To Hell and Back

Well here I am; finally.  I started this back on July 18th and that was a full 10 days after my descent into hell.  I really have been unable to put any words on the screen since then.  I stared at it, gave it a title, and that’s where it stopped.  No words came forth…until now.

July started out with the promise of being a wonderful summer month.  Hot and sunny with the promise of a couple of beach days thrown in. Little did I know those hot sunny days would be spent sitting next to my mother in the SICU (Surgical Intensive Care Unit) instead of a sandy beach.

Early afternoon July 8th I walked my mother outside to sit in the screen house.   She had been sitting inside all day watching tv.  Nothing unusual and with the temps being what they had been it was too hot during mid-day for her to be outside anyway.

It’s never too hot for me to lay outside, so once I got her situated I plopped myself back down on my lounger and tried to catch any remaining rays.

Something caught my attention and I got up to check on her.  She was bent over and in severe pain. She confirmed this when she agreed I should call the doctor.  She avoids that at all costs (which is probably some of the reason we were at this point)  I already knew what we were facing.  She’d had it before and I knew it required immediate attention.

Luckily the health center is within 2 miles from here and I could get her there within minutes.  Her pain level was at a 10 and she was coughing and gagging.  The doc did an exam and asked for x-rays and blood.  X-ray was no problem.  Trying to find a vein that didn’t roll was.  After many attempts they quit and gave us the news.  She needed to go to the hospital NOW.  I could drive her or she could go by ambulance.  No decision there.  Even if she wasn’t in such bad shape, she would be going by ambulance.  Walk ins mean hours of waiting before even getting into the ER.

Many hours later; twelve to be exact, after many tests and the placement of an NG tube, she was given a bed on a surgical floor.   Surgical was involved because she was diagnosed with a small bowel obstruction.  Caused by, ironically, everything getting stuck on scar tissue from so many surgeries.

The next night she went into A-Fib and was moved into SICU. Over the course of the next couple of days I went from “no we do not want surgery” to “what do you mean the only other option is bring her home to starve to death” to “can’t you use x-rays or ultrasounds or something to get the tube where it needs to be” to “fine! if it’s her time to go than I would rather have it be under general anesthesia where she won’t feel anything rather than have her lay at home starving.”  She had not lost her appetite through this and was very angry when the “hotel” wouldn’t serve her food.

For some reason they decided to use x-ray to reposition the tube (hmm gee really?) and thankfully it worked.  No surgery needed. The blockage broke up and she was deemed ok to be released to rehab on the 19th.

Physically she has gotten strong enough to walk with her walker again.  She still has the A-Fib going and some tachycardia, but is pretty physically healthy for an 85-year-old.   She has done everything they set out to do in rehab and will be coming home, able to eat real food, on Wednesday.  It scares the living daylights out of me.  I don’t know if I can do it.

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