Two months ago my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which had metastisized to virtually every organ in her body. She died this week, after a stunning spiral from a vibrant independent and funny woman to a jaundaced skeletal uncommunicative woman in incredible pain. What happened in between is the worst horror story, the worst nightmare imaginable. She had fiscal resources, excellent insurance, and me, an energetic dedicated nurse who quit everything to provide full time care in my home for her. Mom was offered, and accepted chemotherapy...which did little but to create the humiliation of baldness, the unfathonable and untreatable nausea, and the use of limited energy to go to the high tech supermarket of chemo administration in the glass and chrome office of the oncologists' group practice. With increasing doses of oxycontin and hydocodone for break through pain, I repeatedly called the answering machine of the nurse who worked for this group reporting her intractable pain. I was told to limit the ancillary pain medication to (incredibly) prevent harming the liver from the tylenol content. Following unresponsiveness, except for the moans, Hospice was offered. I refused Hospice. I am a RN, with support from nursing friends, all equipment and medication had been purchased, I believed that adding new caregivers into the equation was not indicated, or appropriate during the final hours of her life. I sought only drugs to control the pain, suggesting a patch, or morphine. It was denied, due to my refusing Hospice at that time. I am telling my family that Mom died peacefully in her sleep. It is a lie.
Fri Aug 9 08:42:37 2002 back to other Contributions page