This update is difficult to write, as we’d hoped this would still be a year or down the road. A few weeks ago Mom failed a six-minute walk test which officially qualified her for rescue oxygen. Unfortunately shortly thereafter her breathing became worse and she started needing the oxygen more frequently until she was using it all the time. She went to the emergency room last Tuesday and was admitted. I waited to post this because at first the doctors thought maybe she had a secondary infection and they would be able to ween her back off the oxygen. But now they seem to all agree that she just had a quick down turn.
So, when mom is released from the hospital in a few days they will not be weening her off. Her new normal is oxygen 24/7. As usual, she’s handling it with more grace than any of the rest of us.
Growing up Mom always told us that everything in life happens for a reason. It’s really hard to stand by that belief when your mom is dying. The other night, with her best friend sitting at the end of her hospital bed, she told us that she wasn’t going out without a fight and that she still had things to do in this world.
Earlier in the day an NP covering for her cardiologist came back to see mom again to tell her something because, “she felt compelled to.” The NP is also a medical researcher who primarily studies lung diseases like cancer and COPD. She’s currently working on some kind of magnet hydrotherapy. I don’t really understand how it works because I’m not a doctor or scientist, but it has something to do with repairing cell damage. They’re not quite to clinical trial stage yet, but it can’t hurt mom to try it and realistically, we don’t have anything left to lose.
The equipment for the treatment will cost around $1000.00. And, because Mom will now be on oxygen all the time, she needs an oxygen tubing reel that will be $300-400. It won’t completely wipe out her funds, but will only leave a few hundred dollars her account, while her medical bills and needs will only grow as her disease progresses.