Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hospital Woes

Right now grandma is still in the ICU, which means they are sort of treating her still. Yesterday the docs decided she has gotten to weak for intubation to be an appropriate treatment tool so that's out. They basically wanted to get her as strong as possible to send her home. The sooner the better as far as I'm concerned. She is on the highest oxygen setting but her 02 levels are still not great. She is clearly uncomfortable (though doesn't report pain) and she clearly is anxious. Who wouldn't be in her situation.

She doesn't know where she is and she seems a little scared at times. She knows me and my uncle and aunt, which is good. She can't answer open ended questions but I don't know if it is because she can't find the words to describe what she is feeling or what is bothering her, or if she really doesn't know. She'll say yes or no to a direct question. Her head is in this kind of perpetual motion. It's not like a tick though, it is the movement of discomfort and confusion.

Her poor body has been through so much in her life and I hate watching her struggle hour and hour like this, in the hospital she hates. We're already at the point where they can't really do a whole lot for her and she is failing to make improvements with the limited options they have. I'm failing to understand why she can't just be discharged today into a hospice program and we can get about the business of making her comfortable. The ICU docs are reluctant to give her anything for the anxiety and such because it can have a sedative effect. They're concerned if that happens she may have an even tougher time with her oxygen levels.

Meanwhile I'm sitting there, constantly trying to keep her calm and as comfortable as possible with pillows, blankets and water. But I can't help her and she keeps asking me to help her (though she doesn't know what she needs). Last night, it got to be too much and I started having an intern panic attack. My insides felt all twisty, my nausea kicked up, my stomach felt raw and painful and I couldn't seem to take anything but shallow chest breathes. I was able to take an Ativan and my Bachlofen when I got home which helped me calm down and get some sleep, but I just kept thinking that my grandma is really the one who needs this stuff.

I guess we're going to be working on deciding what hospice to go to and trying to get her transitioned from here to there today. Hopefully.

Okay, well I need to pull myself together here and get back to the hospital. Thank you for all your well wishes and support. If you are so inclined I know we could all use some prayers right now.


  1. I do not mean to sound blunt...but if she is going to go to Hospice anyway...why not give her whatever meds she needs to be comfortable regardless. Hospice is about end of life comfort and palliative care. It does not usually matter at that point what effect the meds have on the body if she is going to pass anyway. Get her out of that ICU...they dont sound like they know what theyre doing.

  2. Well, yes. That's just it. By the end of the day yesterday I simply didn't understand what we were doing this for anymore. Fortunately they gave her something overnight to make her more comfortable and she'll be discharged into hospice tomorrow.

  3. You are always in my thoughts and prayers M.

    I'm glad for dear G Ma's sake that they gave her something. Jess is right, and at this point her comfort is the most important.
    They gave my dad xanax the last few days. it kept him calm and relaxed.

    Glad you were able to take it easy when you got home.