26 October 2009

Ahh. Life strikes again!

This morning The Better Half got a call at work. Her elderly (94) aunt was admitted into the hospital. She insisted that someone stole her pension check and she was hearing the upstairs neighbor playing music too loudly. Problem was no one was in her place and the fellow upstairs listens through earphones. On top of that, she suffered a mild heart attack, and scans have revealed masses in her chest and in her brain.

Tripleplusungood. Any one of the above are bad, but all three together...

She won't be going back to her apartment, at least not for a while.

Currently we're debating what to do about the masses. They could do biopsies, but personally I don't know what good it would do at this point. We'll see what the docs think. I do know that her aunt has a 'No Heroic Measures' clause in her will. That does make any end-of-life decisions easier-I guess.

What do you do with someone that age? I DON'T think a person's last few months or years should be spent being cut on and shunted back and forth to hospitals. The best surgeons on this mudball aren't going to do much more to extend her life, let alone improve the quality of it. It's a bit hard to say 'Do nothing', though.

Another log on the fire.

On my relatives' front-my mom is going to have surgery on her eye in a few weeks. The diabetes has done some damage to the nerves in the retina. One eye is pretty much shot. The other eye has a cataract. The eye doctor thinks there is a 90-95% chance of 50% better vision in the 'good' eye if the cataract is removed. Even if it improved her sight enough to read large-print books or see better to get around, I reckon it's worth a go. Obviously if the doc screws up or there's a complication, we're sunk. That's the problem with having one bad eye and one deteriorating-you don't have a whole hell of a lot of room for error. Hobson's choice.

Perhaps some day a shot of stem cells in that area will help people with retinal damage. Not yet, though, unfortunately.

Her heart and physical endurance seems to have improved a bit with having to do more tasks around the house. Typical enough for older people. Some good news there.

My brother is very close to finishing his addition (after three years). Good to see, but I'm a bit bummed that I couldn't help him a bit more, what with being the point person in dealing with Mom's affairs. I told him he gets to deal with Dad when the time comes. That'll fix him.

I did something I rarely do and issued an order to The Better Half-No more church activities that involve a lot of time or effort for either of us. We'll both have plenty to do for a while, thank you very much. The place will get by without us.

Finally-and one I'm loathe to talk about-there was one I knew 'round these parts that kind of said 'Ciao'. Too much stuff happening and all that. I understand it, but I can't help feeling a) such a waste-not of time or effort or the knowing, but of a kind soul being miserable-that's crushing, and b) there was something more I could have done to help, or c) I was part of the reason for the leaving. I feel like I'm writing someone off, and I hate it.

Bloody fucking hell.

Along with some of you fine folks looking at no jobs, it's enough to drive one to despair.

And the Bears lost to the Bengals 45-10 on Sunday. Perhaps the Bear defense got stuck in the hellhole that is the Greater Cincinnati Airport. C'mon, man!

Ah, well. Shit fire and save matches, as my stepfather used to say. Whatcha gonna do? The passage says "The Lord won't give you more than you can handle". I wish He didn't trust me so much.

yankeedog out.


  1. Life can be a right bitch when it wants to. Fortunately I have done the calculation and the good outweighs the bad.

    Head up! Chest out! Full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes!

  2. Naut-Yeh. At least with end-of-life stuff, we know that's coming. And in its own way, that's easy to deal with. It'd be tougher to make those decisions were a child or someone young is involved!

    There's no ONE thing extraordinarily depressing-just lots of it all at once. Timing, sir, is everything.

  3. The elderly aunt gives the dilemna we were podsed when my dad was still alive but he suffered a stroke, then pnuemonia on top of vascular dementia. When I rang the emergency ward checking up on jim they asked how aggressive did we want them to be in future resuscitation attempts. I said "we'll get back to you, but if its soon, do what's needed to keep him alive so's we can see him alive one last time." Ended up he died of pneumonia complications a few weeks later anyway, which we fully expected.
    45-10? I wouldn't have mentioned that one, YD.

  4. Therbs-We aren't quite at the hour-by-hour point with her yet. Like with your dad, two or three health things happening at once is very dicey. Fix one at the risk of compounding the others. Good that you got to say good-bye to your dad and get the affairs in order before he died.

    The football game was stunningly bad. The Cleveland Browns come to Chicago next week. That should be an easy Bears win. I hope.

  5. My grandfather was 91 or 92 when they found cancer in a couple parts of his body. He was already mostly blind from a stroke, and he had a quad bypass about 12 years earlier, when doing quads was like breaking the sound barrier in the late 40's (now, it's barely different than getting a vasectomy). Since the surgery to fix him would kill him quicker than his illnesses, he let them run its course and just stayed comfortable and at home.

    As for the Bears....as much as it pains me to say this....I think we should consider the same for them. Just make them comfortable, and let the disease run the course. Bear down, *sob* Chicago Bears *sob*

  6. Steve-That's very much true here as well. Really, how much more quality time can medicine squeeze out of a person in their mid 90s? Not much, I think.

    The Bears aren't going anywhere this year. There are serious issues with the running game, the offensive line, and the secondary, and those won't get ironed out this year-and likely not in the next couple of years.

  7. Ok, which clown put the Lions in the Bears unis and sent them out to play?

    My grandma is north of 90 and has finally gone into care. It's a shit way to end a life, but what choice do you have. Funny how human development regresses back through the ages to the stages it began with. Funny in a shit way.

  8. Doc-Touch 'em all with that Bears comment-you hit it outta the park!

    Yeah, the people that take care of the elderly and/or demented don't make enough money. It's wearing for everyone. And there ain't a whole hell of a lot to be done for it.