Archive for October, 2012

My absence

Back in August we went on vacation to San Diego to visit our friends that had moved back out there a couple of years ago.  A few days before we left my mom had tripped on the living room rug and broken her arm.  For some reason they didn’t set her arm when she went to the ER, just put her in a sling.  She had been on a medicine for years to thin her blood and since she suspected that she would have to have surgery on her arm she quit taking the medicine.  We went on vacation as planned after my parents insisted that they still would watch our dogs. 

We got back late on Wednesday a week later, so when I called my mom the next morning she told me that they were planning on doing the surgery the following day and since we were going to go down to get the dogs, we just packed for an extra night.

The next day we all drove down to the hospital to check my mom in for her surgery, but while waiting one of the doctors came in to say that they wanted to repeat the lab work and that they may have to postpone the surgery.  My mom was very upset about this as it had been almost two weeks since she broke the arm and was in a lot of pain. 

(Let me back up here a little to give a bit of history.  My mom had been going back and forth to the doctors for one reason or another, not feeling great, swelling of her legs, rash, different things like that for 1 1/2 to 2 years.  The doctor kept saying he can’t find anything wrong but then would give her this medicine or that because it might be this, etc.)

So the orthopedic surgeon came in to speak with us after they took blood to run labs on again and had decided he didn’t  like the look of her lab work still because her blood wasn’t clotting, he didn’t want to do the surgery… to risky.  My mom just starts going on to about all these things that she has been complaining about to her internal medicine doctor.  The surgeon just stares at her and when she finished he asked if there have been any test or ultrasound on her liver.  Not that either of my parents can remember, but my dad has all her med records at home that he can check (there hadn’t been).  I find it interesting that the orthopedic surgeon made a connection with her symptoms that the internal medicine doctor never made.  Because they admitted her and ran a blood test on her to check her liver function… that simple.  And she was diagnosed with cirrhosis. 

Of course they ask her about her drinking habits.  My mom quit drinking about 20 years ago with maybe an occasional sip of wine, but I can’t  remember the last time I saw her even doing that.  So my mom ended up being in the hospital for a couple of weeks before being sent home due to an infection.  She was only home two days before my dad ended up having to call 911 because she was unresponsive.  Since her liver was so far gone her ammonia levels were way to high.  The effects of this is permenent even after a transplant and it goes straight to the brain causing symptoms like dementia. 

Mom went back to the military hospital after a few days and then they released her to a nursing home.  She was there a week before being sent back to the ER of the military hospital the day after I came back home from my as often as possible visits.  My dad called me on the morning of September 22 and said that she didn’t have long.  We threw a few things in a bag and made the 4 1/2 trip to the hospital stopping to drop our dogs off at my parents house. 

Thankfully, we made it in time and I was holding my mom’s hand as she passed away.  I wish had more time with her.  Forty-one years were not even close to enough.  

We had her viewing service on September 29 and I am very grateful for the friends of mine, and hers as well as the family there were able to make the trip down for it.  My mom will be laid to rest in Arlington cemetary but we are still waiting on a date for that. 

I miss her terribly. But I have yet to really break down and I feel guilty about that.

Read Full Post »