Monday, May 11, 2009


I'm sorry there haven't been any updates before now. Yesterday was Mother's Day, so I decided to slack off. Today, there's little to report, except that I'm increasingly becoming the head chef in the house, as Mom doesn't feel much like cooking. This works fine for me; I enjoy cooking.

Dad called Fairfax Hospital to find out whether Mom can have her radiotherapy mask made on the same day as her appointment with Dr. Tonnesen, the radiologist; the hospital said yes. (The hospital has to create a cast of Mom's face to aid their machines in aiming the radiation more precisely.)

My brother Sean dropped by this morning; he's promising Mom that he'll be bringing Maqz the chihuahua over tomorrow. David's coming over tonight with food for Dad. Because I stepped out for a short while with my buddy Mike, poor Dad almost had to cook dinner for Mom this evening-- an interesting prospect, since Dad claims he can't cook. I had shown him a bunch of Korean food that he could reheat; he was getting ready to do that when I walked back into the house.

Mom continues to exhibit blunted affect: her emotions just don't seem as strong as they used to be. She occasionally rouses herself from staring at the TV to ask questions like, "Are you going out wearing that?" (Yes, that was addressed to me; I've never been a fan of button-down fashion, preferring to dress like a slob whenever possible.) She seems concerned about goings-on inside the house, but doesn't seem proactively motivated to bustle around the house the way she used to. This isn't a critique: Mom's surgery was only a few weeks ago, and we can't expect her ever to heal fully. It does worry me, though, that this might be the new Mom from here on in.

Dad noted, last night, that Mom seems fine when she interacts with us three sons, but her temper is shorter with Dad. She gets annoyed with him very easily, usually about nothing important. It's a strange thing to witness: on the one hand, Mom doesn't seem to feel things as deeply anymore; on the other, her talk often seems more blunt and frank (the frontal lobe is related to inhibitions), and I too perceive that she gets a bit edgy toward Dad in particular. But are these repressed feelings coming out, or simply emotions distorted by a combination of cancer, surgery, and medicine? It's hard to know. For the moment, I lean toward distortion, because Mom has made some wildly inconsistent remarks to us.

I do know that Mom doesn't like to hear talk about doctors. Whenever Dad and I mention her treatment in her presence, she'll turn from the TV and declare, "OK, that's enough." Never forcefully, never with a tone of overt resentment, but in a manner that indicates she's tired of hearing about herself.

Many thanks to Mrs. Burns for dropping off a lovely soup and a bunch of fruit. Thanks, as well, to the good folks who continue to mail Mom get-well cards. The kind gestures are appreciated.

I'll be continuing the Dr. Fine transcription soon. From now on, I'll push that post to the top of the queue every time I make an update.

Oh, yes: Mom's appointment with Dr. Tonnesen is this coming Wednesday the 13th. She's also got to make her radiotherapy mask that day, so we'll be out of the house for a while.

Many thanks to the people who have called in to ask about visiting Mom, and for being considerate re: planning such visits in advance. This method is a lot less stressful for Mom, who still feels hesitant about meeting or calling people.


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