Personal: An update on my mom …

Posted By on May 27, 2012

My mom would not like this personal post talking about her, but since I’m archiving partially for my own journaling I wanted to write down what was buzzing around in my head this past year.

Between my dad, who is with mom almost all the time, my brother Ron (thankfully able get to Sidney regularly—he is closer) and me (weekends and when I can detour my schedule during the week) … we’ve been visiting with mom and consulting with the medical experts trying to come up with the best rehab option after a challenging back surgery. We’re slowly running out of options in how to get my mom back to health – complications  are unfortunately all too common in recovering from back surgery. At this point we’re depending on mom’s own strength, motivation and fight; I think this will determine if she is able to move forward or will decline.  The doctors and medical staff are doing about everything they can to medically treat her … they seem to be competent, but can only do so much.

Brief history …

It has been a challenging month (well year really) for my mom in dealing with complications regarding several physical issues. First, she has been treated for Sarcoidosissuccessfully for about 10 years. Dr. Baughman in Cincinnati (UC) is highly regarded in treating Sarcoid patients; his treatment uses drug therapy to retard the growth and spread of the infected cells. For the most part, it has been controlled and contained to her lungs that are monitored regularly … but the treatment unfortunately negatively impacts how her family doctor treats Osteoporosis. Time and age caught up to my mom with the latter, and in the past year fractures in the brittle vertebrae made moving painful at first (about a year ago) and unbearable in the late autumn of 2011 particularly in her legs.

The pain med route was the first approach but later was no longer was sufficient and what she was left with was a possible but questionable surgical repair. She tested, scanned and prepped for the first scheduled surgery in December 2011, but after the surgeon looked her most recent scan and condition of her bones, decided last minute that he could not repair the vertebrae. So it was back to the pain meds and to see if there was anything else.

She was referred to a Dr Farhadi, neurologist in Columbus (Ohio State Med Center) who suggested something other than “rods and screws” … he thought there might be a way to relieve some pressure on the nerves and “cement” the fractures. So preparations, new scans and tests opened the door to surgery a couple weeks ago. The surgeon was somewhat successful in reducing the pressure on the spinal column and nerves, but was not able to repair any fracture due to infected tissue and bone (which he sort of suspected). momatwilsonhospitalTissue was taken and cultures incubated (or grown) to determine what kind of infection so the best antibiotics could be administered to tackle the infection. Unfortunately no repair can be made until the infection is gone (up to a year of treatment is the prognosis).

Yesterday, we received the good and bad news about the bacteria that mom is infected with. Good: they have a combination of three antibiotics in which to fight the infection. Bad: the infection is something that caused enough concern in the hospital that the infectious disease doctor has moved her to isolation — Mycobacterium Avium Complex – masks for visitors, closed doors and nurses/doc wear full masks, gloves and breathing apparatus. More than likely mom contracted this bacteria which is found regular due to her compromised immune system … much in the way that HIV/AIDS patients compromise immune systems are susceptible to these kinds of bacterias.

In the meantime, mom’s “full year of dealing with this” condition in just recovering  has not been optimum. She is weak and her stamina is about gone. The long term hospital and rehab has been challenging and getting her back on her feet very difficult. Complications due to lack of mobility, medications and having her body so run down that she has some fluid retention that needs to be treated besides the back issue and infection.

I’m trying to remain positive in the little things at this point. One: She is currently close to home and dad can visit easily a couple times a day without having to live somewhere else or drive distances. Two, she is not in severe back/leg pain and the C2 pain meds are being eliminated (some withdrawal). Three, they have removed the oxygen and no long has to be catheterized; she can use the toilet next to her bed with help.

The next big problem is that normal nursing home rehab probably will not be able to care for her needs … and she’ll most likely get release from the hospital IF she improves. Sidney does not have a care facility that will be able to continue the nursing care and physical therapy that is needed. The nearest recommendation “so far” is about 40 miles away … dad will not be able to safely drive to this urban care facility. Hmm … what is next?

For family and friends checking in with us … I appreciate your prayers for mom. Please continue.


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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