Mom passed away very peaceably tonight at 9pm surrounded by her family and her pets. The last words I got to tell her, our normal routine, “Good night, I love you, I’ll see you in the morning”.
The arrangements will be visitation on Saturday at 1:00pm till 2:30pm in the social hall of First Baptist Church, Hawkinsville. Funeral to immediately follow at FBC Sanctuary at 3pm. Graveside services will follow at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Cochran, Ga. Dr. Kelly Pritchett, Jr. and Dr. Don McClung will officiate.
We appreciate all of your prayers and support over the last few difficult months. I may have just lost my mom, but mom is now reunited with hers. And her husband, father, brother and many other loved ones. And most importantly, she is rejoicing with her Lord, Jesus Christ.
The Good News is that Mom is coming back home to Hawkinsville today. Taylor Regional had done a CT scan in August on mom’s head after she had an almost fainting spell at the library. Once the neurologist looked at that CT scan and compared it with the one that they had just done (where he found the 2″ by 3″ brain tumor), he was able to tell us much more information. He could not locate the tumor in August. Maybe just a hint on the earlier scan. It is that fast growing. It is a very aggressive, almost always malignant form of tumor.
Mom has been almost totally unresponsive since Friday. Saturday, she mumbled some and a few times we could hear her saying her ABCs or counting to ten. Sunday and Monday, she pretty much slept. She will occasionally tighten her grip on our hands, but has only opened her eyes a couple of times. Once yesterday, the nurses were moving her around and she started yelling out in obvious pain. I grabbed her hand and kept telling her that I was there, she responded back several times with OKAY, OKAY. I told her pain medicine was coming and she said, “Thank you.” (Polite to the end). Other than that, we can’t really get any response. We will ASK her to tighten her grip but get no response.
Due to the aggressiveness and the doctor’s continual watch over mom since Friday, he revised his life expectancy estimates. While they hesitate to say much, (Doctors hate being wrong), he did shorten his expectation considerably. We have called in Hospice and the joint consensus (between us, Hospice, and the Neurologist) is that mom probably only has a few days, to maybe a couple of weeks left here with us. But only God knows His timing.
So, we are bringing her back home today! Hospice will help with the nursing, pain management, and other necessary things. But mom will be able to be home with family and her dog and cat! Although pretty non-responsive, I think she will know when her dog “Fetch” lays beside her!
My family has been wonderful. My cousins, Donna and Sherri have both been to the hospital. Donna even spent one night for us. Cousins Jake & Rebecca have been there every chance they could. Kristen and Kyle have been incredible through all this. They try to remain tough around me, so that I don’t get upset. My in-laws came up last night and took us out to supper.
Vonnie has been super woman through all of this. She sings to mom and talks to her all the time. She spent last night with her at the hospital. She has helped me, cried with me, and comforted me throughout this ordeal.
I am holding up. It’s hard.
Every since I can remember, at whatever age a baby/child begins remembering things, at bedtime, me, mom, and dad always had the same little routine. We would say, “Goodnight. I love you. I’ll see you in the morning.” Even over the last several years that we have lived in the same house, we would always end the day with those words. So last night, as I said them to mom, and each night going forward as I say those words to her, I realize each time that it could be the last time I get to say them to her. It hurts, knowing that at some point, I will NOT see her in the morning. At least not here on earth. The only thing that gets me through is knowing that I WILL SEE HER AGAIN IN THE MORNING. Mom is heading to heaven to be with Jesus very soon, and her family that has gone on before will be there. I will eventually be doing the same. So, yes, I can truthfully tell her each night, “I will see you in the morning”!
Anyone reading these blog posts, I pray that you have the assurance of your afterlife. Our time on this earth is brief. You need to know that you know that you know – that you have a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus. Nothing else on this earth really matters. We were created for fellowship with Him and to glorify Him. That’s all that really matters!
Thank you to all of mom’s friends (and our friends) that have been reading these updates. They started out as simply a way to update a large group without having to tell the same story individually to each one that calls or texts. But they have turned out to be a sort of therapy for me. I guess it helps to put some things down on paper (computer). And your assurances, sympathies, and words of comfort on facebook, twitter, and comments on this blog have really helped. I especially appreciate those that have messaged me with stories from when mom taught you in school. (Larry Bennett, you probably DESERVED that spanking mom gave you in the 12th grade!).
Well, I need to get to Warner Robins to see about getting mom home, So, for today….. “Good night, I love you, I’ll see you in the morning……”
A very tough day. bottom line is that mom has ALOT going on. But the main issue is that they have found a 2″ x 3″ brain tumor. The tumor is terminal. it is very aggressive and best case is probably a 6 month time frame. However, the brain tumor is not her only issue.
She has a blood clot in her lungs. The blood clot cannot be treated because blood thinners would cause the tumor to be worse. She has an aneurism in her aorta. She has another tumor also somewhere in her abdomen. Also, within the last three days she has had a stroke. AND they have found evidence of a past heart attack which has weakened her heart.
Mom is a very sick lady. At this point, we are waiting on Social Services to come in to discuss Hospice and Comfort Care. Our goal is to get her home soon and keep her pain free. We are hoping she can get cognizant enough to actually talk with us. If not, we can deal with that too.
If the brain tumor continues, she may have a few months. If the clot or aneurism decide to misbehave, then she could leave us at anytime.
She is still at the Houston Medical Center. Social Services will arrive tomorrow to discuss Hospice and Comfort care.
This is hard, but God is in control. We would like her to regain enough cognitive ability to tell her bye, but our main prayer is that God be glorified in whatever happens.
On 10/10/14, Church Home Nursing Home called to let us know they had called an ambulance. The ambulance took mom to Houston Medical Center. Church Home indicated that mom was very non-responsive plus was aspirating on her oral medications.
