1166907 tn?1263101648

intestinal obstruction

I lost my mother last week. She has been living with me for the last seven years after my father passed away. She seemed to be doing well for an 89 year old, when suddenly one night she developed acute abdominal pain . Shifted her to ER and they diagnosed her with intestinal obstruction.

Put her on IV fluids but was not subjected to surgery.

She passed away after 6 days.

There are a lot of questions that are haunting me and making it very difficult for me to accept her death with this cause. She had had no surgery ever except a surgery to her leg because a year ago she had femur fracture.

How can she develop obstructions in intestine so suddenly?

Anyone having any answers please tell me.
4 Responses
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547368 tn?1440541785
Hi Ennaye,

My heart goes out to you. I am so sorry that you have lost your mother. Your grief and pain must be over-whelming and you are trying to make some sense out of it. Some times there are no good answers.

What I can tell you is that I have seen this is the past, an intestinal obstruction in the elderly, even in those with no history of surgery. I can share with you what I learned and saw about obstructions. Understand that I am not a physician or an expert.

As we age the peristalsis (a series of organized muscle contractions that occur throughout the digestive tract) of our bowel slows and becomes weaker. That is the one of the reason we often see constipation issues in the elderly. A bowel can become impacted with feces without us being aware of it early on and than obstruct. Often our elderly are not as active as they once were, their fluid intake decreases and as the peristalsis slows it makes the the bowel more prone to disease and issues such as constipation and obstruction.

A lesion can be responsible for an obstruction or diverticular disease such as diverticulitis. There are a number of reasons why this happens but it is not a rare occurrence. In fact I had to check your profile page (looking for your location) as my close friend just lost her mother in this exact same manner in the USA a few weeks ago. Her Mom was 86. There was no exact reason found for her bowel obstruction. The surgeon thought her bowel just "twisted" with age. She too was not a good candidate for surgery and passed several days following the diagnosis.

There is nothing you could have done to stop this from occurring. There were no early signs or symptoms that you missed that would have changed the outcome. Our bodies get old and wear out.  

We all deal with loss and grief differently. If you need to know more to help you through this process, goggle bowel obstructions in the elderly. Please daughter know that this was not your fault. You opened your heart and home to her, more than many would have done. What wonderful memories you must have.

Death leaves a heartache
No one can heal;
Love leaves a memory
No one can steal

We are here for you. I am sorry that you have lost your Mom.
Helpful - 0
82861 tn?1333453911
Please try not to guilt-trip yourself.  I completely agree with Tuck's assessment and can add one more possibility to the list.  

In 1993, my 63-year-old father obstructed so badly that he vomited everything including water for nearly a week and got badly dehydrated.  Then he began to vomit feces.  My mother kept denying that he had anything worse than "a bug" and refused to take him to a doctor.  So I did.  Straight to the ER.  They did emergency surgery on him and stapled him right back up.  He had gallbladder cancer that had completely taken over his abdomen and obstructed his bowels.  He died 4 months later in a rehab hospital.  Four months of horrific, undertreated pain because he wouldn't tell the doctors what he was enduring.  This was before Pain Medicine was a speciality in many of our hospitals.

My mother is the best at denying medical problems, but dad was a pretty close second.  Lord only knows what painful symptoms he endured before the cancer was discovered.  He drank Maalox by the bottle for 30 years, and had classic gallbladder symptoms but wouldn't tell his doctor because he was NOT going to have a lower GI.  No way.  Both of my parents stood by their own medical ideas: treat with over-the-counter meds; if it doesn't help, take more of the same over-the-counter meds; then ignore and deny.  Repeat.  That applied to us kids as well.  The only time we ever saw a doctor was for state-mandated vaccinations.  It didn't matter how sick we were or how much blood flowed: no doctor.  Period.

If there IS any good in your situation, it is this:  your mother didn't have to suffer month after month of pain, surgery and intrusive testing.  You are not guilty of anything.  Not one thing.  I know plenty of people my age who won't lift a finger for their parents.  Your mother was so very lucky to have you by her side all these years.  God bless you for taking such good care of her.
Helpful - 0
1166907 tn?1263101648
Thank you very much for your kind and sympathetic words. They mean a lot to me and are so very comforting too.

I am sorry about the pain your father had to go through and that reminds me that my mother too was forever taking antacids because she felt her digestion was not good.

It was her will power that kept her on her feet for a good 88years. And you are right, I am thankful to God for not letting her suffer much at the end.
Thank you dear, and may God bless you.
Helpful - 0
547368 tn?1440541785
Thank you for posting again Ennaye.

Jaybay is correct. Please do not feel guilty. Most would not have done all you did for your mother. I am sure she was very grateful and loved you very much. You sound like a wonderful daughter.

As I said earlier, you missed nothing, there was nothing you could have done to prevent this obstruction. It happened to my best friend's mother and she too feels as if she missed something. But she didn't and you didn't.

I believe your mom and Jaybay's father are in a much better place, though that does not ease your grief. I know when my father's time on earth is short and will soon be over.  I will feel the same. He will go on to a better place than this earth...but I will grieve him none the less.

Bless you both.


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