Friday, February 28, 2014

A Life Ends

Last night at 6:55 p.m., my mother left this world for the next.

I'm having trouble gathering thoughts for a decent post, so will do so at a later time.

Thank you to all who prayed, and offered support.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Downhill Slide

Without going into all the detail at this time, I'm posting just to let you know that my Mom was removed from all life-sustaining means on Wednesday.  She is still with us but not fully with us.

I am thankful to all who have commented and prayed and all who didn't comment yet prayed.  Please forgive me if I don't respond directly to you for awhile.  The last three weeks have been long, and tiring, but very rewarding in many ways as well.  The road ahead is still unknown, but has many bumps in it looking ahead to when she passes on (could be hours, could be days), especially with and for my dad.

His whole world is being shaken up, he's tired, confused, angry, lost, can't control Mom's health & passing, and it's heart-wrenching to watch.  It's clear I'll be remaining here awhile, and yet I have my son and husband 900 miles away who need me too.

Much prayer is still needed, in so many ways.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It's A Struggle

This past week has again been a bit of a roller-coaster ride or a see-saw with Mom's condition improving, only to degrade and then to improve again.

The past two days were very encouraging ones.  However, this morning, upon arriving at the hospital, Mom was mostly unresponsive to touch and speech.  The night nurse didn't recognize that this was not her 'norm' as at one point during the night she had repositioned her and Mom had grabbed the side rails, but then went back to sleep.  The monitor numbers had all been in the acceptable range.  My dad and I immediately recognized something was not right and advised the nurse that this was not at all good and she immediately put a call to the doctor.  Things buzzed quite abit all morning.

Mom's back on the ventilator, sedated again and her kidneys are not producing even with Lasix, though they were doing great yesterday.  Many tests, cultures, etc have been done, some still awaiting results.  The sepsis is "blooming" anew, and overall, things just aren't looking good.  Her CO2 levels were double the normal high end level.

I dread the conversations needed with the siblings.  Will have to have them some time today.  Ultimately, all decisions fall to my dad as to continued life support once it's deemed that recovering is not possible.  We have an advanced directive, from 2001!

I'm still praying for a miracle.  All things are possible with God.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mental Snow

Well, I am still here in the Northwest in the wet land of my youth.  There is as yet no timeframe of when I might be able to head back home.  I sure miss my guys, and they miss me.  The only 'pressing need' to head back south is to get my car smog certified in order to get the registration renewed, but I still have more than a month before that's due, so I'm not too worried.

Spending every day, all day long, here at the hospital keeping tabs on my mom and on her care and disseminating the information to siblings and other family members causes a bit of mental confusion with ME at times, the days all start running together and I find I start repeating myself to some of the same people, hence mental snow.  It helps some that I keep a log book of mom's happenings, and I put up a "secret" privacy level page that I update throughout the day for my family with 24 members on the list.  And with those outside the family, I update as I hear from them or as I have a few moments and they come to mind.

Over this past week, my mom's ventilator was removed due to concerns of the length of time it had been in place and the potential for a pneumonia from the vent which is nearly impossible to cure.  She breathes on her own but is working really hard at doing so even with the oxygen canula in her nose, so she gets breathing treatments and at times has to have a bi-pap on so she can rest.  

She was taken off the sedative that was keeping her 'asleep' on the night of 2/5, and the pain meds were also removed at that point except as needed.  She is given Dilaudid as her pain control.  Thankfully she doesn't have much pain, but it seems a couple of the night nurses seem to think she does (or maybe they just want her 'more controlled') so those times that she's given the drug, make her more confused and groggy.  

She's still far from out of the woods.  It truly is likened to a long back-country backpack; you hike along and make some good gains and then stumble and fall and have to stop and rest, or treat your wounds from falling.  You take a few steps forward only to lose ground and take a step or two backwards, reassess, alter the path a little and move forward again. Yesterday was a bad day after several very positive days.  Her mental snow was at a maximum; she'd not slept in days - all a combination from the build up of the sedative, the pain meds, having now been in the hospital for 19 days and not being able to mentally track/focus to know what day it is.  It's termed 'hospital psychosis'.  She would be lying there with her eyes open just staring without blinking - rather frightening to see.  This morning she was wanting a "family meeting" (and not in a good sense!).  But now, having been here myself since the night of 2/2, I can recognize pretty much that she is not at a mental place of really being able to clearly recognize whether she can and will get better or not, far too often it's just the tiredness of not being home in one's own surroundings and the constant activity and discomforts of being in a hospital. 

The kidneys are slowly recovering but she has had to have two dialysis treatments thus far and may need another today.  The intestines also seem to be very slowly re-awakening.  With a surgery such as hers, the intestines flat-out go to sleep.  Actually, they do that in just about any abdominal surgery, but in some cases, depending upon the individual's age/condition, it can take much much longer.  The second surgery was necessitated because during the first surgery, the intestine was nicked (1cm hole), stitched, began leaking after several days and caused sepsis in the belly which required the second surgery.  After several more days, this repair also began leaking but she has an abdominal drain which is keeping infection at bay, and the prayer is that the intestine eventually heals itself, but it's going to take time.

We take one day at a time and pray for God's grace and her healing.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

It's Snowing!!

