Jun 30, 2013
As you get older, little health problems become serious more quickly, and often, it seems, the way to detect serious things is through small changes.
Swampy's mom is in her mid 70s. She is quadriplegic from MS -- has had it since the Carter administration. She lives at home, cared for by 24/7 caregivers.
About 2 months ago, Swampy's mom mostly stopped eating. She told Swampy later that she didn't think that there was anything wrong, if you aren't hungry, maybe you just aren't hungry.
Last week, Swampy's mom started vomiting, and as the caregiver cleaned up the vomit, she noticed the smell of feces. She picked up the phone and called 911.
Swampy's mom had three infections -- a UTI, sepsis, and c-diff. She had respiration problems, and she had two intestinal blockages, this is why the vomit had feces.
Upon being admitted to the ICU, she was treated for the infections and a GI consult. The blockages were cleared, bowels were decompressed, and the c-diff, after a little longer than normal, cleared up.
There were a few problems that remained. Swampy's mom needed a critical care medication to raise her blood pressure. Her bowels were too slow to absorb nutrients. She had scurvy as well -- problems with nutrient absorption.
Swampy discussed the situation with his mother, and based on her wishes, had the blood pressure medication discontinued and transitioned to a hospice regimen.
Swampy's mom has hours to live. Her mouth is covered in bloody sores -- a product of malnutrition. She can't swallow or eat. She can choke out a syllable or two. She can have water from a swab.
Earlier today, Swampy said to her "Thank you for all you've done for me, thank you for being my mom." Swampy's mom looked up and him and said "Don't cry!"