Tag: Cancer


My mother would have turned 57 years old today. I wonder what she would have looked like if she had stayed healthy.

Edit: And then I saw this, which nearly crushed me.


While recently banks and financial institutions have been getting a lot of the heat from people for their complicity in the global economic crisis, it’s taken a bit of wind out of the sails of people trying to expose other corporate missteps. As news coverage of corporate malfeasance and misconduct focusses on big bonuses in the financial industry, they’re taking away from the coverage of a far more insidious problem in the food and gentech industry. Want to turn into a tin-foil hat wearer in an instance? Look into Monsanto for a change. It’s enough to make you want to pull a Unabomber. Here’s the tip of the iceberg.


…to the worse day of my fucking life. No joke, no exaggerations, this far outweighs the day I sat next to my father’s bed and watch him die. This time, however, my mother seemed to get really close to it. It all started a few days ago, when she became less and less energetic and started losing her breath and as a result hyperventilating. On top of that, she seemed to be getting sleepier and sleepier, to the point, this morning, where I was not able to fully wake her up any longer. She also started talking nonsense, as if she was confused or delirious, except she didn’t have the costumary fever to go along with the fever. She also became clumsy, disoriented and a little feeble in her manner. I became concerned a few days ago, but now it was time to get her to a hospital. (To be honest, I would’ve rather headed to the airport, but it was too late for that. The deterioration went so fucking quick.)

So I got the spend all day at the emergency room in the hospital of Imperia, which meant I was surrounded by doctors and nurses who hardly spoke English and it was very confusing to figure out what they had done in terms of research and what the conclusions were. Luckily, the family we’re staying with both work at the hospital, one as an orderly and one as a nurse, and they helped termendously to make sense of the chaos. As is customary in Italian hospitals (apparently) is that nobody can be present during any procedures, so I got kicked out of the room a lot. I thought my mother would freak at that, but I guess the positive side of being so lethargic and sleeping because of it is that a lot of stuff just passes you by. So no freak-outs. Good. So I was there for six hours before she was admitted to a proper room on the Medicina Donna ward (female medicine), which meant another bunch of being kicked out. Our two family members weren’t able to join us for much of it, so I could hardly protest them kicking me out of the room the whole time. Finally I was admitted, and I took up my place next to my unconscious mother.

During all of this, my mind was moving a thousand miles a minute trying to figure out what to do. One of the overwhelming feelings I had was that I wanted to get her to the Netherlands, and so, through Frank, I was able to get in contact with SOS International, an organisation that specialises in repatriation of the ill and the dead. Sadly, they can only do something once they have an accurate assesment of what the problem is with the patient. That was taking some time, and so I waited. Meanwhile, the news was spreading among my friends as I was frantically trying to figure out the logistics of getting my mother back to .nl until Jan joined me and said that there wasn’t a doctor in the world that would dismiss my mother in her current state. He had a point, but I didn’t want to admit it. Admitting it would mean I had to stay in Italy with my mother until a) her situation improved to the point where she could travel or b) her situation deteriorated to the point where she would die. Neither seemed very appealing. Waiting isn’t appealing.

When the doctor finally came to see her, armed with the blood tests and x-rays they took. He didn’t speak any English, but Jan was there to translate. He asked a bunch of questions, especially about the medication she was taking. She has brain, lung, liver, bone and stomach cancer, so naturally she is taking some pills. After some back and forth he concluded that the first order of business was to get her off the medication. Amongst the medication are two substances – Lyrica and Methadon – that have an affect on the respitory system, and Methadon especially, when taking high doses, cause the patient to become drowsy. He thought that she was simply taking too much medication, which resulted in the symptoms she was afflicted by. He was going to stop the medication (or at least some of it) only administering it when she was in pain. Hopefully she will show signs of improvement in the morning. She has until thursday to be well enough to travel because that’s when our return flight departs. That would be sweet, but I’m being cautiously optimistic now, which is a shite side better than I was during most of the day.

The idea of her being over-medicated was corroborated by my sister, who said that her personal physician, who is of the opinion that in the state she’s in right now she should never feel a bit of pain, said that once she got lethargic they could no longer up the dossage of pain medication and the next step would be euthenasia, according to her wishes. Sadly, that’s not an option in Italy. Italy will probably be the last country on the planet that will legalise euthenasia, which is another reason I want to get her back .nl side.

I’m keeping all my fingers and toes crossed, and hope she won’t feel lonely or scared in the hospital until tomorrow. Luckily, Tina has a night-shift that starts at 22:00 and ends at 8:00, and will be able to go and check up on her regularly. Jan is working from 6:00 til 14:00, and will be able to do the same. I want to go tomorrow, too. Hopefully better rested, better dressed (I just threw something on), showered and fed, because this day killed me. I had half a sandwich and a bit of coke all day. Luckily, I smell Jan’s wonderful cooking and my stomach is growling.