Sunday, February 27, 2011

Good thing I have a strong stomach, oh but it sucks I am such a Nervous nellie.

Went with Mom last week to the plastic surgeon, as we thought she had an infection.  Nope, turns out just some dying flesh.  He cleaned it up, showed her how to keep it clean, and sent us on our way.  Very cool guy, very accommodating to my morbid curiosity.  And by curiosity, I mean standing over his shoulder, breathing his exhaled air.

Went back to the doc today, for a little re-check.  Soon as Mom laid down on the table I got the shock of my life.  There is a HUGE GAPING WOUND where the under wire in a bra would hit.  Like, breast separating from chest.  Once I got my breath back, doc told me to sit down, that I wasn't helping.  After about 20 minutes of debriding dead flesh, the gaping hole was much LARGER.  Fascinated and repulsed at the same time, I couldn't stop staring and asking questions.  He thinks I am either some complete nut job, or have missed my calling.  Probably the former, because of the enthusiasm.

 Doc then taught me how to give it a wet/dry pack…which needs to be done several times a day. Last week Mom did all her own cleaning and caring for herself, which was nice.  I needed the break.  Seriously needed the break.  I knew she was feeling better when she was able to get my goat one night, and I packed up all my stuff, and stormed out.

So now, I will be going back over a couple times a day to make sure BGW (Big.  Gaping.  Wound.) is being treated okay, and is in fact not becoming EVEN BIGGER GAPING WOUND.  We go back next Monday for another check.  Doc didn’t make me feel better, kept asking her if she had been smoking (no way, I’d know) or been around smokers (nope).  He can’t figure out why her skin is not doing so well (in my head I was screaming, “um, maybe because she smoked for 50+ years????”).  He’s only seen this happen TWICE during his career.  Of course!

Before the surgery, I had been a bit concerned about Mom’s mental acuity.  She was asking the same questions, always forgetting things I told her, etc.  Since my grandmother died of dementia, I am scared shitless the same thing will befall Mom.  It’s pretty much guaranteed because of drinking.   You see, I come from a ling line of alcoholics.  Lady alcoholics too!  Mom would outright deny it (of course, don't we all?  HA!), but normal drinkers don't drink EVERY day.  Just a little something I picked up at AA.  Or in my addiction classes.  I'm no expert, oh wait...I AM.  Anyway, Mom is a prime candidate for alcohol induced dementia. Grandma had quit YEARS before she started suffering from it, but Mom still drinks.   Not since the surgery though, or so she says.  Haven't seen any evidence of it, but I am not going to go searching the trash can for empty wine bottles either.

Anyway, since the surgery, something has been just nagging me.   She SWEARS she hasn’t had pain meds in well over a week.  Her gait is very slow, she’s not real steady on her feet, she kinda sounds like she’s slurring at times, but mostly has a firm grip on reality.  Mostly.  Doc told me to watch her, and take her to her General Practitioner if I think something is amiss.  Now, Mom was in the room when I asked the doc about her mental fitness last week.  So she knows I am worried.  Today, out of thin air she says “I wish they had told me about how badly the anesthesia would affect my body, I still don’t feel right.”  Then she noted the grim look I had on my face, and started saying she was fine, everything was okay.  So I told her I didn’t think anesthesia stayed in your body more than a few days, and again, she was all dismissive and joking around about her old body (she's 68).

I took Mom to her see her therapist a little later in the week, and was a little surprised when she asked if I could sit in. I took the opportunity to bring up the slurred speech, and was very happy to hear that the therapist had noticed it too. Well, not HAPPY, but you know, glad someone else is hearing it too. So chat resumed, and therapist asked me at the end about any concerns, and she said she didn't think it was a stroke, because she noticed it BEFORE the surgery. Man, I about jumped out of my chair and hugged her.

I was just profoundly uncomfortable thinking about having this whole conversation with Mom about her memory, the slurring, which would inevitably end up with the drinking. So when her therapist said she had been noticing it, and she didn't think it was stroke related, that door had been broached for me. Good news is I don't feel all sneaky now, looking for corroboration, and also that Mom really trusts and likes this lady (known her for 25 years!).

Therapist told Mom she is worried she is not eating enough (more backup for me, since I have been nagging her about food for 2.5 weeks now), has told her to stay away from people smoking(not just me saying it!), and has given her the third degree about taking her vitamins and making an appointment to do her follow up physical therapy (that Mom had been pooh-poohing to me).

Felt glad and sad leaving, poor Mom was all quiet and said "I didn't know I had been slurring, no one has said anything to me about it."

I am so thankful a health care professional (she's a nurse too) sees what I see too. She also told me to call her any time with concerns. Poor woman has no idea what she just opened herself up to.

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