Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, cooking, make-up, travel, art and the occasional rant!

Roller coaster ride – update on my mom


We have not been having fun.

Overnight on May 27 mom’s vitals went wonky and her belly started to swell.  In the morning of May 28, the day we were going to be bringing her home, when her aide arrived shortly after 7 a.m. mom was on an IV and the nurses told her mom was going to be taken for a scan of her stomach.  She called me and I rushed over.

Mom was in pain – we thought it might be horrible constipation but she had been going.   Her belly swelled up steadily all day – she was in extreme pain and looked like she was 18 month’s pregnant with quintuplets.

They FINALLY came to take her for x-rays just before noon.  Mom was in worse and worse pain as time went by.

Around 2 p.m. a surgeon arrived to say it looked like a perforated bowel and they were going to be doing emergency surgery, but they had to get blood products into her first for clotting as she was back on her blood thinners at that point.  By now mom was totally delirious with pain yelling “help help help,” calling my name (NOT fun and very upsetting,) and screaming in pain. The nurses spent the next two hours getting things pumping into her.

Around 4 p.m. they took her to surgery.  I went home.  Around 6:30 I called the ward and they said she wasn’t out yet, and they thought she would be going to ICU afterwards.  Told me to call back around. 8 p.m.

The surgeon called me around 7:30 p.m. to say it wasn’t the bowel, but a ruptured ulcer on her stomach.  He had repaired it and she was in ICU.  He said the surgery went well.  I asked if that was better than a perforated bowel and he said “hell yes.”

On Friday, May 29 the phone ringing woke me up around 6:30 a.m.  It was ICU saying they thought I might want to get there as soon as possible.  Mom had deteriorated overnight and was on full life support.  I called one sister told her to let the others know, threw on some clothes and got over there.

Luckily mom had stabilized somewhat by then and was no longer requiring the ventilator to breathe completely for her.  That was a week ago.

She’s been steadily improving BUT, they haven’t removed the ventilator (it is on “assistance mode”) she has a lot of tubes and bags, and still has pain.  They removed the stitches from the hip surgery on Sunday – she is seeping out of the holes still though as she has been so pumped fully of liquids she was like a fully over inflated balloon – hard to the touch, no creases.  They’ve been  giving her diuretics to get the fluids off of her through the week.  The last three days she has been fully awake, finally, and communicating as best one can with a ventilator and stomach tube shoved in their face.  The bloating has been decreasing and her arms look about normal, but the legs are still pretty puffy.

Today, however, her belly is again, swelling up – and it is pretty big.  Her nurse convinced the ICU doctor to order x-rays to check that out.

So… I don’t know at this point what the x-rays show.  Shift change is going on right now so I will call in later to see what the update is.

I am dealing with things as they happen and hope to get her home sooner rather than later.  But she has to  recover from the surgeries and other issues, AND able to do a standing transfer with one person assisting before we can manage at home.

FOR FAMILY: ICU is immediate family visitors only, and only two at a time.  They are closed to visitors between 7-9 a.m., 1-3 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. I am the main contact – they won’t give out information to others.  If any family members are planning to visit her there you need to let me know so I can add you to the allowed in list.  And to reiterate what I said in my previous posts:  I am not home much between two jobs/visiting mom/etc. and do not want to talk on the phone when I am – send me an email or a Facebook message and I will answer.


2 thoughts on “Roller coaster ride – update on my mom

  1. Holy moly…..I feel for you! My prayers are for your family and your mom. I sincerely hope she gets better!

    Arla Albers

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