we assured her this was no imposition, just a change, she worried how it will affect our marriage.
So do I, but I believe in us. Next month we’ll celebrate 22 years together total. We’ve faced other rocky roads, have stumbled along the way, have lost our way even at times. Sometimes we find a way back to familiar territory, sometimes it’s a completely new landscape (like this time). However, we always end up realizing that whatever reason for the detours along the way, wherever the signs took us, it led us to a better place. I believe that’s going to hold true for all of us this time as well.