November 19, 2012 was fast approaching and I still was not at all sure, between moms constant pain and the weather, we would be able to make this trip. Mom needed to see this spine specialist.
We had to make this trip, we didn't have a choice.
Moms morphine had been increased to a point that made me wonder how she could even make it to the car, let alone tolerate the 5+/- hours it would take to reach our destination. Despite the recent increase in the morphine, she was still having to take breakthrough pain medication as often as once ever HOUR. She hurt all the time. This was likely going to be a long trip, but we didn't have a choice.
The drive time would likely be increased due to the weather. I know we need the moisture, but do we have to always get a big dose of it when I need to travel the mountains? I was no stranger to driving the passes in a snow storm and I know it can get BAD up there. Getting stuck on the pass with mom in her current condition was a scary thought. Regardless, we didn't have a choice.
For several days before moms appointments I closely monitored both the weather channel and mom. We had to make it over those mountains and we needed to get there soon. I didn't think we had a choice.
I watched road and weather reports constantly, knowing there was nothing I could do to control the
I had been mulling over an idea that my uncle had suggested a few days before. He was right, I could feel it in my gut. Weather be damned. We had to make that trip. We had to see that spine specialist. We didn't have a choice.
"Mom, I was thinking maybe we should get over the mountains sooner than later, the weather may not get much better", I hoped she couldn't see how scared I was as I continued, "we don't want to miss those appointments." I started talking again before she had a chance to reply, "I don't know if the weather is going to get any better and it would be better to get as far as we can as quickly as possible". I couldn't seem to stop validating my reasoning, "If we get their early we'll have some time to shop." Maybe if we broke the trip up in to two 2 1/2 hours trips it would be easier on her, I thought. "We'll get as far as we can. If the weather gets too bad we can stop & get a room, it will be an adventure", I was avoiding eye contact. I still wonder if she knew what I was really thinking. We didn't have a choice.
I think she had many of the same fears as I did. Of course, she didn't want me to know she was scared either. It wasn't that she was scared of dying, she wasn't. She was afraid of living in the pain she was in or worse. "I was thinking the same thing", mom said as she opened her jewelry box.
Echoing my thoughts, mom said, "I don't think we have a choice".
She was already deciding what "else" should go in the already stuffed car. I had packed, unpacked and repacked the car more than once over the last couple days as we kept adding things "we might need". Turns out, when mom & I travel together, we "might need" anything from swim suits to parkas no matter what our travel plans included. Some day I'm going to figure out how to trim down our load.
The swim suits were a nice thought. Mom loved to swim. If we got in the pool maybe the buoyancy would relieve some of the pain in her back. I was sure it would relieve some of the ever present pain caused by her severe rheumatoid arthritis. While I was certain somehow I could help her get in to the pool, the images that flashed through my mind didn't bolster my faith in my ability to get her out! We probably didn't need the suits. See, I already have a plan to lighten the load....next time.
With the tank full; the car stuffed; snacks handy; and mom drugged, the two of us set off in a snow storm in search of (at the very least) compassionate medical care for mom. We were going to hope
for the best and prepare for the worst. We didn't have a choice.
I didn't think I was delusional. I knew there was a very real possibility we were wasting precious time, that our quest was just a diversion, maybe even an illusion. Could we find a compassionate doctor who would see mom as a person? Someone who would treat her like she was a valuable member of society? Or, maybe someone who would at least not treat her like she was just an old lady who was wasting their time and draining precious resources. We had to try. We didn't have a choice.
Was it even possible that we would be lucky enough to at least find pain relief for mom without so many drugs? It wasn't like mom was getting a tremendous amount of relief with the drugs anyway, so what did we have to lose? Pain? We really didn't have a choice.
My imagination decided to take me to a place that mom had no pain. In my minds eye we went a lot of places; had some fun and enjoyed life like we had before. As always, my imagination has to show me both sides of the fence.
What if we didn't find what we were looking for? What if mom is destined to suffer? What if these doctors agreed with the doctors at home? What if they don't? What if I were just delusional? What if the weather prevented us from finding out?
We've got to find out!
Do we have a choice?