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My grandma just spent 10 days in the hospital and after receiving blood and having a right colectomy she is having serious mental status changes. No one at the hospital seemed worried and no one at the assisted living facility does either. She is 81 and tiny maybe 85 pounds. I am very worried. Suggestions?

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I had a transfursion 94 an every since, I have been having trouble balances out my life to go back to how it us to be. I see things, hear things
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Gosh you have got your hands full! TED hose was the way to go. You do need to be vigilant with those legs so that the leaks do not get infected. I expect the nurses told you this but try and keep grandmothers legs elevated. Also elevate the foot of her bed. If you don't have blocks a pile of books works and /or put her legs on pillows lengthwise. Don't put pillows under her knees as this cuts off the circulation. Walmart was recently selling bed elevators. they were aimed at college kids so they could raise their beds and get storage underneath. Other than that keep up the good work.
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Veronica - Yes they are the same Grandparents - Grandmas mother had Alzheimer's and so we have been vigilant to those type of signs to look for. Other then forgetting a restaurants name or something on her grocery list (that we all do) she has been pretty clear.

She seems to be doing better but we have had a pretty rough ride. After the hospital she still had some pretty bad edema in her hands and feet - no indication of pneumonia or anything like that. Her hands got better but gravity took over and the swelling moved to her feet. Saturday night I went up to take her meds and found that her legs had sprung leaks. I had never seen anything of the sort and so with the help of the nursing staff we got TED hose on her and this morning they looked SOOOO much better.... now it will be blood pressure issues.... And my kids are sick..... I just cant catch a break!
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Being in the hospital can cause an elderly person to be confused and delusional as well. On top of the anesthesia and the surgery I'm not surprised it's taken it's toll on her. Some of our elderly folk never bounce back 100% from such an ordeal, some do. Also, an abdominal surgery is brutal. It's excruciating and the recovery is so painful. However, after 10 days I would expect her to have bounced back. You may want to talk to her Dr.
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Hi Dance Is this the same grandma living with grandpa in A/L with the alcohol and smoking problems? This might explain a lot. Were there subtle changes before the surgery that you put down to the old partying lifestyle. Could this be an acceleration of a previously ignored alcoholic dementia. Alcoholics are very good at covering for themselves. Was grandma always a little eccentric, did not appear to take things seriously? Being so ill may have caused her to loose some of her filters. As she gets better see if all this improves
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If it's any consolation my Mom was totally confused after having gall bladder removed at 88 yrs old, they had to keep her in the hospital for 6 days which is an outpatient procedure for most..

Give her time, she'll come around...
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Anesthesia and the elderly = a fine recipe for delusion.
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Sorry Dance when I wrote my first reply did not read yours properly and thought grandma had just had the surgery.Ten days ago makes all the difference especially as she has recovered so well. She is certainly doing her best to get well and the outlook seems very good. as others have said the effects of anesthesia and narcotic drugs on the elderly are much more pronounced. Based on her current progress I would say you can look forward to many more wake up calls
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Haha, a wake up call at 2 a.m. IS pretty funny. We need a laugh once in awhile...sorry if it is at the expense of your sleep.

But, this is GREAT news, it sounds like she's a fighter, a "tough old bird" as they used to call my mom! That may make all the difference in her recovery. Keep up your positive support!!!
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We have an appointment set up with our primary in about 10 days so I am really looking to figure out what to tell him. He doctors our whole family (4 generations) and has for at least 24 years. He KNOWS us. I know that some of the issues like hallucinations and thinking it was around 1964 were from the morphine and most of that stopped but like last night she called me at 2am for my "Early morning wake up call" (She was a front desk clerk at a motel for 20 years.) At least we have come from the 1960's to the 1980's..... I just told her that I wanted her to call me when she woke up in the morning. Must be more specific next time. Like call me when you wake up and the sun is shining..... She is still very active (way more than I would be after having surgery)
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Dance - thank u 4 responding. It seems so many who post don't come back and answer the most trivial questions that would help us help more.

You see, by captain posting his (always very honest & descriptive) comment about colonoscopies, we have ferreted out even more reasons for what maybe (hopefully) only confusion at this stage.

We now know that your grandmother had sedation/anesthesia twice in a short period of time. Just google "elders (or seniors) anesthesia surgery" and you will find plenty of information about how late life surgery/anesthetic can contribute to or bring on dementia. As in your g/m's case, this was life-saving rather than elective surgery so you don't always have a choice. If they had it removed her ascending colon because of a mass, she may have had a bowel blockage anyway which would either lead to a necessary surgery or death.

