Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Mom still in hospital - update

I regret my absence from blogdom, but I know you all understand given my mother being in the hospital. I had thought that when I took mom in a week ago, she would be in good hands. However, we had a nightmare of a weekend at the hospital, which actually began Friday. I won't go into details, but lets just say that we could have walked to the bank on issues of negligence, complacency, arrogance, and more. Bottom line is that my mother went nearly 42 hours without a blood test because nurses were having a hard time getting a sample (not unusual if one is anemic because dehydration goes hand-in-hand and this makes it all the more difficult). She went about 36 hours without IV hydration (patients should always be assessed on data, not appearance). And, it took continuous intervention on my part to make it all happen in that amount of time. By the time they finally got a blood sample, her hemoglobin, which should be 12-15, which was 8.5 when she was taken into the ER on Wednesday, was down to 6.5!!!

All of this was time intensive. I'm certain she went down to about 5.5, because she continued to suffer gastrointestinal bleeding after the 6.5 reading, through the 11 hours it took to get more blood going into her. It took 4 pints this time - in addition to the two she got Wednesday.

To make matters worse, a nurse attempted to give my mother "her Plavix". Thanks be to God that mom knew all about Plavix because she was on it before. It acts similar to a blood thinner and you must be off of it for 1-2 weeks prior to surgery. Even then, surgeons can't stand the stuff because bleeding is still difficult to stop even after stopping it for a time. My mother refused it and told her to call the doctor. 15 minutes later, the nurse indicated, "it was a good thing we caught this". It could have killed her.

All tests and scans/scopes are coming back negative. Doctors believe it is somewhere in the 17ft of small intestine. Because this keeps happening every few months, each time with greater severity, they wanted do surgery if they could see it on scan. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack.

The good news is that it appears the thing (whatever it is) has stopped bleeding on its own again. Normally this happens after 2-3 days, but this time it has gone on for nearly 3 weeks, with two week long hospital stays. Doctors are monitoring her hemoglobin which seems to be holding at around 10 (+/-0.5). If that pattern continues, she'll be released with something called a capsule study, which is only done outpatient. This is basically a camera inside of a pill which takes pictures all along the small intestine and sends the readings to a drive strapped to the waste of the patient. Needless to say, eh-hem, the camera is not retrieved.

If she is released, it will be very guarded and she will be living with me for a time. We did this last week and the thing started bleeding three days after she was home and caused this latest hospitalization.

As a design engineer, I am in the midst of part releases at work and have had to go in and work my full shift and then some after starting my day out at the hospital. As a result, I've had to temporarily step down from the Assumption Grotto choir, where I sing with the Alto's. It's more a function of not having time right now. It was difficult without my mother falling ill, and this just capped it. Something had to give to enable me to have time to get life's little things taken care of in between work and mom. This was disappointing to me given that the choir is preparing for an orchestra mass series which will include Pentecost and Corpus Christi. But, it also gives me something to offer up. In reality, there is no way I can learn the material with so little time left, and I would be missing practice this evening once again. Sunday I had to take in Mass at the parish near my home and could not go to Grotto because I needed to get back to the hospital which is also near my home.

As a side note: If you sing and are local, the Assumption Grotto Choir is always looking for more voices. All that is required is the ability to carry a tune. Not all are good note readers and everyone gets by.

I hope to be back posting soon, especially if Mom comes home. We will be greatful to have her home for Mother's day. Things were looking very dire this weekend, so this is a welcome change. Please pray that she continues to hold this blood level. and with all things, we append our prayer with something of great importance.....if it be God's will!

Thank you all for your prayers.