My Precious Grandmother

Today is Wednesday. I returned to the hospital to be with my grandmother on Monday. She had been improving since Saturday.  She had been grinning at all the nurses, and saying her funny little things.  We were slowly advancing her diet gradually back to solid foods.

Tuesday she had her first solid food meal–soft foods.  She only ate a few bites, but afterwards she began to be nauseated and her abdomen began to hurt more.  It was like a downward spiral that we couldn’t stop.  The nausea led to vomiting green bile.  The pain increased.  Finally with a combination of morphine and phenegran, she went off to sleep, albeit a drugged sleep.  About 11:00 p.m. she awoke and it all started again.  More morphine, more phenegran.  Her IV had to be changed to another vein. The nurse noticed that her abdomen was distended and hard. Her heart rate was up. More sleep.  Bloodwork at 5:30 p.m.  More vomiting and pain. More morphine, more phenegran. More sleep. Sleep for her.  I couldn’t sleep any more. My heart was breaking.  My mind was in high gear, thinking …thinking…thinking….family I needed to call…wondering about funeral arangements….questions to ask the doctor.

I got dressed, got some coffee and went into her hospital room bathroom and cried.  I cried and cried for about 15 minutes.  Then I dried my eyes and put on my makeup.  Yes, my ‘scheduled cry’.  I knew that this day would be rough, and I needed to be able to talk to doctors and nurses about the seriousness of Mom’s illness with my emotions reasonably under control.  It did help.

Mom’s doctor came in and told me he wanted to do several things. Put in a “NG” tube to begin to suck out the bile in her stomach.  Put in a catheter so that we wouldn’t have to worry about having to get her on the bedside commode. Start the IV fluids.  Take another xray.  There is so much detail her because it is so fresh in my memory.

The doctor said that most likely the blockage was being caused by something other than diverticulitis and that surgery was the only option that would open her small intestine back up.  Mom is not a candidate for surgery.  The only other thing to do was to make her comfortable and let nature take its course. Pulling back on the antibiotics, taking away the IV, not prolonging the inevitable.  So hard to hear. But somehow I knew it was coming.

I didn’t leave Mom’s side all day.  When they put in the catheter, I stayed right beside her.  When they took her to radiology to put in the NG tube, I went with her and walked in like I belonged there.  They didn’t ask me to leave.  I put on one of those big aprons and stay right beside her, patting her head and talking to her.

A surgeon came to visit and talk about her blockage.  He basically agreed with Mom’s primary care doctor.  So very sad.  I began to make phone calls to close family to make them aware of what decisions need to be made.

This may come under the category of Too Much Information for some of you, but a couple of hours ago, I talked to the nurse about changing her position in bed.  When we pulled back her sheet, we found that she had had a huge bowel movement!  Oh, yes, it is something to get excited about.  It means that her intestine at the very least working out the blockage.

That means we have hope of her recovering from this horrible condition. God is so good.

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