“Your mom is extremely malnourished. She can’t really eat,” the doctor said. “But, we can’t reinsert a nasal feeding tube due to the advanced stage of her systematic Scleroderma.”
“The rheumatologist confirmed this diagnosis?” I asked.
“Yes,” the doctor replied with concern in her voice. “I’m sorry to give you such bad news. I can explain the disease to you.”
“No need,” I said. “I’m familiar with it. I have an autoimmune disease or chronic illness and at one point a rheumatologist thought that’s what I had. I don’t though. So, I know the form she has and I understand it’s terminal at this stage. I know there’s no cure.”
“Okay,” the doctor says before she paused for a while, searching for the words she thought I needed to hear to comfort me.
“It’s okay,” I replied. “The diagnosis explains why her muscles have withered away, her skin has become tight and leathery, her ability to swallow is nearly gone, she’s list nearly 100 pounds, her joints are solid, unbendable and painful and she is in sudden renal failure. The tube will irritate her throat and close it more, speeding up her demise. And, I know the stomach is out because if her stomach cancer cattle and fibroids.”
“Right,” the doctor says choking up. “She’s fighting too many issues at one time. I don’t think there is any other medical intervention we can do. But, we can make her comfortable.”
“That’s what my mother deserves; she has earned peace and comfort so that’s what we will try to give her during whatever time she has left,” I responded.
I don’t know what was said or happened after that. The hours passed. I was awake at some points and sleep at others. I only know I got some rest because images of my mom and I through the years played in my head like a movie. Even though she is in the hospital and I can’t visit, she is with me.
“I will call you tomorrow to let you know when we can have a final family meeting,” the doctor said.
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