Sunday, November 29, 2009

another walk

Mom took her time eating her "lunch," and it wasn't until after 5PM that David and I took her out of the house. By then, Dad had already gotten some of his list done, and it was dark outside.

We ended up taking Mom to National Airport instead of to a mall. We parked in a handicapped parking space next to one of the pedestrian bridges connecting the parking deck to Terminal B, and wheeled Mom away from the car and onto the concourse. We pushed her along and allowed her to people-watch a bit until we reached a counter where a lady was selling Rosetta Stone language learning software. She kindly allowed us to keep the wheelchair at her station while we took Mom for a stroll.

We probably walked a few hundred yards with Mom, though nothing like the 630-680 yards she would have done at Fort Hunt Park. Still, she walked farther than she had yesterday. After the walk, we got Mom back into her wheelchair (thanking the Rosetta Stone lady), wheeled her over to a bank of seats, parked her next to the last one, and sat down with her to people-watch. David got us some drinks and bought some Ritter Sport chocolate-- junk food that David remembers seeing back when we traveled through Switzerland together in 1991. No one ate any of the chocolate, for some odd reason. I asked Mom whether she liked being at the airport (after first quizzing her as to where we were: a hospital? a church? an airport?); she nodded. I then asked her whether this outing made her want to go shopping; she visibly brightened and nodded again. It definitely helps to give Mom a change of scene.

When Mom had had her fill of people-watching, we decided to head home. Getting Mom back into the van proved tricky; as Mom has gotten weaker, she has supported less and less of her own weight. David had to do a good bit of lifting and pushing to get Mom into the van's bucket seat. Mom tired herself out as well; she was huffing and puffing from the effort by the time we were ready to leave the parking deck.

We came home around 8PM. Dinner was once again leftovers, but with leftovers as awesome as ours, this wasn't a problem. For Mom, however, I elected to give her the rest of her Korean seaweed soup. She hadn't seemed all that excited about Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch, even though she did eat what I gave her. Over the next 90 or so minutes, Mom slowly downed the soup, often so distracted by the TV that she would stop eating altogether. I had to prod her to return to her bowl several times, but in the end, she finished everything on her own.

Mom's behavior during her late dinner reminded me that she had also acted strangely during lunch, as well as during yesterday's dinner: yesterday, she ignored her fork in favor of eating everything on her plate with a knife-- until I noticed what was going on, took away the knife, and replaced it with her fork. Today at lunch, she was plopping food onto her napkin (David caught this)-- something she had done on previous days as well. When it comes to Mom, every day gives us something new to think about.

David left sometime after 8PM to meet some friends. At around 11PM, Mom took the rest of her pills and suddenly seemed a bit nauseous. She didn't throw up, but she looked as if she might have wanted to. Dad gave her some anti-nausea medication to ease any symptoms. We've been lucky so far when it comes to the usual inconveniences that bedevil brain cancer patients. We haven't had to deal with out-and-out seizures, nor have we dealt with hair loss and vomiting. Mom's been quite stable in that respect. We're also lucky that Mom spends most of the night on her side: this is the ideal position if you have to vomit all of a sudden. I hope the day never comes when we have to deal with a choking problem. What a nightmare that would be.

Mom's fine right now (11:51PM as I write this); she's in the bathroom, and will be in bed soon. Tomorrow in the early afternoon, she's got an appointment with Dr. Meister, her medical oncologist-- a checkup to see how she's doing. The week I had taken Mom to the ER was the week we had tried contacting both Dr. Meister and Dr. Benson (her neurologist), but neither had been reachable. Tomorrow, at long last, Dr. Meister will be looking Mom over.

Overall, today wasn't a bad day for Mom. While she was far from her ideal level of strength and alertness, she still seemed very engaged during the time she was out with David and me. She enjoyed the post-Thanksgiving bustle of the airport, and even though she was a bit strange in how she handled her meals, she finished both lunch and dinner.


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