Saturday, October 17, 2015

Mom's Hospital Experience

Several have asked what was actually wrong with my mom and it's a long story. I also hadn't written anything on my blog for 6 weeks, sorry folks, I really hate it when I do that myself. September's memories are relegated to my calendar at work, where I write down all the important stuff.

To really tell you what happened, I have to back up to August 23rd. The guys and I were out of town for the day and Mom was working at her garden. Sometime that afternoon, she fell, tripping over tomato vines and falling head over heals, landing on her head. The next day, she had a little bit of a stiff neck and started developing a headache, but she didn't even put the two incidents together. For the next five weeks, she had the stiff neck and the headache. She didn't tell me about either one until the 3rd week of September. She knew I had to be on a trip the last week of September and was afraid I wouldn't go if I knew how long this had been going on. Also, one of her dearest friends was in the final stages of her life and she didn't want to be in the hospital and not get to say her final goodbyes. The friends funeral was on the 4th of October, so after the funeral, I convinced her to call the doctor on Monday morning. On the 6th, we went to her appointment at 8:15. (Insert Dr. Mindy Browning's diagnosis here--I was wholeheartedly thinking that her real problem was probably TIA's and that her Eliquis had to be adjusted- I assumed we would have a CTscan and they would see that and either call Dr. Gest or send us to Evansville). When we saw Melissa, she did send us for the CT, and told us to wait in Olney for the results. It took 5 minutes to do the scan and an hour waiting. When they finally came in, they said Melissa was on the phone for us. She told us that it wasn't the problem she was expecting, that there had been bleeding in her brain but it had stopped, leaving some scar tissue. She had asked the Dr. to look at it, but she was currently in with a patient, so we were probably safe to come back to Newton until we heard from the doctor. We had left Mom's car at Melissa's office so we told her we would check with her when we got there.

Insert #2 (please keep in mind, in the back of our thoughts was the fact that Mom has one brother who died of brain cancer). We get to the office and they tell us, yes, they have heard from the doctor and we needed to have a seat and wait on Melissa. All kinds of things go through your mind when they don't just say, "Oh, everything is okay, we will get you some meds for your neck and headache and have a good day". When Melissa pulled us in her office, she said she was sorry we drove back because now they wanted Mom to go to the ER, apparently they saw some inflammation they didn't like.  So, we took her car to my house and drove back down. We were a little dumbfounded as we really didn't think she was in any shape to need the ER. She had a couple of what she called "nuisance problems". 4 hours later, the doctor came in and said they were admitting her. She was not happy until he mentioned that they would have to give her steroids for the inflammation. Then she understood. Diabetes and steroids are not an easy combination to control. At the time, we were still thinking 2-3 days and we would go home.

That night, the doctor came in and said she believed Mom had temporal arteritis, she said it goes hand in hand with Poly Myalgia Rheumatica which we already knew she had. She was going to give her prednisone for a couple of days, and send her home. When it was all better, they would have to do a biopsy on the temperol artery to see if that was the confirmed diagnosis. Sounded good, and we thought we had a plan.

The NEXT day, the doctor came in and said she felt like the diagnosis was wrong, Mom's white count had been on a steady rise since she had been admitted and they now believed she might have meningitis. The best the doctor could think of is that when she fell, she gave herself a concussion and there was some bleeding, which allowed a spot for infection to get in. She doesn't know where she got the actual meningitis germ, but she wanted to do a spinal tap to confirm the diagnosis. We believed this was going to happen on Wednesday evening. Then, as quick as this all started, everything was brought to an abrupt halt. Mom is on meds for Afib. She would have to be off of them for 48 hours before they could do the spinal tap and my understanding at first, was that they didn't want her off of that medicine for 48 hours. We were told they could switch her to heparin but the doctor said no, we just would not do the spinal tap. I didn't understand that at all, at the time.

When the doctor came in the next day, she said they had went ahead and started her on the antibiotics for meningitis and Mom was responding. She explained to me the only way that they could have gotten a confirmed diagnosis was through the spinal tap however, they could not start treating it until after the spinal tap was completed. That turned the light bulb on for me as she told me she didn't want to wait 2 more days to treat it. She thought Mom has had the meningitis longer than  she should have to start with and that we were probably on the brink of a disaster.

The doctor then told Mom this was a 10 day, very strong antibiotic combination and that she would either have to have visiting nurses twice a day or stay in the hospital in isolation for the 10 days. I called the doctor and just told her that if Mom was supposed to rest for those 10 days, she better figure out a way to keep her in the hospital because she was already getting antsy about sweet potatoes and gladiolas needing dug before we had a freeze. The doctor told her she could come home on Friday the 16th and that is what we started shooting for.

On Thursday, the 15th, she spiked a 103° fever, had a sore throat and a stomach ache. I was afraid this threatened her chances of coming home. She got over it almost as fast as it came on though and the myriad of tests they ran all came back negative for any new complications.

I brought her home to a very happy dog and several very happy cats last night. She has been told until her immune system is better, she needs to stay away from people as much as possible. I would really like for her to wear a mask when she even runs to the store, which she was told she could do. I don't know if I can get her to do that though. I'm hoping plan B is just to let me and the guys pick up anything she needs. She will have weekly blood tests and Melissa will be able to tell her by them when she can be back around people. I have a doctor's appointment in Springfield on the 13th of November, that is two days before her birthday and we were planning on meeting my sister there for lunch. Her goal is to be able to go that day.

So, my one-stop-shop here for what's going on. Sorry it was long, Mom is never easy or normal. That is just the fact.

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