diagnosis and prognosis – as differentiated by a pro

my grandmother had to be rushed to the hospital again yesterday.  but unlike her almost daily hospital visits for the past week, she finally agreed to stay and be confined.  she has lost her appetite and has been vomiting her food and some blood.  she is anemic and needs transfusions.  she also lost a lot of weight in the past week.  still, she refuses to admit that she’s sick.  for her, she’s still okay.  i think she’s just saying that because: 1.  she wants to see her (ugly…promise, they’re really not sightly) dogs, 2. she doesn’t like the hospital very much, 3.  she’s simply in denial that she already has a very advanced stage of cancer. 

last night, i brought her commode (this portable toilet) and some of her other stuff to her, with one of my grand aunts.  we also had in tow (aside from my legal method stuff which just served as a security blanket), my bestfriend, miharu and her husband, bart. mij is a medical intern right now.  she just graduated from UERM last march (or was it april), while bart, an architect by profession, is studying to be a pastor.  (twas in their wedding, btw, wherein mike and i met).  such a sweet couple…mij asked my lola her medical Q’s.  this was perhaps the first time that i saw her in action (her besdside manner is commendable).  then bart led us in prayer, as we prayed for peace for my lola, for healing, for the doctors, nurses, and residents, as well as other people (relatives), who were helping take care of her.  bart led my grandmother to accept Jesus in her heart as well.  she was receptive naman.  🙂

after the hospital visit, i treated bart and mij to dinner at in & out steakhouse. (sayang, mike had to work overtime and wasn’t able to catch up).  we had a nice time catching up with each other’s lives.  i then asked mij, “so, what’s your diagnosis of my lola, doc?”  she answered my question with “diagnosis or prognosis?”  “what’s the difference?”  i asked.  twas then that she clarified that diagnosis pertains to a doctor’s “statement” as to what a person is sick with.  prognosis is the doctor’s assessment of whether or not the outlook of health for the patient looks good based on the findings.  (bagong kaalaman!)

basically mij’s prognosis (not diagnosis) of my lola’s health was: not too good.  but with good management (which she defined as, sticking to one doctor na – hindi na papalit-palit, good pallative treatment), she could still last for a year.  if not, with so-so quality of management, kaya pa raw for a couple of months.  she also said that it was normal for my lola to be in denial.  cancer patients also go through the stages of grief – denial, bargaining (with God), anger, bitterness & acceptance – but before their own demise.  the difficult thing nga lang there is, the people around her also go through the stages…and these are different people who are in different stages, that’s why often the difficulty is aggravated by conflict between family members who are dealing with the situation differently precisely because each family member is in a different stage of grief.  (can relate talaga!)

hearing mij’s prognosis of my lola’s state, i was a little relieved because, i’m scared that my lola won’t last very long na.  admittedly, our relationship right now isn’t exactly hunky-dory, but i love her and would want her to witness mike’s and my wedding.  let’s pray that my lola’s condition improves…or in case hindi na talaga, for her experience to be less painful. 

as for my stage of grief, i don’t know where exactly i’m in as of now.  probably i’m wandering somewhere between the anger-acceptance stages.  my mom probably is already in the acceptance stage. (my mom’s a trooper naman talaga, and i really admire her for that).  as for my sister, i really have no idea as to what stage she’s in right now.  

today, my uncle and his family are flying from cagayan de oro.  it’ll be there first time to see my grandmother after her cancer got detected last january.  (except for my cousin, queenie, who spent a week with us last summer)  i’m sure they’d be in for a shock because ang layo na talaga ni mommygran from what she used to be.  i also hope that the grieving process wouldn’t be difficult for them. 

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