If I’m honest with myself

I’ve been totally freaking out every time Mom has some procedure done at the doctor’s office or hospital lately.

Last Thursday it was a bone marrow sample. She called me at work and told me she might be a bit late getting home (we were supposed to have dinner) because the doctor was taking a bone marrow sample.

And again, though not as bad, I got really anxious. Fortunately she was home by the time I got there and all was well for the time being.

I spent some time thinking about it this weekend. Initially I thought it was just because of what happened with Dad, and while that is a component of my anxiety, it is by no means the whole of it.

From everything I’ve been reading lately, and yes, our experience with Dad, there is less and less that can be done to help you as you get older. And the risks of any interventions (procedures, surgeries, what have you) get higher as you get older. Most of my family, Mom included don’t seem to be considering that there are risks to everything.

And sometimes the reward just doesn’t seem worth it to me. The stent she had put in 12 days ago doesn’t seem worth it. She’s had quintuple bypass, a couple of which have closed off. She’s had a couple of stents put in already. But she went to the doctor and said she didn’t feel good and he tried to make her feel better. But he told youngest sister that her heart is functioning at about 40% efficiency. And there’s really nothing he can do that will change that. I don’t think the risk was worth it.

She’s had to put off the one thing that might improve the quality of her day-to-day life. She has ulcerative colitis that has made her miserable for years and recently got a new doctor. He wants to do a colonoscopy/endoscopy and won’t change any of her treatments until he’s done that.

It’s the one health complication she has that might improve with the right treatment. And now she has to go through another couple of months worth of misery until the cardiologist says it’s OK to go ahead with the scoping. The whole thing makes me want to tear my hair out.

The same thing goes for the bone marrow study. What are they going to do if it’s something besides simple anemia? If it’s some sort of cancer or something. There’s no way she could survive chemo or radiation. She’s been frighteningly fragile since the beginning of Dad’s illness. She already takes enough iron to build a battleship, which doesn’t help her digestive issues. I don’t think giving her more is practical. Another useless and quite painful procedure.

So, if I’m honest with myself the reason I keep freaking out when she has stuff done is that I’m really afraid that more harm than good is being done.

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