Shortforbob

a terrible horrible day

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Mum's been palliative for some time.

Last couple of days she's been semi conscious or sleeping.

Late last night my sister texted and wondered why mums not answering her phone.

 

Nursing home called this morning and said mum's end of life stage, I went in she's still sleeping, on a morphine drip

Same sister had a mastectomy this morning...She's Mums favourite child.

I should call my sister and ask how she is..Horrible conversation to have in the best of times.

I know she's going to ask me how mum is.

I don't know what to do.

Wait a couple of days until she's at least out of recovery and let her think I'm not thinking about her?

Call? How do you tell someone who's just lost a breast that oh by the way?? Mum might die in the next couple of days.

The palliative care nurse says she doesn'y know how it will go with mum, days or weeks, in and out of semi consciousness.

But I do know that if she does recover a bit and is able to talk to my sister, she'll not be able to conceal her own anxiety and fear...when she's conscious she cries and begs me to help her, to take her home.

 

 

 

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Mom's last moments are pretty important so you've got to be up front with sister, hopefully she's strong enough to deal with it.

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7 minutes ago, hobot said:

Mom's last moments are pretty important so you've got to be up front with sister, hopefully she's strong enough to deal with it.

But it's not something I can do over the phone with her in a hostital bed, losing a breast is not like having gall stones removed, she'll be traumatised by that.

Normally I'd drive and visit and see her face to face, with flowers.

We're in lockdown, I can't leave Melbourne, She's a two hour drive away.

And mum might stableise a bit. Nurse says she could go up and down for weeks..or not.

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This might sound callous and, if so, it’s not meant that way.

Priority 1 is your mum, for whatever time she has left. Do whatever it takes to make her as content/happy/whatever as you can.

If this causes issues with your sister, deal with them later.

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Yeah, I'm visiting every day and if it's crisis, I'll move into her room and stay with her.

I just don't want to tell my sister because she can't come and neither do I want her anxiously waiting with no news.

Sorry, my heads in a mess and i cant find a way out.

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Call your sister.  Genuinely focus on her, how she's feeling, how she's taking this, etc.  When she asks about your mom, be honest.

But *call your sister*.  Better to call her than agonize over it.

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My deepest condolences. Experience tells me that there usually isn't any return once on the morphine drip.

Experience also tells me that much more damage is done when the truth is withheld than when it is shared.

My advice, for what it is worth, is that you must tell her, and if lockdown means that you can only tell her by phone then so be it.

I do not envy you that task.

I won't wish you luck and as an atheist I can't say I'll pray for you but you have brought me to tears.

Stay strong.

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Thank's

I needed that and others advise it helps focus.

I'll cll her tomorrow after I've seen mum..Might avoid details and sugar coat the morphine drip and mostly asleep bit and daily palliative care nurse visits.

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Maybe Mom and Sister can see each other on a FaceTime call with your help?

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7 minutes ago, Your Mom said:

Maybe Mom and Sister can see each other on a FaceTime call with your help?

Mum's not been strong enough for the last week to speak much . She has pulmonary fibrosis and has deteriorated pretty fast in just 5 days.

It's the nature of the condition, it will dip and stablise  and dip some more.

I don't know the recovery time for my sister but if mum lasts, she can come to Melbourne on compassionate grounds when she's well enough to drive.

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1 hour ago, Shortforbob said:

Mum's not been strong enough for the last week to speak much . She has pulmonary fibrosis and has deteriorated pretty fast in just 5 days.

It's the nature of the condition, it will dip and stablise  and dip some more.

I don't know the recovery time for my sister but if mum lasts, she can come to Melbourne on compassionate grounds when she's well enough to drive.

Find some way so your sister can see mom even if she isn't responsive. That will at least giver her some feeling of control over things. You never know how mom will respond. 

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Sorry for your situation Shorty.

If it was me I'd call Sis to give her support. If she asks about mom I'd just say "The same".

Your Sis has to know that mom's near the end so it's not being deceptive.

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If you "neglect" your sister and no contact, that leaves scars.

If you lie to your sister that leaves scars.

Ask nursing home how to do a f2f virtual visit if sister wants that. Surely this isn't the first time.  Maybe they have suggestion. 

Wait to "drive to Melbourne" is unrealistic and kicking can down the road. 

