Monday, January 23, 2017

A busy start to the year

So far 2017 has been a whirlwind. In my last post, which was about a month ago, I mentioned that my mother was scheduled to have surgery. She checked into the hospital as planned for what we thought would be morning surgery and home by the afternoon. 

Unfortunately there were complications. She had a reaction to some of the medicine that was used and went into anaphylactic shock. Her blood pressure dropped to almost nothing and then when they gave her other medicines to help with that her BP went sky high - her blood pressure was up and down, up and down. She also started to develop pneumonia. She was in ICU for two days while they stabilized her blood pressure, but to complicate things the steroids she was given caused her to go into steroid psychosis. 

Psychosis.... another word for crazy. She didn't sleep for 3 days straight. The whole time hallucinating that she was in Paris, in California, at a spa, there were water taxi's floating past the window and hundreds of dogs on the ceiling. Once she said there were hundreds of babies and quipped 'I don't even like children!' Her feet moved as though she were walking, walking, walking...she walked all over town, telling me she was turning left here and right there and asking 'Why is there a cow on the corner? The poor thing is soaking wet from the rain!' She folded her sheet for hours, folding, unfolding and folding again and again. I kept trying to bring her back to reality, reminding her that she was in the hospital. She didn't know who I was. At one point she thought I was a Jewish woman from California. She kept asking for people who had passed away; her sister, a neighbor, my brother. A few times she became very, very angry and violent, but mostly she was just agitated and wanted to be someplace or go someplace.   

Throughout all of this she refused to use a bedpan and became incontinent. The nurse told me quite often there is no turning back once the elderly get this way. I insisted they put a potty next to the bed and got my mother to sit on it a little every day. I never thought I would be potty training my mother! Eventually the effects of the medicines started to wear off, but it was six days before she finally realized where she was and was able to recognize us. 

My mother is home now and is continuing to recover. We have a home health nurse and physical therapist coming to the house. She's back to a regular bathroom routine - thankfully! However, as soon as she gets well enough she will be back in the hospital for more surgery. This time the doctor has assured us that they will not be using the medicine she had a reaction to and they'll be taking all the necessary precautions to keep her well. 

When I asked my mother if she remembers anything from her hospital stay, she said no, nothing. We have videos of some of it and she was amazed when we showed them to her. I'm thankful that I was able to be here for my mother and praying that her next hospital stay will be uneventful. 

There are no water taxi's floating by the window!

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