Family Fear: will Grandma outlive Grandson?
Posted by Mike O on May 31, 2008
UPDATE: My mother passed away on July 19th, 2009. It didn’t take a year of being dependent on medicare/medicaid daily care in a nursing home to do what 70 years of smoking couldn’t; sap the life from her. Once bedridden and blind, the government’s answer to healthcare really dooms you, even with family showing up almost every evening to supply supplemental care.
My mother is 91 next month and smokes a pack a day. A few days ago, we found out she has an outside shot at outliving my 20 year-old son. Alan has NF2, a genetic disorder leading to normally benign tumors on the nerve sheaths. In the last two years we’ve been dealing with this, all it’s cost him is about 75% of his left ear’s hearing, some facial palsy and a weak left foot. But tests came back a few days ago that suggest his largest mass may have gone malignant; meetings with the surgeons start next week. The best outcome likely from the removal is significant weakness on his right foot and abdominal muscle. If it is indeed malignant, prognosis out just two years is poor and not much fun during that time. Still, some make it out 5 years, a handful to full remission. Hard to know when you’re dealing with a condition that they see in maybe one in 250,000 at most.
So what are we doing this week? What we had planned to do before; go whitewater rafting in Colorado, clearly for Alan’s last time. These things are like the river we’ll be rafting:
- You have very minimal control of the actual end point, but you try to use skill and a cool head to ride it out the rough stuff the best you can.
- You try to look like you know what what you’re doing and that this is the most normal thing in the world, even when it isn’t.
- You realize that maintaining the quality of the ride is far more important than the duration.
Needless to say, my posting frequency will likely suffer and the contents will definitely take on a different tone. I will add one quasi-political note: say what you want about American health care, but my boy would pretty much have no chance anywhere else.