So sorry.

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What a difficult time for you. I'm genuinely sorry for the confluence of truly retched events. Put me in the camp of telling your sister the truth, as gently as possible. 

And a s a non-athiest, I will pray for you and the whole family to have some measure of peace through this. I'm very sorry.

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4 hours ago, Ukuri said:

My deepest condolences. Experience tells me that there usually isn't any return once on the morphine drip.

Experience also tells me that much more damage is done when the truth is withheld than when it is shared.

My advice, for what it is worth, is that you must tell her, and if lockdown means that you can only tell her by phone then so be it.

I do not envy you that task.

I won't wish you luck and as an atheist I can't say I'll pray for you but you have brought me to tears.

Stay strong.

This. 

Your sister has to have the opportunity to know.  It's not your place to judge what she is or is not strong enough to handle.  

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It sucks. We lost my dad during our quarantine. 

But my brother kept me apprised, and I'm thankful for that.

Even with her issues, she'll want to know. 

We did have a Dr consult with the family, that was very helpful.

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Sorry for your sad situation. Been through a couple horrid end of life issues and it seems like there's never an answer that doesn't lead to regrets, guilt and definitely second guessing. My first suggestion would be to talk with your sister's physician and ask if she / he can offer thoughts on how to approach this. Even knowing what mental or medication state your sister is in can help guide you to the best of several tough choices.

Second suggestion is to try as hard as you can to keep a balanced perspective on all this - you can let the guilt / remorse control you or you can search for the best balance of emotions vs. logic. Not easy and, as is frequently mentioned, we do heal with time.

Your sister deserves to know what's going on.

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Hi Meli, 

Make sure to take care of yourself during this period.  You seem to be the glue holding things somewhat together and it's easy to be overwhelmed.  Make sure you are eating and sleeping as well as possible.  The last thing you need is to be sick.  

My best thoughts are for you to navigate this period of your life as well as possible and that you look back years from now and feel good about your actions.  

Stay strong!

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You’re in my thoughts. 

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What others said before me I can only repeat, in a way: Use the time the three of you have to connect your loved ones for at least some moments.

I have had a harsh lesson today, though not unexpected: Time is finite, and it can not be brought back. Use it.

My best to you and your family.

 

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5 minutes ago, Grog said:

I have had a harsh lesson today, though not unexpected: Time is finite, and it can not be brought back. Use it.

I hope you are ok buddy.

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10 minutes ago, Cal20sailor said:

I hope you are ok buddy.

Thank you, I am.

A dear friend and neighbour hopefully too, but in another world. She passed today.

Sick of the virus, sick of the lockdowns and sick of the people who care fuck all and keep spreading it. This lady had plenty of years to live.

Still, best wishes to Meli and her family. Make it count!

Signing off.

 

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Call your sis and be gently honest. It's the only right thing to do. 

My mother in law is 97, has lived with us for near 20 happy years, and is on her last days.  Her words: "I'm tired, I want to go. Never mind your sad face, I had a good time."

Life goes on, and being family requires honesty with kindness.

Wishing you strength.

 

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Thank you all so much, it really helps.

Not knowing what mental or physical state my sister is in is the real problem. If she was well, there wouldn't be a problem.

We haven't been very close the last few years, so although I know she has many close friends in Castlemaine for support, I don't have their contact details nor do I know who her Dr is. She's in a public hospital so the chances of getting to talk to a treating doctor are close to nil.

I think the best thing is to send her a text to say something along the lines of,

"Hi J, how are you going? let me know when you're up for a call, love Meli."

 

Then, as she already knew that Mum slowly deteriorating, she can decide for herself if and when she want's to talk about herself and Mum.

(unless when I see Mum today, she looks like she's not going to make it through the weekend. If i can catch the palliative care nurse today, I can ask her what she thinks.)

I know that when she was doing the chemo, she told me she was sick of people asking how she was all the time. Understandable.

 

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Harden up, make a decision, then follow through.

Going around in circles on an internet forum expecting the font of all knowledge to appear and tell you what to do is for children.

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Seems to be sorted. I texted her in general terms, she asked me to tell Mum she was well, asked if she (mum) could communicate.

I replied simply that she sleeps a lot and warned her that she's deteriorated quite a bit since last week.

