Shannon Fennell's Blog

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

Ups and downs with Mom


For those who follow my blog for make-up/face painting reasons – sorry for all the posts about my mom, but this is what is the most important thing in my life at the moment.  Writing about this helps me process what I am dealing with day-to-day.

This all started on May 15th when mom fell – as of this coming Monday she will have been in the hospital for a month.

Since my last post a week ago the following stuff has happened, in no particular order as time has ceased to register with me (I don’t know what day of the week it is, or how much time has passed without actually looking at a calendar):

– Mom pulled out her ventilator ON HER OWN early this week (I can’t even tell you how many days ago it was…)  They were talking about putting in a trach tube which I think caused her to take action.  She pulled it out and she is still breathing, completely on her own.  They put a “bi-pap” (?) mask on her the night she did that, and for a few hours the next day but she fought against it (and she flipped the bird at the respiratory therapist…) so… she is now simply on oxygen through the nose.  They removed the ventilator from her room completely.  They also installed a feeding tube down her nose – they give her stuff through it – Tylenol, other drugs and supplements, etc.

– Mom is now in a private room in ICU and probably will be there for a bit more time.  She’s now been there for two solid weeks since her stomach surgery.

– She wants me there everyday.  I was reading to her but a few days ago she started saying no if I asked if she wanted me to continue.  I’ve been going to work for an hour to clear emails, etc. then heading over.  It is really uncomfortable (the chairs are horrid.)  I don’t think I’m going to be able to continue staying there so long every day.  I have other things that need doing and will run out of vacation days.

– This week they did a CT scan to check for a reason her white blood cell count is so high.  They found an abscess inside against the outer wall of her abdomen.  Long story short (conflicting medical opinions, new intense antibiotics, etc.) they drained it with a needle today without notice they were going to.  I really hope that is the end of the “procedures” she has to have.

– Today, as well, they are doing an ultrasound of her heart.

– A few days ago, after she removed the ventilator, the speech therapist came to assess her for chewing and swallowing.  The first day she came to tell us she would be back the next day to do the test.  Then she came the next day and mom would not cooperate.  The third day she came back and mom cooperated.  So a pureed diet was ordered.  Had to wait for dinner as mom had a CT scan scheduled.  Mom ate the yoghurt.  The pureed food is vile, simply vile.  Today I took in mashed banana in yoghurt and mom ate it with actual enthusiasm.

– She doesn’t want to cooperate with the nurses about moving her around or getting her up to sit in a chair (using a lift/sling) and doesn’t want to cooperate with Physio either.  But they just do it anyway.  She squeals and yells.  I am blaming some of the behaviours (well, MOST of it, I hope) on the drugs – even though they have cut way back on the size of the doses, etc. she still gets “loopy” on pain meds.

– I called to talk to mom’s nurse an hour or so ago for an update and she told me that mom’s meds have been changed – hopefully we’ll find something that won’t make her loopy.

– She’s got a full size TV now so I can put the news on and her regular shows – it distracts her a bit, and at least I can watch it while sitting there.  I need to take in something productive to work on – I’ve got an embroidery project that I’ve had sitting in my basket, unopened, for about 40 years (yes, years) so maybe I’ll start working on that.

– Last night, actually, it was this morning at 12:11 a.m. the phone ringing woke me up – NOT a good thing right now.  I was sound asleep so it took me longer to wake-up than ringing – so I got up to check who it was because, well… it was ICU.  Panic mode… I called back, and mom’s night nurse answered – immediately said “June’s okay”… but she wanted to know if there were things mom did at home to help her get to sleep.  Mom doesn’t have ANY problem sleeping at home.  They could not get her to settle – they’d given her all the possible drugs they could, all of them had tried to ask her what the problem was (with different answers for each of them), she was yelling “help, help, help” banging and rattling anything she could reach.  So… I headed over there (as I was sort of asked to) to see if I could calm her down.  Had to enter through ER and security let me in.  They had set up a cot for me in mom’s room.  Mom seemed happy to see me and I got on the cot and tried to fall back to sleep.  Mom stayed quiet for about a couple of hours (till around 2:45 a.m.)  I tried to sleep but was wired from the adrenaline and there are so many noises!!  The bed makes noises (it is an adjusting air mattress), the monitors make noises, the HVAC system for the entire hospital is just outside the window of her room, the leg compressors inflate and deflate, there are sounds from the hall… I dozed off for about an hour, the mom started again – help, help, help.  Ask her why, she has to go to the toilet, tell her she can’t, just go you have tubes in.  Wait a couple of minutes – help, help, help, what now? My stomach hurts. Why?  I have to go, then just go.  And on, and on and on it went.  She kept it up, non-stop.

Net result, I may have managed to get a total of two hours sleep.  Her day nurse got her out of bed into a chair, against mom’s very vocal objections.  I fed her.  Then went to the cafeteria to get my self something (I hadn’t had time to pack a lunch) and she continued the whole repetitious process all morning.  At around 11 a.m. I told mom I was going to go home to sleep.  She obviously wasn’t interested in my company.  She wailed.  But I’d been there almost eleven hours and she hadn’t changed her tune.  Except to add in to her repertoire “my neck is broken.”

I managed a three-hour nap and still feel crappy and tired.

– I think it is still Friday right now.  June 12th is Friday?

For Family:  If you are planning to visit mom (and it would be nice if you did) send me a message so I can add you to the permitted visitor list.  See previous posts for hours, etc.  And please don’t phone me – I don’t want to talk as I get too emotional, upset and that just adds more stress and causes massive headaches.  Which I do not need and will not willingly subject myself to on top of everything else.




2 thoughts on “Ups and downs with Mom

  1. Hi, just wanted to say that I said a prayer today for your Mom. I said a longer one for you. Blessings dear Shannon.

  2. Oh Shannon I am so sorry to hear of more troubles with your moms health. I pray she regains her health and that you survive all of this.

    Sent from my iPhone


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