If Mama Sang: Hazel

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Updates about Aunt Hazel's health issues:

January 30:

From Sandra: Thanks for the report, Laura, and thanks for taking Mom to the doctor and for sending the report.  Sounds pretty serious.  Of course, we all knew it was something serious.  I pray it will go in remission; go away--never to return.  I know there are people lots more sick.  It's so hard to see Mom so down when we have never seen her sick like this.  I called her this evening (around 7:30) and she sounded exhausted.  She told me she was going to bed early...that she was really tired from being out today (doctor, etc.).

January 29:

rheumatogy PA did wonderful exam, took great history, answered all mom's questions and here's what she said.

i cannot be sure at this point but according to the history you have recited and your most recent lab results and my findings on your physical exam, you have PMR (poly-myositis rheumatica)  means multiple (poly) muscle (myo)inflammation (itis) of the rheumatoid (auto immune, caused by body's failure to recognize "self" from "non-self") type.  zillions of labs drawn to confirm.  steroids up to medium high dose and steroid injection given as well.  many people go into remission for months or even years after the steroid treatment.  it is a wait and see.  also observe for side effects on the steroids.

will keep you posted,  going back in 2 weeks to see how steroid treatment has affected muscle pain and weakness and will see physician instead of PA at that visit.

January 26th: OK, Everybody! Heads up: This is a long, necessary letter from my cousin Laura re: Aunt Hazel. I copied the e-mail verbatim. It's long but an update. For most of us our privilege lies in the last paragraph.

dear family,

please help me out here...if you see a wrong email address or notice a missed family member, please forward to them.  no one is ever left out intentionally. thanks.

mom is going to have 6 appointments for physical therapy.

the closest insurance approved place for her is at 4500 E. Sam Houston Pky, Suite 215.  that is on the corner of Crenshaw and the Beltway, pretty easy to get to from her house.  mom has their business name and telephone number.  the scheduler is Yvette and mom's physical therapist will be Lolly.

the earliest appointment available is tuesday, february 2nd at 1:30 and will take aproximately 1.5 hours.  0.5 for paperwork and 1 hour for the evaluation and exercise.  no one has to stay with her; but can if that's good for you.

the other 5 appointments will be given at that time.

is there anyone who can commit to all the appointments?  i have gas money if that is an issue for anyone, and don't be embarrassed to tell me, it will not go any further. been there myself.

i can take her to any appointments that are on wednesdays or thursdays, but those are the only days i have off.  there is no one for me to trade with or who can substitute for me at my job because i am the only worker for that clinic.  if i am "out" the clinic has to close.  it is also unacceptable to my employer as i signed a contract with the express understanding about that and that i would be obligated to keep the clinic open for them until at least july 3rd.

i am taking her to the rheumatologist this friday morning by special arrangement and was able to take her to the neurologist who prescribed the physical therapy as well as to a blood draw last thursday.  she will have a neurosurgeon appointment next week but i will schedule that on a day that i am off.  sandra took her to the first out of hospital appointment with dr. murphy.

point is, she has to have the therapy to avoid losing the use of her left hand until it can be "fixed".  thank God it is not neck/spinal surgery that will be required.

everyone has been wonderful calling, sending cards and visiting.  she especially loves to see evan after church on sundays.  thanks, bryan and lisa, for taking him over.  she talks about it a lot.  tim has been great staying on weekends, cooking, taking out trash, even doing laundry.  don't be shy to do those things when you visit.  there are no visiting maids yet!  hahah marla has taken milk and been faithful to call.  sister and jeffrey have visited and brought the new prescriptions that i dropped off.  you all know that kay spent the entire day at the hospital visiting and walking mom around.  thank God she did not lay up in the bed the entire time she was there (mom, not kay) because at her age, if she had done that, it would have taken her a long time to get back on her feet.

and wasn't it wonderful of albert orendorff to drop what he was doing and drive down from shreveport to stay with her from sunday night until wednesday morning?  he said he never thought much about that kind of thing, staying with someone who could not do everything for themself, until his mom, aunt frieda, was dying of cancer and wanted to be at home.  she could not have hospice unless someone agreed to be there all the time and take responsibility as her primary caregiver.  that person was albert.  he is quite the man, let me tell you, and aunt frieda told mother that he was as good to her as her own mother.  isn't that sweet?  to my mind, everyone in this family owes albert a big thank you for doing this for our mom and grandma while we were working, sick, or just off.

getting mom well is going to take a lot of coordination and cooperation.  i am "driving" the visits because i have time in the clinic to make the calls and stay on the offices until they give the appointments and get the paperwork and reports faxed where they're supposed to go.

i am deliberately exluding tra and stacy from this email because stacy was in the hospital for 2 nights last week and i don't think she can do any more than she's doing at home right now.  she's kind of in the same situation that lisa was in last week, glad you are better.  sorry i don't have an email for john.  mother still talks about him "just coming to the hospital to visit me."  that is how i want her to feel about everything that each of us do...like we are just doing it because we want to.  her friend irene spent the day today and jackie, another friend from bayshore towers, is coming another day this week.  tim is in port arthur for an indefinite period of time, working with the coast guard on cleaning up the 480k barrel oil spill.

george went by to see mom this evening after the memorial service for david hurst. she talks about calls from lea, brother, sara, nancy, grayson and said she talks to sandra every day.  way to go, sister!  she has shown me cards from grayson's girls and sara and bo's family (over and over:)  4021 Vista, Pasadena, TX  77504 the pastor and sister sue visited her in the hospital and the pastor visited again at home last week.  she has had flowers from her sunday school class and brother and others.

so, who wants to take mom to therapy Tuesday, February 2nd, Crenshaw and Beltway 8, for an hour and a half, and get the schedule (and email everyone with it) for the other 5 physical therapy visits?

the ones who can't help in person can pray for those who can and take a moment to call or send a card to mom.  we all understand that everyone can't be everyplace. soon we will have her great grandchildren to help too!!!  we have such a wonderful family that he has blessed over the years.

that's all i know.
love, laura/mom/aunt laura