She just asked me to keep her posted.

I usually dislike text messages for important things, but in this case its an advantage.

 

Thanks guys..seriously.

 

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Sorry to hear Mali

Unless there are other issues involved, your Sis should be physically OK a day or two after her surgery. Physically speaking, it's not a massive procedure.

So don't hold back any information out of worry for your Sis. Don't expose yourself to any recriminations later, let her know everything, and make her own decisions.

I'm in a slightly similar position, with my Mum in hospital in another state. In normal times I'd go visit to help out, but at the moment I have to recognise that everyone is coping without me. Suspect your sister will come to the same conclusion, and should be thankful for you giving her all the info.

I'd give her a quick call - perhaps when you only have 5 mins to talk, so it gives you a hard stop to the conversation ie a way to end it politely. It may be hard, but it avoids recriminations and second guessing later.

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She seems to be content with texting at the moment. even better way to manage the conversation. If she asks direct questions I can answer  as directly as I can..At the moment there are few concrete answers I can give. Anyway, off to see how mum is now. :)

ta

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1 hour ago, Shortforbob said:

Seems to be sorted. I texted her in general terms, she asked me to tell Mum she was well, asked if she (mum) could communicate.

I replied simply that she sleeps a lot and warned her that she's deteriorated quite a bit since last week.

She just asked me to keep her posted.

I usually dislike text messages for important things, but in this case its an advantage.

 

Thanks guys..seriously.

Thoughts are with you Meli.....You did the right thing by letting your sister know in the gentlest way possible....

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Adding my 2 cents ..

Tell your sister. Straight up. She will never forgive your "compassionate omissions"  

FaceTime or WhatsApp video if you can so she can see your Mom and your Mom can hear her voice.  

It's possible your Mom is hanging on until she knows your sister is safely out of surgery. Especially if they're as close as you say. 

Get your own discomfort out of the way of two people who sound tightly connected. You'll likely be surprised how well they both handle it. All I'm hearing is your discomfort, and quite honestly that's the least important component here. 

That said, I'm sorry you're in the situation at all - illness during COVID sucks.  Hang in there. 

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AND look after yourself. The hospice where your mother is will have a Social Worker and or Psychologist on staff. Seek them out and allow them to help you. The fact that you are seeking help here suggests to me that you will benefit from professional help. They will have a wealth of experience in these matters. As a family member you should be able to talk to your sister's specialist and I'm sure the Social Worker/Psych can help facilitate this. At the very worst an approach to the Social Worker/Psych can do you NO harm. Again, experience tells me that delaying getting help comes at great cost. Please, at the very least, consider it. Goes without saying that we are all thinking of you.

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Just been reading this thread Meli. Talk to your sister,  especially if Mum's condition is deteriorating. 

Besides, she's just had a mastectomy...ask her how she is.

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It's all done, saw mum today. sat with her all afternoon. She's non responsive.

I've told my sis and she says she appreciated the news even if it's sorry news.

So..that bit's broached.

again, thanks.

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2 minutes ago, Cristoforo said:

Ok good to hear.  I was going to offer to call your sister for you. 

Plesae stoppe tryeng so harde to be funney or 'nice' withe senisitieve topices.                                             :)

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Mum died this afternoon.

Sister seems to be taking it OK.

It's been a terrible horrible week.

I'm OK for now.

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As on the other thread, sorry for your loss.

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It's easy to forget about yourself, make sure you stay with your regime.  Hopefully your kids have rallied and will provide support.  Despite the current feelings, this is not a tragedy.  Your mom was old and it should be a celebration of her life.  Mine's 91 and despite my knee jerk to mourn, I will quickly make it a celebration.  My mom has had an incredible life, outlived her body, and in 91 yrs, has never made an enemy.  

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How is your sister?  Her prognosis, it gets lost in the confusion.  I'm pulling for her.  

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27 minutes ago, Cal20sailor said:

How is your sister?  Her prognosis, it gets lost in the confusion.  I'm pulling for her.  

Early days. 50% was mentioned before she started treatment. She didn't want to discuss it today.

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1 minute ago, Innocent Bystander said:

Meli. Sorry for your loss.  It’s particularly hard with the lock down restrictions.  

I haven't really processed it yet. It was a hard death and all any of us feel at the moment is relief.

