Saturday, January 10, 2009

Roller Coasters-{Part II}

I cannot believe it is already the tenth of January, 2009! Time goes by much too fast! I last wrote about Roller Coasters on December 15, 2008. I left you in March, 2008 where we had passed our 6 month window in Terry's life expectancy. A lot of changes came on in a hurry and slapped us back to reality in a hurry.

On March 25, my mother-in-law fell in the den and broke her right hip. After surgery to repair her hip and a week in the hospital, she had to be moved to a local nursing home that had a long-term rehab unit in order to get back on her feet again. The days were stressful for us all, but especially for Terry. He got so sick with concern for his Mom that his own health soon began to show deterioration. By mid April, it became evident that we were soon headed back to the hosptial.

Surely enough, a few days later, we found ourselves once again in the ER with his disease causing major problems for him. The encephalopathy was really bad again. He was so disoriented that he didn't know where he was or basically anything going on around him. They got his ammonia levels under control and he began to rebound. Then, he started to bleed from his mouth. He insisted it was only his gums bleeding, but I knew it was more. I pointed it out to the doctor during rounds one evening. He agreed with me and scheduled an endoscopy for the next morning.

While performing the endoscopy, the doctor discovered three seperate variceal bleeds in Terry esophegus. Varices are basically varicose veins of the esophegus or stomach. The varices would have to be banded in order to stop the bleeding. The doctor proceeded with that procedure and everything went well. We were discharged the next day. Terry was in extreme pain and could barely stand to swallow water, much less food. On our follow-up visit to the doctor's office, we were told his liver functions were getting worse and were now critical.

Over the next few months, Terry continued to get worse. He was weaker and there seemed to be no rest that would make him feel well enough to get out of the house. The Christmas season was upon us before you know it and he was drastically bloated from the collection of fluid in his abdominal area. I all but begged him to let me take him to the ER, but he would not agree to it. He did, however, promise me that he would go in to see his doctor right after Christmas.

I made the appointment for the Monday following Christmas and waited and prayed and watched him continue to balloon up and get sicker. The time for that appointment came and went, and Terry was not able to keep the appointment. Again, I began to beg him to let me take him to the ER. He was so breathless, he couldn't even talk in sentences anymore. He said reschedule the appointment. I promised I would, however I also made him promise me, that, were he unable to keep the second appointment, he would go to the ER.

The day for the second appointment arrived, January 6, 2009. He was even more bloated than ever and almost completely unable to take an even shallow breath. Of course, he was unable to keep his appointment. So, I called 911 and ordered an ambulance. They took him to the ER. He was assessed and they immediately wanted to take him to radiology to remove some of the fluid from his abdomen. They removed well over 2 gallons of fluid and then took him to his room on the surgical recovery floor.

We spent the night and were discharged late the next afternoon. We were referred to Hospice Home Care. Terry's liver no longer functions at all. Whatever lies ahead is simply the time it takes for his body to stop functioning now. It seems the final chapter of the Roller Coaster ride has now begun.

{Visit again for the next installment of "Roller Coasters"...it will be the journey home.}

3 comments:

The Eppers said...

I am so glad that you have the help and support of Hospice and so sorry that I can't be there to do more. I hate that you and Uncle Terry are having to go through all of this, but I am grateful that he has journeyed longer than was expected. What a blessing! I will continue to pray for your strength and health. I love you both!

Raggedy Girl said...

Diane
i continue to pray and I can only imagine how hard this must be. I am praying that Terry will not be in pain and that you will have good moments with him.
Roberta Anne

deborah said...

Keeping you and Terry in my prayers!