06 June 2007

long-distance TLC

It’s 1 am and I’m watching my mom on the iSight, trying to sleep off her pain. A little over an hour ago, I called her as I climbed in to bed – hoping to finally catch up, get an update from her trip. I figured she’s been tired and we would just chat on the phone for now. But immediately her voice betrayed her suffering. She told me she’s had the web cam on, hoping I’d show up. So of course I immediately got my laptop and turned it on.

I don’t think she’s been so weak and in so much pain since maybe she was in the hospital. Or maybe it seems worse because I hadn’t seen her in a while and had been hoping (despite some hints from my father) that she’s doing pretty well. Basically, between the cancer and her meds, her digestive system is completely awry, and has now really put pressure on her intestines again, so she’s not only in tremendous pain, she can hardly eat or even drink water. Add to that the fact that she’s at risk of developing hydronephrosis. It’s all “normal” and yet of course not normal at all. She’s supposed to go to the hospital tomorrow for another chemo session and to consult with her doctor, Dr. Hayashi, so figured maybe she could just hang on till then. But he’s repeatedly advised against “hanging on,” and encouraged us to call him or the nurse practitioners with any concerns, so I immediately said she should try and talk to or see him.

Unfortunately, it’s the one day of the week that my dad is teaching all day – otherwise he would have been back by now, and possibly throwing my mom in the car and taking her to the doctor. (He will probably get mad at us both later for not calling him, but of course I would have if it seemed the only (or best) option.) At any rate, I managed to convince my mom to take just another dose of meds, and call the hospital while I stayed online. Which she did – and though Dr. Hayashi is just returning from a trip to the States today, and hence hard to get a hold of, the care center found her nurse practitioner and arranged for her to make a house call this afternoon. Meanwhile, she lay down on the couch, and is now fast asleep. (Oh: spoke too soon. She just leapt off the couch, because a family friend is supposed to stop by at 2:30.)

It kills me at times like this I’m not there myself, even just to stroke her hair. I’m just so so so glad that she got online and that we could make it work, and I could watch while she dozed off. It’s the second late night in a row for me (explanatory post will follow), but definitely worth it. I wish she’d let me hang out all day, and be there for the house call – maybe I can wake up again in an hour and a half?? That’s one sleep cycle, right?

Poor Mark tried to stay up with me but drifted off to sleep, despite the bedside lamp being on and my occasional burst of Japanese (I’m wearing headphones so he didn’t hear the noises and voice from Tokyo). So did my mom, again, until her friend arrived at 3p.

So it’s now after 2am here. The nurse practitioner will be there in less than an hour, so tempted to stay up – but won’t. Hopefully I can actually get to sleep.

No comments: