I’ve been alternating between pissy and mopey for the past week. To help improve my mental state, I was going to post links to a couple a favorite sites. That was until talking with my mom last night.
I’ve been fairly unsympathetic to her about her physical ailments in the recent months. Most of the things turn out to be fairly minor, although often painful. I know I should have been kinder, but I got so worn out from the whole “Boy Who Cried Wolf” scenario; Mom jumping from one crisis to the next and things always turning out OK in the end.
But last night was the big one. The inevitable one. I figured it would eventually be her heart, given the blood pressure and cholesterol issues, and our family history. I was wrong. She went in yesterday for an upper GI X-ray. She’s had stomach and abdominal pain on and off for about a year now. It started around the time she had shingles and at first thought it was related to that. She started passing blood in her stools sometime more recently. I figured it was an ulcer, given her history of GI problems. I was wrong. It’s a mass in her stomach. Most likely it’s cancer. And I think I’m being optimistic saying “most likely”. I didn’t ask exactly what the radiologist said, but he was pretty straightforward with her and it doesn’t sound like he was doubtful. She goes in next week for a scoping (endoscopy?) of her stomach and a biopsy of the growth. She also convinced the doctor to check her small intestine at the same time. She may (Definitely? Maybe?) need stomach surgery to remove the thing. Right now we don’t know where this will go. It’s all resting on the outcome of the scope/biopsy.
I think I’m in shock/denial right now. I’m feeling numb. I talked to my boss quickly about it this morning, just to let him know that next week’s procedure will involve more than we originally thought.
Also depending on the outcome, Mom and I are considering hiring a malpractice attorney. She’s had stomach pain on and off for a year and only recently did the doctor order the tests. And that was AFTER she went to the ER with abdominal pain (due to a kidney infection) accompanied with bloody stools. And the “earliest” they could get her in for testing was about 3 weeks after the ER visit. Yeah, she’s been having bloody stools for a month now…apparently with no hurry from the doctor to get it tested.
I am fed up with piss poor medical care. I think specialty care, such as oncology, and certain ailments more common with the elderly is fairly good here (I pray the oncology care is good), but general medicine and mental health care in this area are shit. She has been so through much to get the much-needed mental health care she requires and it’s still lacking. She switched to a new internist shortly before she came down with shingles, because her old one kept ignoring certain symptoms, promised to refer her to a rheumatologist to help her deal with the arthritis, yet never did. So it seems the new internist, who has had a year of caring for Mom, dropped the ball as well.
A former coworker successfully sued the clinic Mom is using. I don’t know the exact details, but he was in a bad car accident several years ago and the doctor said he just had soft-tissue damage and sent him for physical therapy. That “damage” was actually a fracture in his neck or back and the therapy could have led to paralysis. Luckily, he either consulted another doctor or the therapist picked up on something amiss, and after MRIs and X-rays, they found the fracture. I’m considering getting his contact info and giving him a call.