Friday, July 1, 2016

She's home!

It has been a long suffering bout this time. My mother was in the hospital from May 25th until June 27 so I’ll start at the beginning.

On the 25th of June she went in for an endoscope to see whether the ulcers they had discovered back in February had died. They hadn’t. And unfortunately, the calamities started early. First, the doctor whose rotation she was on wasn’t even there. She was on holiday. Second, they couldn’t find the paperwork in her file of her recent Feb/March visits even though both times were a weeklong stay. Third, she ended up staying in because they needed to put a tube down her nose into her stomach to suck all of the shit out. Infection, food that wasn’t digested, and just general stomach garbage.

Now it was fine for me. I had op shopped that day and brought home 24 Jackie Collins books. I spent $66, but still, I’m currently on a JC book binge. It was cold and pouring rain. The good part of the day, I had gotten a free meal from a fast food outlet called Red Rooster because my birthday was a few days before hand.

Mum spent the next week with a tube down her throat sucking that garbage out. She wasn’t given solid food and was only allowed ice chips. When I went to visit her on the following Thursday (one week in) she was being taken off for a cat scan to see why her temperature had spiked. She was then admitted to ICU because of a pick line infection and they had to change her IV needles. She stayed there overnight and was back on the ward by Saturday, but when I rang ICU they said they’d never heard of her (*snort* I reminded them she had been rolled in from Ward 2b two days before). Anyway I had to go back to the switchboard and found her back in ward 2b where she’s been since.

She was due to have another endoscope or surgery, we’re not actually sure, on the Friday, but that had to be cancelled due to the high temp and infection.

So, two weeks in and she’s still there.

During the third week she finally had her surgery. She had her abdomen cut open and her stomach sliced so they could get the scarring caused by the ulcers. The ulcers had created the scarring around the tube that exits the stomach so it was preventing food from being digested which is why she was bringing it back up. She had been vomiting since January.

She had the tubes in for another week then they were finally removed and she was allowed soft food. On Monday the 20th of June she had been told by a nurse, who came in from another hospital to work, that she would be going home the following day and she told me when I called. So Tuesday I called and the regular nurse told me she wasn’t going home and I said that mum had told me she was.

I went down there to sort the shit out and it turns out everyone had told her something different and confused her. This is how much our hospital system sucks. The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing and everyone thinks they know what’s going on and have the authority to do so. Which they don’t.

The woman in charge of the ward was back from holidays and sorted it out. Sort of. She told me that everyone wanted to see mum before she left, occupational health, the physio etc. Problem was, they had also put her on a blood thinner called warfarin, and her wound split and spurted everywhere. The ward nurse told me to call Wednesday morning to see whether mum was coming home and she said not until Saturday.

On Friday morning the woman from the rehab centre that sets everything up for the home rang and said mum was not coming home until Monday. I told her we’d been told Saturday and it was getting ridiculous with all of the time changes. 

On Friday, mum was taken to another hospital to get filters taken out of her legs. They had been put in a few days before surgery to prevent blood clots, which she already had. But that's fairly pathetic, having to go to other hospitals to get something done so you can have your surgery. 

I rang Saturday and mum was staying in.

She finally came home on the 27th, raring to go.

Guess what happened next!

Thanks to the fact she has an open wound from where her stomach split we have nurses coming every day to clean and change the bandage. That’s fine, but she couldn’t get blood out of mum on Tuesday, so what did we have to do? I had to get mum dressed, get her into the car, back down to the hospital to the pathology department for the blood test so we would know how much warfarin to give mum that night. We also had to park in the shopping centre car park across the road because there was not enough car parks outside the lab. I had to push her over in her walker. For those that know about these things, mum was having Clexane injections until her INR levels were correct and the warfarin would be sustained. I got her home and everything was okay, thankfully.

Wednesday we had the pathology lady come for blood, it was hard again, as mum went black and blue with the amount of blood they continually got from her. Back in Feb, her right arm was black from her wrist to her shoulder. Anyway, her INR levels were 2.1 so no injections Wednesday night, Thursday or Friday at this stage. She needed two injections, twice a day. Not a good thing for someone so battered and bruised.

We have nurses and in home rehab coming for 28 days. It’s a service for people who have had surgery and don’t want to go into a rehab clinic. We already had a few things for her and she now has a bed rail to help get in and out of bed, along with a physio to help get her leg strength back.

Her weight was up and own all over the place. In hospital she lost 25 kilos (1 kilo is 2.2 pound, 1 stone is 14 pound) then gained back 19. So overall she has only lost 6 kilos (1 stone) but still needs to lose more, so it will be diet city for both of us for the next 6 months.

As for everything else…We’re doing okay emotionally…for now.

We had a big row a few months back where stuff finally got said and it was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I’d thought those things for twenty years and they finally got said. What happens now I have no bloody idea. My brother still owes her money after a year and we haven’t heard from him since Feb, or seen them since xmas. No one wants to help, no one gives a shit, and I still have no idea whether I’m going to get to have a life. My physical health has been suffering a bit with sitting so much, but what else is new, and we’re meandering along this path called life.

I wrote three and a half novellas during my last writing break which I’ll concentrate on getting out, I’ve published a couple of paperbacks, I’ll write more kids stories in a couple of weeks on my next writing break while my novellas are edited. And I’m considering publishing the lyrics to over 700 songs that I used to write. Poems are big business in publishing apparently but I am wondering if I should just write poetry. Just one more thing to think of writing about…along with all the other ideas I want to get out of my brain. Like two more novels, and maybe another book or two about the characters in my novellas. Ah, so many stories, not enough energy, or hands to write with, to spit them all out.

No wonder so many big time authors farm their books out to other people to write. James Patterson, anyone!

I’ve had a decent holiday for five weeks, but now it’s back to the grind stone.

Below is a pic of mum's arms last week. Apparently the doctor jammed the needle into mum's elbow bone and that's the result. The next day the doctor asked who did that and mum said, 'you!' It was for a blood transfusion but it was also a week after her surgery. So a bit confused as to why blood was given after surgery. And yes, her right arm was far worse earlier this year.


  1. Holy crap, Your poor mom! All of that sounds horrible. I hope she is now feeling better and recuperating nicely.

    You aren't kidding when you say the "left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing". I have never heard of so much confusion and miscommunication at a hospital as what you and your mom have had to deal with.

    I am pleased to hear that you have had a chance to discuss your situation and hopefully something will change at some point so you can start having a life of your own. In the mean time, I think you are wonderful for being such a good carer for your mom. How you find the time and energy to do all your writing and reading is beyond me. I am so impressed with your strength and fortitude. Shame on your siblings for not helping you.

    1. Holy crap is right Cheryl. They've stuffed her around a bit since being home, even in the last week as well.

      As for my siblings, mum excuses them with, "well they have a life and jobs..." As I've told her, if they can't take a couple of hours a fortnight or month out of their schedule to help their mother something is bloody wrong!

  2. Oh my gosh, your mom's arms! Sounds like she was put through the wringer. It must have been terribly exhausting for her. Glad to hear that she is back home and I hope she fully recovers.

    Your plate is always so full! Yes, James Patterson style...I know about that!

    1. Martha, she was actually really good the day she came home because she was so hopped up on the drugs they'd given her, but in the last week her energy has gone a bit. It doesn't help that she's in so much pain and it's barely 12 degrees Celsius and just the beginning of winter.


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