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.


  1. Good to hear from you. I've been worried since you haven't posted in a while. Don't forget to take care of yourself, too. Consider yourself hugged, bigtime!

  2. Keep us posted. I continue to pray for you, your mom, Marty and Nick, salvation and the situation in general. Hugs!!! :)


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