Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Good news Bad News

In that yin/yang thing of life, yesterday was a good news, bad news kind of day. On the huge plus side, Rob's ocular pressure is holding steady and he doesn't need to return till July. I am very pleased. I joined a glaucoma list when he was first diagnosed and by and large the parents on that list are dealing with situations much much more severe than his seems to be at present. But when you read about some of the meds, the surgeries that may become necessary, well it is good fretting fodder. Also I had Kirsty ask the Dr about the use of allergy meds. Rob has seasonal allergies and there are occasions during the year when it would be helpful to give him something for the congestion. I used to with no qualms until last year when I looked at the box and it had this big honking glaucoma warning all over it. Same with cold meds. So I essentially have not given him those meds. His allergies are so sporadic that I kept forgetting to have K check with his MD and see if there was an option. What I did to help alleviate symptoms was simply saline spray and a shower right off if we had been outside. Not ideal but got us by. And unlike K and I, his allergies are only a week here and there and occasionally a grass sensitivity if we have been in a field in high summer. (hence the shower when we would get home) So that is all good.

The bad news concerned my mom's husband. Ken is 95 and we have all known that obviously his time is coming. He has been in a nursing home facility for a number of years now when his needs became too much for Mum to handle at home. Recently due to some new health concerns he had some type of testing done and it reveals a cancerous tumor on the pancreas. He is too frail for surgery and the dr said chemo would kill him so the end is likely a bit quicker than we thought.

I need to figure out getting the kids (and us of course) up to see him again asap. We planned to visit a couple of months ago and then the nursing home was filled with a stomach bug and Ken himself was ill with it. After that was done, then various ills started through our house making it impossible to visit. Who brings sickness with them when they visit the elderly?

I am also trying to figure out the best way to talk about this with the kids. Before we see Ken the last time? After we see Ken? I am leaning toward the latter--I would want their visit to be happy (both for their sakes and for Ken). I know my KC will be taking this very hard. Every since he was a tiny baby he has had a very special bond with Grampa. They share the same name (though that is a bit of a coincidence because Kenneth was my grandfathers name and the impetus for KC's name) Also the nickname of KC was Ken's when he was a child. Another thing I never knew because I met him late in life and by then he was not at the nickname stage of his life! :-)

Mostly I just want Ken's passing to be as painfree as possible and for his family and my mom to manage to get along while and after this happens. They all seem to clash rather often and I know stress can make those type of situations even more volatile.


Carol E. said...

Having been through my own father's death and seeing how my children and nieces responded, I would advise letting them have a chance to say goodbye. I think they would feel terrible if they were happy and kind of glib about the visit and found out later it was their last chance.

Lee said...

Thank you for your comment Carol. I am still conflicted about how best to do this. I was thinking of talking just generally before the visit about how Grampa's body is weaker and tireder these days. What I worry about is my aspergers guy who will have a hard time w/ his emotions flooding him and will respond w/ 50 million medical questions, and my 4 y/o being so weepy that my mom's husband is upset. I am thinking of his state of mind as well. Hmmmmm.

Lynn said...

Hi Lee,
I would suggest not directly telling them that this will be the last time they see Grampa (noone really knows that anyway). But just remind them of his age and his frailties and that any time they see him could be the last.