The Mother Of All Changes

More baggage has been put in the compartment of the Change Train. I will try and limit details to make this story less graphic.

She has had diverticulosis for quite a few years but nothing came close to what she's going through now. Thankfully she had no pain but had lost a lot of blood and had a friend take her to ER. After admittance, they ran every sort of test over the first few days; nuclear medicine test, colonoscopy, countless blood tests, and  had two blood transfusions. The colonoscopy forced air outside of her colon either by a blowout or puncture. This has convinced me that I will NEVER have one. This one and the one she had years ago were both miserable for her, she wasn't totally out and she felt everything and the techs were very rough tossing her around.

Day 4, the first day I really cried. So many doctors came in and it was confusing trying to understand what they were saying. Then they all change their mind 2 minutes later. I was trying to take notes so I could pass the info on to my older brother. I know she has a DNR directive but to hear it confirmed by her and the medical staff was horrible. "So D, if we were to come in and find you unresponsive, you would not want us to administer CPR?" Mom said "Yes, that's right". I felt like a little kid and just wanted my Mommy to get better. I was glad I asked hubby and daughter to go downstairs just minutes earlier. Our daughter would be upset to hear this.

By day 5 not much change, more of a wait and see approach. Liquid food only and blood tests hourly to watch her count. Blood saved for her just in case (they said), but when she did need it they didn't have it until much later and she finally got a pint. She had a pick line put in to limit so many pokes to her arms. She's jovial and her heart skipped a beat when a very handsome doctor went to the patient in the next bed. She said "I'm old, not dead!"

The next step might be an angiogram of her colon and the worst case scenario would be colon removal and the whole bag thing. I'm thankful for days off so I'm not running around like crazy. The drive is clear across town and I'm easily gone for a few hours at the minimum. The hospital has the worst parking situation. Two small pay lots which are always full and one large parking garage that's dark and claustrophobic and makes a longer trek to the hospital.

The same evening my older brother and I were called back to hospital to make a decision. If things go bad after her doctor goes off duty and bleeding intensifies to the point that surgery is the only option, do we choose to have it done or to let her bleed to death. Basically that's what it boils down to. She doesn't think she would survive the surgery. Both brothers want her to do it if necessary. All I do is cry; now I have to choose sides. I don't want her to suffer and live a life less than she has. I don't believe she would ever go home again. It's hard to work for an elderly woman when I can't even take care of my own Mom. I have no one to talk to and I'm scared. But I make the decision on my brothers side although the ultimate decision is up to her. If she is faced with life or death, she just might choose life. I drag myself home at 8:00 pm and choke down my dinner.

All this time my younger brother was vacationing in Arizona. They have a second home there that they remodel and usually stay for 3 weeks in March. He was on his last week when Mom went in the hospital and she didn't want him to know right away. When  he finally found out, he was understandably mad at us but is OK now as we are keeping him updated.

The next day it was decided that she have an upper EGD and it looked fine. At the same time they put a camera pill down her throat and it will travel the small intestine for the next 24 hours. She looks tired but less stressed than the day before. I feel the same. Add a few more pints to top her off. Thanks to all who donate blood, wish I could be one of them.

Day 7, and things are finally starting to look up. The camera test results won't be ready until after the weekend but her doctors told her that her blood count is staying up and an angio won't be done unless she starts bleeding again. Hopefully she is on the mend. She's bored and cranky so that's a good sign. Tonight we're going to a hockey game so we're going to enjoy it after this long week and get a good night's sleep. Younger brother is home on the other side of the state so he at least is able to talk to her. I've talked to him and he made his views very clear that he is not OK with her not having life saving surgery if it comes to that.

Another day and more changes. After a good day yesterday, bad bleeding again and prepping her for the angio. But as the day progressed, the bleeding was so inconsistant that it was put on hold. Pretty much like my emotions. The particular procedure needs bleeding in order to find the source and hopefully stop it. I left the hospital alone leaving a very frustrated mother behind, and that breaks my heart.

I will end this post on an up-beat tone. She had a much better day, in good spirits and actually feeling hungry. She's been on clear liquids for 9 days, gross. Well, except for that one camera she got to eat and the results aren't in for that yet. I apologize if this post was much to graphic for some. It's kind of funny that my brothers and I got to talk about this stuff as part of our normal vocabulary. "OK, how was Mom's poop today?" Sorry, now that I'm feeling better my weird sense of humor is starting to show again. Thanks for hanging in there with me.


Grumpy said…
It's hard to watch aging parents with health problems. It's frustrating because all most of us can really do is be with them and offer support.

I do know that I signed a DNR in my 40's, I was fully competent at the time and I expect it to be followed. My parents both had DNR requests and though it never came to that, I would have honored their decisions.
bill said…
The situation you've described is most difficult. It is often made more so by disagreement among siblings. These are trying times for you and I wish you the best.
Anonymous said…
I am so sorry you're having to go through this. A DNR is a very personal decision, but it definitely puts you between a rock and a hard place. Please know that you have a friend you can lean on if it would help.
Claire M. King said…
My prayers are with you and your hubby and daughter. I hope she heals quickly.
Peruby said…
No need for apologies. This helps the rest of us in case we have similar situations crop up. My parents are both gone but I have older siblings and the more educated I am about procedures the better off I will be.
Mr. Shife said…
I am so sorry kden. I hope things improve for your Mom, and everything turns out for the best. I have been down this road with my own Mom, and it was hard having to be the one to make the decision. Take care.
fernvalley01 said…
S sorry I missed reading this, I see Mom is home now and doing better but what a scary time for you. Personal Directives are a good idea for all even the young really

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