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About a month and a half ago, my mom (seemly doing the best she has in years, despite chronic diseases, 74 years old) was rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery for a perforation in her abdomen. The surgery went well, but she was in a medically induced coma and didn't wake up for 7 days, extubated on day 8. She had trouble speaking, understandably. Once she could verbally communicate, she was doing okay, just occasional memory lapses, like why she was in a hospital in the city (which she's not), asking my dad When he was going to pick up her parents (who have been dead 25 years)..then when you correct her, she would say "yeah, I don't know why I asked that."...about 2 weeks later, we went for dinner and came back 2 hours later to her screaming at the nurses begging them to stop, my dad and I ran in, she told us to get out and never come back cuz we hadn't been to see her in months (we were just there that afternoon and everyday prior)..she's been that way to my dad in the past (recently her glucose dropped to 40 and in her state of mind she hit my father and doesn't remember any of it obviously), but always asks for me..next morning, didn't even remember any of that. She still has her feeding tube, but was transferred to inpatient rehab two days later to get her ready to come home--but she has been that way for about 2 1/2 weeks, increasingly worse than better most days, doctors saying it's a side effect of the coma and it'll ease up. This morning, we got a call from her rehab that she was being taken back to the hospital, her blood pressure plummeted and her "mental state diminished extensively"--when we got there, she was in a room, shaking and screaming at the top of her lungs like she was having a waking nightmare hallucination. Some of the things she said, my dad said are about events and people from her 20s and 30s, some even from her teens. About 5% of the time she knew who I was and asked what's going on and how me and the dogs and my fiancé are and cried cuz she was scared, the rest of it she thought I was her mother or a nurse. They're running tests to see what's going on, but my dad and I are fearing she's not going to come back from this. Does anybody have had an experience like this, or know anything about this? It's such a serious change in my mother (every time she's in the hospital, part of the things that I need to bring from home include her appointment book and her labelmaker...extremely meticulous and on the ball, even after a double stroke 2 years ago) ...but bc of her age, I fear nobody is taking it seriously.

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An abdominal surgery can take a long time to recover from and get comfortable again. Glad to hear the surgery went well. There are so many things that can factor in with extended hospital stay. You are having to field a lot issues. Imagine a 76 year old that requires quadruple-bypass surgery and stays in the hospital for a month, because it takes that long to recover. There are many other surgeries that require extended stay due to multitude of conditions.

The body and the mind both take time to adjust to the type of changes you mentioned. Surgery, induced coma, return to hospital, trying to adjust to schedule, sleep, new medications, mental recovery, emergency care, etc all play a factor. It can be so confusing for the person that is ill.

I think it is common NOT to expect 3 month full recovery from abdominal surgery even in a patient that is 30 years younger than your mother. It really does take time to stabilize and feel comfortable. Rest, nutrition and stability is key for all, especially the person who had major surgery.

It will really help to speak in simple terms and not react immediately, i.e. accept the present concern the mother has but also reduce the intensity. A lot of verbal comments are just an extension of pain and recovery and it takes more than 3 or 6 months for everyone to feel happy that progress that has been occurred. I really understand the mental and physical strain this causes, so lessen it somehow and it will get better hopefully. Good luck!
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Gladimhere, first off, I am very sorry for your loss. Eleven years is definitely...I can't even imagine. The last two years alone after my mom had her double stroke has been crazy, constant ambulance calls, doctors appointments, panicked phone calls at 3am...I'm currently not working and my fiancé and I live below her and my father just to help out. Two years...I can't even fathom eleven. Just seeing fear in her face and screaming at the top of her lungs for help for a hallucination she thinks is real..It's uncharted territory, no matter how long she is like this...she NEVER asks for help for anything. Just in February she was reorganizing the kitchen cabinets and wouldn't let me help her. She prides self control and doing everything herself, it took a LONG time before she actually let me help her change her clothes or give her medicine. That role reversal thing isn't fun for her.

In any event, when she had the perforation, she was experiencing symptoms for roughly 10 hours from the first throw up to actually being in the operating room. Just in the 10 hours there was extensive damage from the leaking through the hole in her stomach--bile, acid, bacteria. Because of her age, they kept her open for an additional 2 days to keep going back to clean up the damage. After 2 additional surgeries, they finally closed her up. That's why they kept her in the coma and intubated. I wasn't happy with the length of it....she didn't actually wake up til 7 days later.
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Barb, the nurse mentioned a possible infection, were waiting for her blood work and to get admitted for further evaluation and if, what/where the infection is. She never had a UTI in her entire life (she was so meticulous about vaginal health altogether, that I got a 2.5 hour speech the time I told her I took a relaxing bath at the Hilton with my fiancé...love being the only child of a lab technician!) until she had a double stroke 2 years ago. She had a miserable PCA (who's supervisor received a mouthful of a horrible complaint from me) who woke her up and dragged her out of bed at 2am to give her a shower ...she not only sent her back to bed with soaked hair, but used cold water and cleaned her from "back to front"...she's had at least 4 UTIs since, not including the one she developed after that incident. And come to think of it, I remember one of them, she was in the hospital for something else, and they found a UTI as well, she had symptoms where I was like "that's a UTI?"..off the top of my head I can't remember what they were, the last two years have been a constant hospital-rehab-homecare loop I'm starting to lose track... but anyway, a UTI definitely doesn't sound that far fetched. Since mid-March, she has only been home a total of 8 days, from hospital to rehab, and she is on Lasix which makes her incontinent, so she has spent all those days either on a catheter or being frequently changed.
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Anesthesia is very hard on the brain, the older we get, the harder it is to come back from. My stepdad had a hip replaced when he was 84. He was completely loopy for a few weeks, but did recover. My mom had uterine cancer at 80, which seemed to accelerate her dementia, Alzheimer's. The surgery was the beginning of the long goodbye. The surgery was about eleven years ago, she passed on June 1.

It is impossible to know how anesthesia will effect the brain. Why did they have her in an induced coma?
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Make sure they test for a UTI, which can cause these sorts of symptoms.

Get a psychiatric consult while she's in the hospital. Meds may stabilize her behavior if she doesn't have an infection. But make them do uti testing first.
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