Thursday, September 9, 2010

Colon get's the all clear.... whew...

A colonoscopy at 90 is a HUGE deal and Mom had one two weeks ago.  It wasn an ordeal for her -  "cleansing" liquids all evening after a day of clear liquids and then more "cleansing" at the hospital before the procedure.  Long story short - she had 2  benign polyps and everything else looks good.

The original cleansing was awful; the stuff is basically soap or some kind of soapy tasting salt solution.  It really goes through the human body fast so she had to "go" within an hour and go again and again.  I sat with her in the evening while she drank all the stuff down and ensured that the aides responded quickly to her potty calls.   I actually helped get her up and down a couple of times - better that than have a mess and ruin her dignity.   When we were sure her colon was good and empty, she went to sleep and I went home for the night.  I met her the next morning at the hospital for the in-patient procedure.   She drank down more of the nasty goop and sat on the commode some more. She was exhausted and cold.  The nurses at the hospital brought warm blankets and we wrapped her up as she sat there.   After a couple of hours, she laid down and slept for a while.   She was up and down a couple more times before the procedure.  The colonoscopy itself took 30-40 minutes then she was in recovery for clean up and dressing.   She was starved so I fed her two small servings of custard and called the nursing home to hold some supper for her. 

I followed the van back and helped her eat and get into bed.   She was fast asleep by 8pm.   Given the "cleansing the evening before, it was a long day - 9am to 430pm - but she was a trooper. The aides and nurses were so very kind and helpful.  I am sure they'd have been just as professional and caring even if I'd not been there.    It was a lot to put mom through - 1 day of little food, 1 day with NO food, hours of diarrhea and a sore behind - but it's better to know if something is wrong.    I was worried about dehydration and low blood sugar which can cause a seizure given her epilepsy.  They gave her some IV fluids before the procedure and some dilantin to prevent an episode.   I don't think they'd have given it much thought without my questioning it ahead of time.   I just wanted to prevent a seizure when she was so vulnerable and it worked out fine.

Should my elderly mom have a colonoscopy?  should my elderly dad have a colonoscopy?  am i too old for a colonoscopy?  How old is too old for a colonoscopy?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Family wedding gives me a guilt sandwich

We attended a beautiful family wedding over the weekend and it left me feeling awful.   Mom would have loved to attend but it just was not possible - getting her around in the wheel chair would have been a terrible pain for us all.    I feel guilt because I didn't do all i could to take her to most likely the last wedding she'll ever attend.  I feel a sense of relief NOT to have taken her so I could relax and enjoy visiting, my own supper and dancing without worrying about her needs and comfort.  Then, I feel guilty for feeling a sense of relief!   Guilt - relief - guilt...  my guilt sandwich...

We would have been able to get her around the venue but it would be difficult, cumbersome and meant lifting her wheelchair up and down stairs.  There were also no grab bars in the restroom which mean I'd have to do all the lifting to get her off and on the commode - my back can't take that much any longer.   We talked about it weeks in advance and she said she'd go ONLY if it was easy to wheel her to the bathroom.  I toured the venue a week in advance and it was, clearly NOT set up for any sort of handicap. She let me off the hook and insisted on staying home. 

Even though we had this discussion I feel terrible guilt and I know there is no way I'll feel better. I must accept that and let it go but that's really harder said than done.   I speak with so many friends who go through the same thing so I feel better knowing I'm not alone.   I have to be content that I take her out for rides, lunch and we'll soon have her 90th birthday party - it will have to be enough.