07 May 2015
First, for those of you who don’t know, my mom’s been in the hospital. The short version is that she’d had a gallstone, and that had caused diarrhea and vomiting, and she went to the ER a week ago Tuesday.
They transferred her to a hospital room. A few days ago, it looked like she’d be getting out of the hospital, and they’d do the gallbladder surgery in a few weeks when everything had calmed down.
Then she took a turn for the worse three days ago. Not a huge turn, just a slight detour. She wasn’t getting out of the hospital after all. She’d seemed better the day before yesterday, per Rick, and then somewhat more fragile last night. Not hugely so, just somewhat.
One of the things she’s complained about over the last few days is pain from a hernia that has needed repair. That, as it turns out, has been a huge factor in the cascading crisis.
I got a call at 4 am from the hospital saying they had to transfer her to the ICU. She’d gone into atrial fibrillation, and they needed to stabilize her.
I got another call at 8:30 in the morning. They had her somewhat stabilized, but there was a bigger problem: the hernia’s completely blocked, preventing things draining normally through the gastrointestinal system.
Which means, of course, she vomited up the fluids, got a significant bunch in one lung, which is called aspiration pneumonia. So she’s on 100% oxygen to help with that.
As a complication of all this, she’s also got sepsis, and they need to go in there to fix the hernia.
Except that she’s got one of the classic side effects of atrial fibrillation (and everything else: low blood pressure. They had to put her on two meds to bring her blood pressure up to a workable range.
And anesthesia will lower it. (Okay, this is an oversimplification, but a) I’m not a specialist in this area, and b) I have had two hours of sleep, so that’s as complicated as I can be right now.)
They just get her heart rhythm back to normal with defibrillation (but defib increases risk of stroke), and they think they have her stable enough to do the emergency surgery.
There are also renal failure complications and she may need to be on dialysis, but they can’t do that now because dialysis also lowers the blood pressure.
It’s a big cascade failure and they are doing what they can, but it’s pretty touch and go right now. The heart rhythm improvement is the first positive sign we’ve had since she was admitted to the ICU.
My mom had been putting off the hernia repair surgery, and things wouldn’t have gone sideways this far if that had already been done. If you or someone you know have been putting hernia repair off, please show them this.