I awoke at 4:25, 15 minutes before my alarm was scheduled to go off. I went into the bathroom and brushed my teeth and washed my face. I planned out the logistics of loading the boxes into my car so that I could be on the road by 6a.m.
I loaded the boxes that I could fit not leaving an inch to spare. Grabbed my laptop and canvas rollerbag filled with clothes books and toiletries and headed out the door. First stop, 7-11 for a trusty cup of coffee and a muffin as well as some milk.
I hit the road right at 6:20 and drove straight up to West Hills Hospital, where my mom was admitted the night before. Christina and Don took turns making sure she was okay and being treated well.
I arrived to the hospital at 9:45 and made my way up to my mom's room. I was greeted by a silent hello and then saw my mom lying there as I walked in. Nothing in the world can prepare you for cancer and how quickly the disease destroys its host. She was extremely underweight and it showed. I had to fight the tears and Christina hugged me.
After a few minutes of being there, mom said she had to sit up as she felt she had to throw up. We helped her sit upright and put a pan in her lap with no avail. She dry heaved for several moments. Christina used the suction syringe to help clear the mucus and saliva. It appears that all those years ago, the radiation did the opposite effect of drying up my mothers salivary glands and made them over active.
I came back to the house for a bit and unloaded some boxes and took the little poquito, my mom's chihuahua out for a walk. He was excited to see me and smiled, but underneath, I could tell he was wondering, "where is mom and when is she coming home" I began to cry again.
After a quick bite from subway, I made my way back up to the hospital room. Her nausea was still there but it seemed to be retreating a bit. We finally met with the oncologist at 2:00 and he began to ask questions and find out where my mom was with her health history. He was very nice and informed us that her lungs sound clear. He also advised that because of the location of the cancer that mucus production was going to be likely and we really needed to focus on getting her food intake up to help with the nausea.
I stayed around from 11:30 to 4:30 when don came and relieved me. I told him that she needed to be fed every hour and he said no problem. I went home and changed and went to the gym for about an hour. Christina came home and headed back to the hospital at 7:30 and said she would stay as long as she could. Don came in and said she was going to stay til midnight because she wanted to discuss the tracheotomy with my mom (to ensure she can breath since the tumor is starting to obstruct her airway).
During my time there, I just sat next to her and held her hand. She told me that she was scared, I comforted her and said not to be as we would be there for her. I realized in that moment, how fragile she was. My mom has always been a rock for me, picking me up when i have fallen, been on the other end of a phone call during some of the most disastrous times of my life, or just sending me little notes telling me how much she loves me.
I realize how brief this life is and how each day has to be lived without regrets. As I held her hand and caressed it, I continually said, "I love you" to her. I watched her breathe as she caught little catnaps. I wished I could rip the cancer from her body and get her back to normal, but all I can do is just be there for her and In the grand scheme of things, I am frustrated but I am okay with that.
Until next time...