An update on Mom. Last week she was throwing up for most of Tuesday and intermittently for a day or two after. Blood was drawn and an IV was started because they were afraid she was getting dehydrated. What’s more, she was becoming jaundiced, which is never good. To be frank, I would have been glad if she had just been sick with a little GI bug, because she would have gotten over it and would have been fine. Unfortunately, when the lab results came back, it was obvious that she was in kidney failure again, which was what was causing the vomiting, and that the “backlog” of waste products that had built up in her blood was causing her liver to act up, which was what was causing the jaundice. She doesn’t drink enough water, but at this point, her kidney function is such that it is doubtful that if she did drink more water that her kidneys could keep up with it.
I’m afraid that her hospitalization in June of 2021 was the handwriting on the wall, so to speak. She doesn’t want heroic measures, which would be dialysis. They can give her IV fluids, but to do so will be walking a fine line. They cannot give it to her faster than her kidneys can process it, or the fluid will build up and she will go into fluid overload when the excess fluids back up into her lungs and cause breathing problems.
Four or five times since February she would call me and say she’d been up all night vomiting, and I would bite my tongue to keep from harping on the fact that she was throwing up because she doesn’t drink enough water. The kidneys are the body’s toilet. The fluids you drink are what goes into the toilet’s tank, and you can’t flush a toilet if the tank is empty. Unfortunately, her kidneys are 98 years old, they’re wearing out and there’s no way to fix them.
It’s a classic no-win situation. There are no real options. The thing we both want is for her to be as comfortable as we can make her for the time she has left. Now I’ve got to figure out how to make that happen for her. When I was visiting with her yesterday, she made the comment, “I wish somebody would just open the window and let me fly away.” Me, too, Momma. Me, too.
4 thoughts on “Updates and Downers”
I think someone should hire you as a health educator somewhere. That kidneys=toilet tank metaphor is genius. I’ve never heard it before, but I wish I’d been able to share it with my own mother, whom I never could get to drink enough water.
I remember how tough it was in my own mother’s last months. She had a slightly odd situation; she was tired of living at 93, but her body was in relatively good shape and not ready to throw in the towel. Finally, it was done, and it happened very quickly, with only five weeks’ hospitalization and such. For that, I was glad. Wishing you the best — it’s a tough situation.
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I feel for you. Hang in there, both of you.
Your mom’s comment brought to mind my grandma–different diagnosis, similar words. It was hard. I hope things go easier for you two.
Susan, I am so sad to read this. You have a lot to consider right now. She is is the best hands of a wonderful daughter.