Sunday, December 16, 2012

[The Life of Shaun #457] Return to Naperville

Advent has brought me back to the Midwest.  I've agreed an arrangement with my manager to work remotely from here for a while to be by Mom for the holidays and after, as needed.

I arrived on Tuesday, after a two-day layover in New York to renew my driver's license, to a much-deteriorated Mom than I left a month ago.  When I saw her last, she was thin and walked slowly, but was good overall.  She's now so weak she needs help any time she moves.  We're getting ready to relocate her to the main floor of the house so she won't have to go up and down stairs anymore.  But by far the worst thing is the pain.  The cancer has spread everywhere; Mom has tumours all over her body - arms, legs, buttocks - everywhere.  One in her arm is pressing on a nerve, which causes her terrible pain any time she moves her arm, so much she screams out sometimes.  We have to be so delicate with every move with her, the slightest pressure causes her agony.  It's like moving delicate glass.

We're working with the hospice doctor to find the right combination and rotation of methadone, morphine and ibuprofen to mitigate the pain; some days it works, other days, like today, it doesn't.  And that's been the hardest thing - seeing my Mom crying from pain and not being able to do anything about it.  It's so awful.

There was a thought that I would return to London at the start of January for a few weeks if Mom were doing well, and then come back here later.  But she's too bad already, so I will be staying here into the new year.  I have some friends who'll be visiting the area over the coming weeks, so have myriad punctuations in my schedule to look forward to and distract me.  And Trader Joe's are doing a roaring trade in red wine with the Coley family.

But despite all the negatives, of course I am so glad to be here.  Our family haven't done Christmas all together in I don't know how many years, and it's really nice to be here all together. Stressful, at times horrible, but mostly nice.

Cheers,
Shaun


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Shaun H. Coley | At large in Naperville, IL | www.nocirc.org

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