Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Well, like I thought....

My mom's cat has cancer and the tumor is causing his abdomen to fill with fluid.  They don't recommend draining it, because they say it would just come back in a day or two....

Once again, I'm not quite sure how to handle it.  My brother is not helping.  I'm faced with a lot of "options" and none of them are ideal.

1) Do I tell my mom her cat is dying?  I believe it's good to be honest, but I'm also afraid that she may become more depressed on hearing this news.  I don't want her to decide that "life's not worth living" any more.  But I'd rather tell her.

2) Do I bring the cat for a visit?  A few days ago I did bring him to the nursing home, and except for the fact that he really didn't do a lot of walking around, he acted "normal".  She enjoyed the visit and didn't want the cat (or me) to leave.  But the next day, I reminded her to tell my brother, when we called him on the phone, that she'd seen her cat, she didn't really sound too excited about it.....then today, the first thing she said to me, even before "Hi" was "How's Thor doing?"  I'd like my mom to be able to spend a few more moments with him before he goes.  But......I also don't want her to be expecting him to come every so often and then he just suddenly stops coming.

A caveat to this is that when my mom moved into the assisted living apartment, she had to give up her elderly dog (he came to live with us, too).  About 3 weeks later (and this was when DH was having his HUGE mental health issues), DH figured the dog had been at our house long enough to where he should be able to be "off-leash" (not chained up, but loose--remember, we live in the country and that is "normal" for most dogs).  Anyhow, he let my mom's dog off the leash, not realizing that the dog had some sort of dementia, too, and the little poodle mix took off down the road.  DH couldn't find him at all.  I spent about 6 hours looking for him, and finally found him running up the road.  From what I could tell, he had been running for a very long time.  But other than that, he seemed ok, and I was so relieved that I found him....brought him home, made sure he had food and water.....and the next day he was dead.  Since he didn't even get to visit my mom before he died, and my mom was a lot more "with it" back then, I kept lying about how he was "doing fine" etc....and when she came over, I'd talk about how he'd heard some gunshots and was hiding under the bed....I (of course) never brought up visits after that, and just let my mom think that I never really thought of it.....it HUGELY stressed me out to lie like that, but I didn't want her to think that I/we didn't take good care of her beloved dog.....eventually I did tell her that the dog had died, but I never told her the truth about what happened.....Now....I'm in a similar situation.  My mom has only been "officially" in the nursing home for about a month.  And here I go again, one of her pets, that is in my care, is going to be dead soon again.  Lots of thoughts and feelings related to that.

3) Today I think that the worst thing about loving a person with Alzheimer's is that you are responsible for every single decision in their life, and making the wrong decision could have dire consequences.  At the very least, every decision has the potential to be fraught with guilt.


perphila said...

I so sorry about Thor.

Try and remember you didn't give him cancer. When you feel the weight of making all the decisions you can tend to blame yourself for everything even things that are not in your control. Even though the situations are different I totally understand how you feel about how each and everything you do feels like a make or break it choice for the one you love. I feel like everything I do for the kids is either going to help them in the long run or give them years of therapy with a life time of mess up hardships. I have never felt the burden of being a parent more than I am feeling right now. As an only child I know it won't be long before I have to make similar choices for my own mom. I had been thinking about it concerning my dad but then he passed away suddenly. I was "let off the hook" in the worst way possible. What if's are something I know I shouldn't dwell on and you shouldn't either.