It’s now been four days since my Mother was rushed to the hospital.
My sisters and I have done our best to keep everyone updated on her situation and her progress through Facebook and text messages. Unfortunately those mediums are not the best way to convey complicated and emotionally difficult events in a manner that provides a full picture of the situation.
My hope with this entry on my blog is to provide some much needed clarity of the severity of Mom’s situation for those who have misinterpreted posts that state that Mom has made “good progress” or has had “positive developments” over the past few days.
To be clear as can be:
My Mother is on Life Support. She is living off of machines and medications. When we have stated that she is making progress it is always with the caveat that the progress she is making is small progress and that she is still very, very sick. But when the situation is as severe as this, small victories mean everything.
So here’s a basic rundown of what has happened so far.
- Friday afternoon
- Mom seriously bites her tongue in her sleep
- She calls out to Theresa for help, Jesse hears her from his room and fetches Theresa
- By the time Theresa enters Mom’s room she has rolled off of her bed and is covered in blood and unconscious
- Theresa is barely able to revive her and calls the paramedics
- Paramedics arrive and take Mom to the ER at Tri-City
- When Mom arrives at Tri-City they are having extreme difficulty finding a pulse, reading a blood pressure and her temperature is extremely low
- The bleeding from her mouth has stopped, but she is hacking up blood and sputum and is having a very hard time breathing
- The next hour or two is a bit of a blur for me but basically they ran a central line to get accurate BP measurements from within her heart, they intubated her to help her breath (that’s putting her on the breathing machine or life support system), and they ran many many blood tests.
- Verdict of tests was that she was in Sepsis Shock (infection in her blood) and had double pneumonia (that’s pneumonia in both lungs) that covered both upper and lower quadrants in both lungs (basically she was 100% infected with pneumonia).
- The doctors were having a hard time getting her vitals to stabilize and they eventually moved her out of the ER and into the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
- Friday night was touch and go. After they managed to get her BP up with meds and after they had pumped her full of fluids (she was severely dehydrated when she came in) her temperature shot to 102.9 and they spent the night trying to get her temperature down and continued to have trouble maintaining her blood pressure.
- Because of Mom’s infections she is getting a cocktail of three extremely strong antibiotics that I don’t recall the names of.
- With the assistance of blood pressure medications they were able to relatively stabilize her BP though it was on average very low.
- Fear of organ failures are high as Saturday begins. Kidney’s aren’t functioning great. She gets meds for her kidneys.
- Eventually her temperature began to come down.
- The breathing machine was set at an Oxidation level around 75%. (Very high because her lungs were having a hard time processing the oxygen they were pumping into them.)
- Mom was rarely conscious through the day.
- Generally she will remain sedated throughout the time that she has a tube in her mouth. They do allow her moments of less sedation so that they can assess her brain function.
- The majority of Saturday was spent watching numbers going up and down all day.
- Mom was also given an Iron drip and a pint of blood as she was low.
- Mom made some progress by maintaining a good temperature all day.
- By evening they were attempting to remove 2 of the blood pressure meds she was on.
- By 10pm they had her off all three meds
- They began lowering her oxygen levels slightly through out the night.
- They began pushing a “milkshake” concoction through a feeding tube that she also has jammed down her throat with the breathing tube.
- They kept Mom slightly less sedated throughout the day.
- While nice to get responses from her it was terribly difficult to see her grow more and more uncomfortable with her situation as the day progressed.
- She answered questions and recognized voices around her.
- Temperature has risen to just below 100 degrees Farenheit.
- BP med (Levo) has been administered off-and-on again all day long depending on her body’s ability to maintain it on its own.
- She continues to cough up serious amounts of muck from her lungs through the breathing tube.
- Her coughing fits are terrible to watch.
- She has been less responsive today as they’ve kept her sedation level higher to keep her resting since she is too restless when they let her have some awareness.
- Nurses emphasize to Theresa, Laura and I that she has made some good strides in the right direction but she is still on life support and that her recovery is not a guarantee.
- Four days in and we are basically still going hour-by-hour with her.
- Trying to revive her to check brain function was much more difficult this evening. So much so that I began to panic right up until I finally told her I was going home.
- That news seemed to reach her and she suddenly “came alive” as she tried to get me to stay. She attempted to open her eyes and she reached out for me. (Well as much as her strapped to the bed hands could reach out for me.)
- That was the only real response from her to anything we said or presented to her today.
I am certain that I am leaving something out. But this gives you a good idea of what we are going through. If she had not bit her tongue so badly on Friday it is very likely she would have died in her bed by Friday night.
Mom is on Life Support. She is surrounded by the best nurses I’ve ever encountered. Special thank you to the Tri-City Medial team. Fromt he ER to the ICU they have done an outstanding job of being compassionate with us and extremely nice to my unconscious mother.
I am going to try and sleep now. It was a tremendously long weekend and I have a lot more hardship ahead. I won’t rest well until Mom is off the life support machines and is breathing and maintain her BP on her own. Neither of those things are going to happen, to the best of my knowledge, until the signes of pneumonia have been cured from her lungs and that the infection in her blood has been eliminated.
Mom may be on the life support system for a few days, or a few weeks. That’s the hardest part of everything right now. Everything is a question mark. She may get better, she may crash and get worse. Even die. It’s a waiting game right now as we await her body and the medications battling it out with the infections.
Peace, Love and Laughter – May you share your love with your loved ones while you can.