I get to see winter!!  I'd have preferred a different way of seeing winter, but it's winter just the same.

The good news is, my mom continues to improve.  The ventilator was removed today and she's off the sedation but still extremely groggy.  With the vent off and tubes gone she's able to communicate a little better although it's only a very low raspy voice at this point.  

Today, and quite possibly for the next 24 to 48 hours, I will not be leaving the hospital.  Not because I need to be here specifically for any reason, but because it's snowing, and I don't drive in snow.  Just looked out the hospital room window and there is a man with a snow shovel clearing the walks. 

I snapped a couple of pictures through a large window in the hallway looking out towards a parking lot.

I know, it doesn't look like much but to an inexperienced driver, it's a mountain of snow.

There are points to the south of here that already have 8" of snow.  I'm so very thankful this weather wasn't around on the day I drove up.  I'd be an absolute nervous wreck or ... just a wreck in a ditch!

The sunsets up here can be so wonderful.  This is just one that I snapped back on Sunday as I neared my destination.  There wasn't much way of avoiding the power lines so just pretend they aren't there.

I had lunch less than an hour ago in the hospital cafeteria and it really wasn't bad, honey mustard chicken with rice pilaf and broccoli that still retained it's color.  I put a little cheese sauce on the broccoli.  Also picked up a small bag of potato chips so I'd have something to snack on later without having to go back to the cafeteria and then return to ICU and have to wait to be buzzed in. 

My dad called and said he'd be out if he could figure out how to put the chains on the car...oh dear.  I'd prefer he just stay at the house, but he's been so excited since last night with Mom's improvements that he's just that much more antsy and anxious to be here with her frequently.  I think a part of him thinks she'll be home in a day or so, but that is not the case.  She is still a very sick puppy that needs a lot of attention and though there's been wonderful improvements, things can change rapidly.  I'm quite realistic about such things, though I am optimistic and very hopeful that she will be home some time in the coming weeks.  When she leaves ICU, she'll still be here in the hospital for a time before being released, and then to a convalescent center even before going home.

Mom's resting comfortably right now and I'm feeling the need for a nap.  Wonder if I can curl up in this chair that makes into a bed-of-sorts?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wednesday Is Hump Day

And I'm rejoicing in baby steps of improvement for my Mom which hopefully will be the "over the hump" beginnings.  They are indeed baby steps and there's still a long road ahead, but definitely some improvements.  I am so thankful for the prayers and all the good thoughts and wishes for my mom. God's plan will continues to unfold.

Her sedative was cut for a time this evening allowing her to "wake" briefly and open her eyes and she acknowledged those of us who were there at the time, and my sister called my dad who drove right out to the hospital (only about a 6 minute drive) so that he'd have opportunity too.  It's been rougher on him than he lets on and it was really good I think to let him have some precious moments like that after two weeks.

Keeping it a brief update.  Please continue to pray and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tuesday Stuff

I know today is supposed to be Toaster Oven Tuesday, but I must apologize for not having anything to share.  I will be temporarily suspending T.O.T. until my return home which could be a couple weeks or longer or months at this point.  We just don't know.

The situation with my mom remains critical and will be so until, and if, she overcomes the sepsis infection, and her kidneys return to normal or near/normal function.  Her condition is further complicated by diabetes.  I'm in the primary role of being the one "in charge" and to whom everyone comes for information on how she's doing, somewhat by default, somewhat by ability, and it's going to be a long haul.  

I spent 3 1/2 hours this morning at the hospital, another four in the afternoon, watched snow fall but thankfully not stick, drove to my aunt's and had chili and a couple hours of being able to relax in a good atmosphere.  It was much needed.  

There are some family contentions rearing up.  One hates the surgeon who in his eyes "has (messed) up" on three separate occasions with my mom's surgeries and doesn't know if things are being handled correctly.  Another thinks she should be transferred to a large cities hospital (that one has a daughter who works there but 'that one' is not directly a family member), and another listens to the one who thinks the doctor "(messed) up" and is already talking lawsuit.  Keep in mind, that individual pumps gas for a living.  Yep, family drama, we got it, and it's going to get worse.  Oh yes, and one other who is already questioning the answers I've been given from the medical staff because she thought she was told something different.  Gotta love 'em and there are days I can only by God's grace.  None know the Lord, and we are not the Waltons. 

My husband and Nick miss me.  And I miss them.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Safe Arrival

My travel here to the wet land was without incident and without precipitation..well, except for a few sprinkles in Eugene.  15 hours on the road stopping only for gas, pit stops and one much needed catnap (20 minutes) brought me straight to the hospital where my mom is.

While enroute, I received a call from my sister when I was still about 3 hours out saying my mom was undergoing a second surgery.  She is fighting sepsis at this point, is in ICU, and is deemed critical. She is sedated and on a ventilator.  She's quite a sight to see, just would be nice if it was a healthy sight.  Being sedated via propofol, she's not awake to be able to communicate or open her eyes, but the sedation is light so she is aware when you're there, can likely hear but will not remember, and at times responds to touch and being talked to by facial grimaces and breathing changes.

I slept well last night after my drive having had only 2 1/2 hours sleep the night before, and I expect I'll sleep well tonight, and, speaking of which, I need to hit the mattress as it's after 11:00.

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