The family is only small, Mum only has a brother left and he's too ill to travel and all her friends the same, so having the service in rural victoria will be fine numbers wise. we can get a permit for me and the kids to leave Melbourne.

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2 hours ago, Shortforbob said:

I haven't really processed it yet. It was a hard death and all any of us feel at the moment is relief.

The family is only small, Mum only has a brother left and he's too ill to travel and all her friends the same, so having the service in rural victoria will be fine numbers wise. we can get a permit for me and the kids to leave Melbourne.

Understand. Grieving is a process that takes time. My mother died of kidney failure (refused dialysis) as part of the after effects of a fall and hip fracture. Made it most of the way through rehab but failing kidneys couldn’t take the additional stress. Had a small but complicated estate that required a number of things to happen tax wise before she died so the last week was a real blur. 5 years later I still think about calling her when significant events happen and have a few moments of sadness that she isn’t still here. My  daughter’s wedding last weekend (last of the granddaughters to marry) was one of those times. 
 

Hopefully your thought of her will center around the good memories and you’ll think of her at significant family events going forward. 

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Sorry to hear Mel it’s never easy lost my Ma 3 years ago.

I seek solace in the little lessons learnt at her feet and honour her legacy by being the best person I can be, I know that she will be at peace knowing that.

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Meli, my condolences.

Like others have said, cherish her life and be thankful to have shared a part of her life. We are losing a generation that lived through hardships we can only imagine and that came out so much stronger by committing to a very basic set of principles: Live, love, do.

 

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Sorry to hear of the passing of your mother Meli. It's hard. I hope everyone around you rallies around you and gives you the support you need.

All the best with arrangements for her funeral and hope there are not too many complications put in your way given restrictions still in place in Victoria. 

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I'm so sorry. 

All that needs to be said has been said best by others above.  Just adding my voice to the chorus, so that it's a bit louder in those tough moments, and you'll know you're not alone. 

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On 10/17/2020 at 9:16 PM, Shortforbob said:

Mum died this afternoon.

Sister seems to be taking it OK.

It's been a terrible horrible week.

I'm OK for now.

Meli - sincerely sorry for your loss. Have been through this very recently - stay strong and well.

You will be ok.

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5 minutes ago, Dark Cloud said:

Meli - sincerely sorry for your loss. Have been through this very recently - stay strong and well.

You will be ok.

Thanks, I'm OK.

She's been ill a long time so it wasn't unexpected.

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On 10/9/2020 at 9:21 AM, Ukuri said:

Experience also tells me that much more damage is done when the truth is withheld than when it is shared.

 

Mel,

Write this down and save it.   Now that it's done, I'm sorry for all that you've gone through. May you find peace in whatever form you find it. 

 

Peace. 

 

 

 

-Ted

 

 

 

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Give us time.

 

(and condolences also)

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So sorry for your and your family's loss.

Best wishes for your sister's recovery.

Take care of YOU.

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My condolences on your loss Meli.

I wish your sister a speedy recovery as well.

And take care of yourself too.

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my condolences

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On 10/18/2020 at 7:44 AM, Shortforbob said:

Thanks, I'm OK.

She's been ill a long time so it wasn't unexpected.

Hang in there and if you're at all like me, 2020 cannot end soon enough!  Very sorry for your loss and my best to your sister.  

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50 minutes ago, Cal20sailor said:

Hang in there and if you're at all like me, 2020 cannot end soon enough!  Very sorry for your loss and my best to your sister.  

Nevere wishe the time away........... settes a badde preceedentte.............                             :)

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14 minutes ago, Snaggletooth said:

Nevere wishe the time away........... settes a badde preceedentte.............                             :)

Gotta break with you buddy, this is a year I could have done without.  

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1 minute ago, Cal20sailor said:
16 minutes ago, Snaggletooth said:

Nevere wishe the time away........... settes a badde preceedentte.............                             :)

Gotta break with you buddy, this is a year I could have done without.  

You an me bothe.............. butte nevere wishe time awaye, nevere...................                          :)

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3 minutes ago, Snaggletooth said:

You an me bothe.............. butte nevere wishe time awaye, nevere...................                          :)

That's fair.  Take care and stay healthy, seriously, how would any of us recognize you failing?

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