As I mentioned in the previous installment, Momma agreed to a round of chemo. She received her first shot of the first and only round of chemo she took in early September and then she was allowed to go home from the hospital. We celebrated her 70th birthday on September 13th. She was surrounded by family and friends that day, and even though the party was bittersweet, the poignancy of the occasion was not lost on any of us, as we all understood this might be the last time she had her family all together for a joyous occasion. Thanksgiving and Christmas 2002 (which I will post about in later installments), just weren't much by way of celebration. Here is a picture of her and Shannon on her 70th birthday:
Note that her skin tone was already so sallow from the liver dysfunction.
She gallantly tried to go about as many daily chores as she could muster in the beginning of her illness, but she would have to take rests periodically during the day. She still wrote the bills and tried to help me wash clothes, but she was having so many bouts of stomach discomfort, not to mention muscle-trembling fatigue, that she resorted to moving into one of the spare bedrooms as to not cause Bob any undo distress. I moved a recliner into the bedroom to be with her in case she needed me. I would sit in the recliner at night and watch her fitfully sleep. She had been given a pain patch and that would make her drowsy enough to sleep for the most part. She was also given marijuana in pill form to help with the pain, but she wouldn’t take them. She tried to sit up in the kitchen to be with Bob, but she just felt so ill much too often to stay up for any length of time.
My three brothers and my SIL’s all asked me if they could help with the daily care of Momma, but I wouldn’t have any of it. I told all of them it was not a matter of thinking that they couldn’t care for Momma as well as I could, it’s just that I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving her side for even a minute and over the course of the next few months, I didn’t leave her for any length of time for very long.
The end of September came and went and Bob and I took Momma for doctors appointments, etc. I took her to Hoover for wig fittings as her hair had begun to fall out. She never really cared for those wigs as they were not the right shade of color. I have never seen anyone with the same shade of hair as my Momma’s. My SIL, B, came one day to let me get some rest and so she could visit with my Momma. She took the time to paint Momma’s fingernails and toenails and Momma enjoyed that so. I was never much into all the feminine doo-dads such as that, so B came in just to pamper Momma and make her feel special. B is good at doing just that, making you feel special.
October rolled around and Momma had to go back to the hospital. October 4th was mine and Ricky’s 22nd wedding anniversary and Ricky asked if I could meet him and Shannon to go out to supper to celebrate. I had made arrangements for Bob to come to the hospital to stay with Momma while I went out to eat. Bob didn’t show up on time and I couldn’t reach him by cell phone. He had fallen asleep and I couldn’t rouse him by phone. Needless to say, I was very angry with him. I called my brother Don and asked him if he could come and sit with Momma while I went out to eat, but he already had made other plans for the evening and was also mad at Bob for leaving me in the lurch. I then called my brother Jimmy, who had just been to the hospital that day or the day previously, but he said he would come. He got there as soon as he could on such short notice, but I was already late to dinner with Ricky and Shannon. I hurried to meet up with them and we had a pretty good time at Bahama Breeze on 280 (which is now closed, my daughter informs me). When I got back to the hospital, Bob had finally arrived, but Jimmy did not leave until I got back. I hate to say this, especially if Bob is still reading my blog, but none of Momma’s kids had much confidence in his taking care of her. She had been the one to take care of him, not the other way around. That revelation had become very obvious to me as I was over at Momma’s trying to take care of her and inevitably was having to take care of Bob and the dogs too! It was apparent he couldn’t take care of himself, much less be able to handle taking care of a dying woman, even if that dying woman was the wife he professed to love so much.