Jun 13, 2011 - 6:06 am
My beautiful Mom was admitted to a private hospital in South Africa on the 4th of May. She has been treated by her doctor for an ulcer, which came and gone after my Dad's passing. She was also treated for Kidney pipe infection. But that Wednesday morning, she was in bed, complaining of alot of pain on the sides of her chest and struggling to breath due to the pain. We had to let the ambulance take her to the hospital, because she couldn't be moved. After x-rays, blood tests, and CT scans, the doctor informed me that she will be admitted to the wards to remove a kidney stone. So while she was in hospital, medications for pain was given, but nothing helped to ease her pain. She was so much in pain, she couldn't lift herself in bed or even walk. The surgery, to remove the stone was scheduled, as well as a gastroscopy, for Friday the 6th of May. After the surgery, we were told that the stone was not removed, because it is not the reason for her pain. Instead they only did a gastroscopyo, and took biopsies of her stomach. She was very disappointed, because the agoning pain was still there. The docter was still awaiting the biopsy results, but told us that he suspects cancer in her stomach. Now, I don't have a clue what this is all about. I only know you can get cancer, and you can survive it. I did not know anything about stages, options and treatments. He was the doctor, I expected him to tell us what to expect. All that we were told, is that he is going to remove half of her stomach if he can operate, otherwise, if the cancer has spread too far, he will have to close her up, and leave it in God's hands. We prayed so much. I talked to God all the time.
The day of the surgery was on Tuesday, 10 May. Mom had so much support from all her family and friends, and her church. God willing, if something should happen, she was ready to meet her maker. After a two hour operation, the doctor came out and told us the operation was a success. He removed everything he could see, but because of the fluids in her stomach, he is not sure. So ok...He operated, so that means it did not spread. He was the one who said if it has spread to far, he will have to close her up.. And what fluids??? If only the staff can talk to us directly and explain, but who am I kidding.
So after the surgery, mom was in ICU for 8 days. She had a difficult time in ICU. I know the surgery was a huge one, but the pains in her sides was still "killing" her. A physician monitored her daily and said it was because of the operation that she has so much pain. Daily they had to increase her pain medication, because it just did not help, and they said she can't get morphine, because she will get constipated. So what do I know, I did not study to be a doctor.
On Wednesday, the 18th of May, she was moved to a normal ward. Still complaing of that pain in the sides of her chest and still on oxygen. Her surgical doctor and physician both said, if she doesn't feel nauseous and can move around, she might be discharged. So in the meanwhile, there was some issues with her medical aid, complaining that the cancer is a pre-excisting condition, and they might not pay for the treatment in hospital. The surgical doctor came to speak to us about it, and told us if the medical aid does not pay, he will not charge us for his services. I thought, thank you God! What a Christian act! Who does it!!! Which doctor does this!!! On Thursday, the 19th of May, Mom was discharged to go home. Condition on discharge record says satisfactory. Stillpain tablets was sent with her. Relatives was informed = tick. Transport arranged = tick. Support and escort to transport = tick. X-rays taken by patient = tick. Clothing/valuebles = tick. Follow-up appointment = N0. Woundcare = What?? Chemo = ???
On Friday morning, Mom was still in pain at home. Pain meds did not help, and I could see a waiste of the past two weeks, as it is all starting again. If I am not going to do something, Mom will have to go back to hospital for the same problem she was initially admitted for. What was that again??? Stil waiting for diagnosis, because i feel they accidentally stumbled on the stomach cancer and did not treat her initial problem.
I tried to make an appointment with her GP, but he was weekend off, so I decided to go to to my GP instead. Mom was in too much pain, so I went with all the x-rays, CT scans and ultrasound results for advice. My doctor went through it and phoned the physician, but he was also weekend of. So she phoned the surgeon who operated on my mom and they both agreed that from the previous x-rays and pains she is having, that she must have pneumonia. So back to the hospital, but there was a problem. The medical aid's funds are up! I made a decision to take mom to the government hospital that evening. She was in excruciating pain. Even after pain injections has been given, it did not help. Here we are with new doctors, who doesn't know her history, and looks irritated for treating another doctor's surgery patient.
The doctors started treating mom for pneumonia on the Sunday. I had to get a full report from the surgeon who operated on her stomach, so the doctors who is treating her now, knows what is going on. I understand that. We phoned the surgeon on the Monday morning asking for a report. He was very rude about it, but eventually told me to pick it up from his secretary. The doctors at the government hospital was still not satisfied, because it does not really say why, what, etc. regarding the operation, so they decided to phone the surgeon. After a while, they got hold of him, and he said his secretary will send them all the test results and another report, and that he is finished with mom's case and does not want to be bothered about this anymore. WTF!!! What is going on here???
While all this is going on, Mom started feeling needles and pins in her legs, and I try to make her feel comfortalbe not to worry about it. By Wednesday the 25th of May, she couldn't move or feel her legs. She was terrified, but still, I tried to comfort her and told her that the doctors will sort this out. Otherwise, she looked good. She did not have pain or discomfort, just a very swollen stomach and no feelings in her legs. She wanted me to bring her wool so she can knit again and we were happy. Thursday, 26 May, the doctors came to tell us difficult news. Apparently, from the CT scan that was taken the day before her operation, on the 9th of May, it showed that the cancer was in her bones. The cancer has metastasized to her spine and maybe her lungs. They had to take samples from the fluids in her stomach and lungs for tests. They also said that not all the cancer has been removed from her stomach during the operation. What?!?!? Mom heard them, but believed that she can get better. I think at that time she did not understand how serious this problem is. She was moved to a single room where she can get more care. She did not react to the pain medication, so during the weekend they started giving her morphine pills, about 2-3 times a day. The doctors wanted to transfer her to another hospital who can treat her with chemo, but Mom was to weak to travel. While at hospital, Mom was permanently on oxygen, but on Saturday evening, she started to have difficulty in breathing. On Sunday, she looked worse. We decided as a family to get counsellors from the church to speak to her, because she would never have told us her real pains and fears, to protect us from it. She looked so bad, i told the family that they have to go visit her that Sunday evening to say goodbey if she does not make it. Even her pastor came for a visit.
On Monday morning, 30 May, my sister and I waited for the doctor. We wanted to know is it as bad as we think and see? And they comfirmed it. They could not give us a time frame what we are looking at, but it is the most terrible thing to see you parent go through something like this, and you can do nothing on earth to help her. The morphine was now administred through her IV, and she hallucinated alot. When se saw our Dad a few times, we knew that it wont be long. Sadly, Mom passed on Thursday, 2 June 2011. She just stopped breathing. Cause of death was Cancer.
I believe Mom is now with her Maker and my beloved Dad. But i have alot of questions and guilt. Why was the severity of the cancer never discussed with us? Why the operation?? Why didn't they refer us to an oncologist? Why was no options discussed with us? She wasn't given a fighting chance. She could have lived a little longer, and prepared for what came if chemo or radiology treatments worked... Or not, but now I'll never know. Even the doctor at the last hospital made the comment: "No wonder that doctor said you don't have to pay for his services" I felt guilty because i did not ask these questions, but at the end of the day. I know nothing about cancer, they were the doctors. They are getting paid for their services. THey should have known something was not right. Just strange enough, the bill for the anaesthetist came last week, and on his bill it says "malignant neoplasm - stomach" Meaning a tumor that is malignant and tends to spread to other parts of the body. Excuse me!!! How did he know of her condition, and we didn't? They way it looks, the surgeon also did not know!?! How can someone play God with someone else's life and just get away with it! Does any of this sound fishy?