Now we come to the matter of the transfusions. These are just averages, round numbers, given for purposes of comparison. An average woman will have 6 to 7 pints of blood in her body (blood volume is based on body mass, not height) but a 110 pound woman will have only about 5 pints. So g/m had one pint before surgery and two pints afterward. This is more than half of her blood volume. Basic biology or physiology 101 will tell you that the hemoglobin (iron) in the blood is what carries oxygen to all the cells of the body. Oxygen is critical for the brain. Once the anemia is discovered, it takes a reasonable amount of infusion time to drip in the new blood. So there is a period of time where there could be ongoing clinical anemia, with less oxygen being supplied to the brain. No one can say for sure (unless later brain scans so indicate that part of her brain may have been starved for oxygen).

I'm not saying this DID happen I'm saying it's a POSSIBILITY. Several years ago, the brother of one of my dearest friends had a heart attack and survived. But, in the process of getting him going again, part of his brain was oxygen starved for a short amount of time. He was later diagnosed with "infarct dementia", as the lack of blood to his brain during the heart attack had allowed certain brain cells to die. His dementia was a stable type, in other words he didn't continue deteriorating as a dementia patient often does. The damage that was done was isolated to the cells that died during the oxygen starvation. He lost short term memory but other than that he was a very congenial guy, even though he needed 24/7 supervision.

It's rather pitiful that doctors don't spend a lot of time explaining these kinds of things to patients & their families. I personally would rather know the POSSIBILITIES then have to flounder in the dark, go on websites to research and ask questions, basically reinvent the wheel on a case by case basis. It's almost like they're afraid to tell you in case it comes true.

You can question the doctor and if it does turn out to be the case that this MAY be the problem, your g/m still may have it in her power to recover some or all of her prior self. The body has incredible and remarkable healing powers on its own. As I said before, diligent observation/care and fortified nutrition are about the only things from the outside that could help her body heal. Your energy age by her side, belief in the healing power of the mind and body, energy healing or prayer if you are into that, can all day off aid & assistance to her in regaining her wellness.

Please keep us informed on her progress! And take care of yourself in the process!!
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Hi Dance, I'm not sure if she's started her final journey but I agree with others that it's probably the anesthesia that has caused her mental status changes. My uncle was totally delusional after having heart surgery for a number of days. A friend's mother had permanent mental changes (dementia) after having three big surgeries in the course of a year. So sometimes they can bounce back, sometimes they don't. If your grandma has cancer on top of that, she's got another difficult obstacle to overcome. And based on her size and need for blood, it sounds like she doesn't have any reserves to pull from. Veronica may be right, but humans can also be a very tough and resilient bunch...so your grandma may pull through and have a long time ahead of her. Only time will tell. {{Hugs}} to you and your family.
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Danceomany, I will say this as gently as I can and I am sure this has already occurred to you. From what you have described it would seem to me that your grandma has started on her final journey. This is not a time to worry. It is a time to savour your grandmother for the life she has lived. Tell her anything you want her to know above all how much she is loved and make your final goodbyes. Call other family members to the bedside but don't sit around her wringing your hands. Make this a joyful time. Keep the TV OFF but if she enjoyed music play her favorites softly. If appropriate have her priest/minister visit. Encourage people to leave, get some food and sleep, just take it in turns to stay at the bedside. If it is appropriate read passages from the Bible even if she does not appear able to hear you. Hold her hand. Allow everyone a little time alone with grandma. Why why why? I won't express any views at this time it would not be helpful. May she find peace. You are her advocate make sure she is kept comfortable.
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Captain - Colectomy - They removed the right have of her large intestine. She had a cancerous mass. The colonoscopy was the day before the surgery.
CarolLynn - They ended up giving her blood before and then a few days later during surgery they gave her another 2 pints. She is about 4'10" and 85 lbs. She is very tiny - All 6 of my kids outweigh her and my youngest is 7.... Thanks
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Hi Dance - I'm guessing in your grandmother's case, she had to have a general anesthetic. It is more likely the anesthesia for the surgery, and possibly the loss of blood requiring the transfusion that may be the culprits. Surgery is very hard on elders, especially so on frail elders. You don't mention her height but 85 pounds seems underweight for even a small adult woman. So it's possible she also had additional stresses on her body because she went into surgery without much reserve. Other than diligent monitoring & excellent nutrition, there isn't generally much to be done except wait to see if her body can regain homeostasis.
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i dont know what a colectomy is but just the knockout meds from a colonoscopy leave me f*cktarded for days.
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