Life/pandemic/my mom update
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Hi. It's been insane to think that we have been living through a pandemic; something I know that I NEVER thought would happen in our lifetime. Like everyone else, I was terrified, anxious, emotional, depressed....until around the end of June. It's quite something how one can acclimate to something so horrific. Somehow, the human spirit learns to adapt to continue to survive, I guess.
My health conditions (and my husband's) dictate that we take strict precautions against covid. We go outside in the fresh air, rarely go into the drugstore or grocery store, visit w/only 1 or 2 people outside, masks on. Occasionally we have our adult kids over. We are now huge believers/users of Amazon, Instacart, and other food deliveries. We were very fortunate, in that my husband still had his job and could work from home (and lucky to have our home). Hubby has been working in the dining room. It took some getting used to (for both of us), but it works pretty well now.
My mom recently had two huge surgeries: one- to remove a brain tumor, and the other to clear out a skin staph infection that showed up after the first surgery. To take care of my mom, I've had to be exposed to hospitals and her caregivers, which has been scary. My mom's surgeries were pretty awful, and during the second one, they also had to remove a 3"x4" piece of the bone from her forehead. (She had two brain tumors removed in the early 1990's. Unfortunately, all of the associated craniotomies destroyed the blood flow to that area of bone tissue, and it died.) It's been gut-wrenching and miserable watching my mom go through all of this. After the first surgery in mid-Aug., she was only able to say a few words and could not even move herself to reposition herself in bed. She spent a week in the hospital and 6 weeks in rehab. When she came out, she had almost all of her critical thinking skills back and could walk 200 ft w/a rollator walker.
Mom was home from rehab for all of 3 days (w/aides 24/7), when the neurosurgeon found the infection during her followup app't. He told us to go straight back to the hospital for surgery that night or the next day. We were beyond flabbergasted. We drove there straight from his office; the ER was jammed and had to wait for hours, even though the neurosurgeon called in to tell them we were coming. Mom had the surgery the next morning. That was 10 days ago. She's still in the step-down unit from ICU, waiting to get the stitches and staples out and to go back to rehab. She's in somewhat better shape this time (compared to after the first surgery) but needs more time to regain her strength and to work on trying to walk again.
It's been a nightmare to have all of this happen during covid. The other problem was that my aunt developed pneumonia the week before Mom's first surgery. Long story (shortened here) - she was taken from her nursing home to the ER and I was told she might not survive. She had heart failure, had a heart attack, and sepsis. Ultimately, the medical team determined that she was not a candidate for open heart surgery to repair the 2 faulty valves and replace the 3 obstructed blood vessels. Eventually, the pneumonia resolved over 2 1/2 weeks (while she was in the hospital). Her breathing improved w/new meds and she was stable enough to return to her nursing home. Overseeing the care of both my mom and her younger sister (my aunt) took a heavy, emotional toll. I spent soooo many days on the phone to medical staff at both hospitals, trying to make sure they were getting the best care possible and monitoring their progress. I am so thankful for everything that that the doctors, nurses, and therapists did to help them both (they were in diff hospitals, btw).
Hoping and praying for my mom's continued progress. It's been a journey for sure, and she's very brave.
An aside- gained 6 lbs since April, but lost 4 of them. You'd think that stress would have made me lose more...but no. :(