My 88-year-old mother had to go into the hospital last week. Since I work nights (and therefore sleep days), Susan the Wonderspouse has been dealing with visiting and coordinating care and talking with nurses and doctors and phoning the relatives and everything, bless her heart. She tells me my mom's symptoms looked like classic congestive heart failure, but that was ruled out pretty quickly, as were a number of other possible diagnoses. Mom was in pretty bad shape when she went in (depressed blood potassium, elevated blood CO2, blocked kidneys, barely awake, and mostly incoherent); in fact, she was in such bad shape that they asked us about her DNR preferences. We said no, no, do as much as you can — she was totally lucid and doing things like driving and shopping and cooking as little as two or three weeks ago. You know, her collapse had come on pretty suddenly and it seemed to us that mom still had a lot of good years ahead of her; sure, less mobile and less comfortable we'd like, but still mentally sharp. Once they got her on oxygen she regained her focus and seemed to be improving.
So this afternoon the biopsy on the fluid drained from around her heart came back positive. We'll probably be meeting with the Oncologists Friday morning to figure out exactly how best to proceed and how many weeks … or days … mom's got left.