Mom had been very unresponsive for several days. She would “maybe” open her eyes when we spoke to her and “maybe” utter a response to our questions. But that was about it.
We have watched her digression occur linearly for a few weeks now.
At Houston Medical, they did a few tests and put her in ICU. There we met a Neurologist that has jumped all over mom’s case. He has ordered multiple MRIs, CT scans, Sonagrams, etc. He has basically come back and told us this…
Mom’s left hemisphere of her brain is swollen. That swollenness has “pushed” into the right side, causing all the stroke like symptoms and damage. The stroke-like damage is probably permanent. The swelling, in his opinion thus far, could be caused by one of three things…
1. Some condition (the word he used probably had 145 letters, so I really did not catch it), that is causing the swelling. He put her on some steroids to reduce the swelling.
2. A Single Brain Tumor. (This is requiring many more tests to determine size, and to see if it would be treatable with either radiation or chemotherapy.)
3. Multiple Lesions in the brain. (Since mom had been a smoker for most of her adulthood, this is a very strong possibility. He is doing lung MRIs to determine if possibly she has had a cancer that moved from the lungs to the brain. This is the probably the worse case scenario, but also the most likely due to her smoking. But only the tests will tell).
So, while none of this can be remotely considered good news, we are happy that at least we are getting answers. Due to the steroids (I am guessing), she has already been MUCH more responsive than we have seen in weeks. She is “somewhat” talking with us somewhat coherently.
She is now getting more CT’s and MRI’s and we await finding out further information. I will keep our family’s friends posted via this forum……
Thank you for your continued prayers and support.
Mom has many friends. I get lots of calls asking how she is doing. I appreciate that. However, I suppose I need to do a better job of keeping her (and my) friends updated on mom’s condition.
First a recap: A few weeks ago, mom suffered a major stroke. Her left side and her vision were impacted. We spent two weeks at the Coliseum Stroke Rehab Center, but then the Coliseum contacted us and said they felt that their rehab was doing more harm than good. They asked us for the names of three sub-acute rehab centers. We gave them three based on our knowledge and the recommendations of some friends. Pinewood Manor (Hawkinsville), Summer Hill (Perry), and Church Home Care (Perry). After calling all the centers, Church Home Care and Rehab http://churchhomerehab.com/ in Perry had the only opening.
Mom was transferred there on September 11. While our hopes and prayers remain that mom will get at least partially mobile again, to the point that we can bring her home to care for her, we are also trying to be very realistic. Church Home Care is both a sub-acute rehab and a long-term nursing home.
10/03/14 Update: I go and visit mom every day. I leave Hawkinsville as soon as I get off work and go straight to Perry. There I am able to feed her supper each day. Then I visit for an hour or so and make my way back home. Mom is on Pureed food due to swallowing issues related to the stroke. Mom has little to no use of her left side. Her speech is now often slurred as well. Her vision is really bad. If you sit on her right side, she can usually see you. If you get on her left, she has no idea you are even in the room.
Mentally, mom comes and goes. Her short term memory is really bad right now. People can visit, and by the time I get there each day, she has forgotten they came to visit. However, ask her about something from a year ago, and she can tell you more details than I can.
I ask mom daily if she feels good, “Yes, I’ve had a good day.” is her usual answer. Are they treating you good here? “Yes, they are so nice”. Are you happy? “Yes, I’ve had a good day”. How did Therapy go today? “I worked hard today”. Are you getting better, “I think I’m getting a little better each day”. So at least she seems pretty content.
She asks every day about her dog, Fetch. In fact, she asks about Fetch before she asks about me or Vonnie. But that’s okay. I’ve taken Fetch once to see her, I’ve got to do that again soon.
Bottom line is that she is doing okay. She is not yet getting better, but she seems as content as one can expect. Just keep her in your prayers.
Me: I’ve also had many of you ask how I am doing. Well, it’s been tough. I am an only child, so the decisions and bulk of the issues fall to me. But’s that’s okay. I am surrounded by an incredible support group. Vonnie has been by my side (and mom’s side) this entire journey. She has been incredible. My children visit mom and encourage me. My cousin Donna has been incredible. She visits mom often and is always available on a day that I am out of town and can’t visit. She has been such a blessing. My cousin Sherry and my cousins Rebecca and Jake have also been great!
The support from the community and churches (mine and mom’s) has also been overwelming. From email, to cards, to flowers, to visits, to facebook posts, I know you care and I appreciate every one of you.
My philosophy through all of this is this: I am praying for mom’s healing. I am praying as David did when his son was sick. In 2 Samuel 16-22, David prays and asks God to heal. But the boy dies. Then look what happened. (Verses paraphrased and shortened).
20 David got up off the floor. He went into the Lord’s tent and worshiped.
21 His officials said, “What are you doing? You went without eating and cried for your son while he was alive! But now that he’s dead, you’re up and eating.”
22 David answered: While he was still alive, I went without food and cried because there was still hope. I said to myself, “Who knows? Maybe the Lord will have pity on me and let the child live.” 23 But now that he’s dead, why should I go without eating? I can’t bring him back! Someday I will join him in death, but he can’t return to me.
I want God to heal mom, but God knows better than me. He also promised that ALL things work together for good for those that love God and are the called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28). So if God does heal mom, then may He get the glory. If God does not heal mom, I will still worship him and give all Glory to God. Whatever happens, it is my prayer that God be glorified. That is our purpose on earth.
So, yeah, it’s tough. It’s the hardest thing I have ever been through. Dad’s death was tough, but it was brief. This is lingering and is tiring. I have new respect for the care-givers of this world. But God is good and I am just going through things that many of you either have or will go through. How people do it without knowing God is in control, I don’t know.
But I am good. Taking one day at a time. Please continue to pray for mom.