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Old 05-01-2013, 03:14 AM   #1
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Default Someone Has Stolen My Mother

It has taken me a while to put my thoughts in writing on what has happened over the last month, but this problem is still here and I cannot fix it. My two brothers and I sent mom into the hospital for a serious stomach surgery about 5 weeks ago. She has been confined there the whole time and almost died. But then she pulled thru and got well enough to be discharged - they recommended a nursing home, but we brought her home instead. But the woman we brought home is not my mom. It is a shell of an old woman who no longer has the spark in her eyes, nor the quick wit, nor the lethal but precise tongue of 80 + years that mom had.

The first time this switch in personalities hit me like a blow from a splitting maul was when I walked into her house and she was parked in a wheelchair in front of her picture window watching birds in her yard. She now watches birds catch worms but cannot carry on a conversation on a phone, cannot pay attention to a TV show, cannot dress herself or use hardly any of the conveniences of home, eats a couple of tablespoons each meal, needs assistance doing almost everything, probably doesn't know the date or time, or when her birthday or mine is. Today, she asked the same question to anyone who came into the room over and over again all day long.

We dare not leave her alone. We have hired sitter to be with her 24 hours. We are dependent on the kindness of strangers (which is being paid for out of her savings). The doctors who "saved" her life by performing the surgery, sent her home with a witch's brew of prescriptions. I counted 8 or 9 different drugs. (She was taking only one med when she went in for the surgery.)

I do not know what went wrong - maybe her mind just wore out. Or maybe it is just resting and will come back? Her sister died from Alzheimer’s at this same age so that is another shoe that may drop soon. Or the anesthetic during surgery may have shorted some wires out in her head. We all hope her mind will heal, but the odds are against it. When you are 87, you do not spring back from health problems very well.

So, in the meantime, I will keep talking to the stranger sitting in her house, but I know it is an imposter. Mother's Day, which is coming up soon . . . .we will just go thru the motions and be kind to the stranger sitting in mom's house. She looks kind of sad and lost.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:14 AM   #2
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Check the new prescriptions for side-effects and cross-check them for possible interactions. If any of the adverse effects resemble your mother's symptoms, let the doctor know, and see if there are alternatives.
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Old 05-03-2013, 04:49 AM   #3
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This post made me sad I live with my gramma and have for most of my life and she's in her early 80's and still a pretty strong woman. Her memory has been failing more and that makes me sad but I can't imagine trying to cope with the thought of possibly losing her as you did, then relief at her being saved and now feeling like you still lost part of her

I hope y'all find out what happened. Maybe it IS the meds. I've had some pretty bizarre reactions to meds in my time. From vomiting to hives to hallucinating. Please let us know what you find out.
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Old 05-05-2013, 09:01 AM   #4
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Certainly, the pain meds they give after any surgery as well as what they gave during can have that effect on someone. They do take time to workout of the body. I would check with the doc as suggested. My mom went through the same thing last year..she is 72 and ended up needing GI surgery. She came out of surgery a completely different person. She couldnt make sense when having conversations, talking to people who werent there, couldnt sit up, take care of herself, even couldnt feed herself. Rehab didnt help much honestly. My sister and I (EMT and nurse respectively) encouraged my dad to kep questioning the meds and why she needed to be on them etc. It was a combo of the meds, the effects of surgery plus the fact she was severely anemic following surgery. It did take about 6 months for her to bounce back and today she is the same as before the surgery. My grandma, at age 92, went through the same situation as well and was able to bounce back pretty much. I hope this helps a little bit!
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Old 05-06-2013, 06:18 PM   #5
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I think surgery and long hospital stays simply take it out of old people. I saw that with my father-in-law who at 88 last Fall still insisted to get a photo ID at the Tennessee TMV so he could go vote, and wanted to go check out the new Batteries-plus store for new gadgets and gizmos. Then he had to go to the hospital for a sore throat and it turned out it was throat cancer. Three months of chemo and radiation treatments followed, plus a trach and tubes and all. The cancer went away, but dad was destroyed in the process, just nuked. The hospital declared him cured and discharged him to a nursing home where he died after a few days. The cancer might have killed him, but modern medicine did a quicker job.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:52 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Webmaster View Post
I think surgery and long hospital stays simply take it out of old people. I saw that with my father-in-law who at 88 last Fall still insisted to get a photo ID at the Tennessee TMV so he could go vote, and wanted to go check out the new Batteries-plus store for new gadgets and gizmos. Then he had to go to the hospital for a sore throat and it turned out it was throat cancer. Three months of chemo and radiation treatments followed, plus a trach and tubes and all. The cancer went away, but dad was destroyed in the process, just nuked. The hospital declared him cured and discharged him to a nursing home where he died after a few days. The cancer might have killed him, but modern medicine did a quicker job.
I am starting to believe this more and more. Our agressive, and often "go for broke" modern medical care is often not compatible with our aging and increasingly frail bodies. It's sort of like trying to build a new computer using parts that are five or six years old.


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Originally Posted by Fat_Angel View Post
Certainly, the pain meds they give after any surgery as well as what they gave during can have that effect on someone. They do take time to workout of the body. I would check with the doc as suggested. My mom went through the same thing last year..she is 72 and ended up needing GI surgery. She came out of surgery a completely different person. She couldnt make sense when having conversations, talking to people who werent there, couldnt sit up, take care of herself, even couldnt feed herself. Rehab didnt help much honestly. My sister and I (EMT and nurse respectively) encouraged my dad to kep questioning the meds and why she needed to be on them etc. It was a combo of the meds, the effects of surgery plus the fact she was severely anemic following surgery. It did take about 6 months for her to bounce back and today she is the same as before the surgery. My grandma, at age 92, went through the same situation as well and was able to bounce back pretty much. I hope this helps a little bit!
We suspected she was overmedicated (and probably still is). We took her off two of the meds the first day she was home. These were the drugs that were anti-depressants and mood altering. She was a little better after that. But still not the same woman.

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Originally Posted by largenlovely View Post
This post made me sad I live with my gramma and have for most of my life and she's in her early 80's and still a pretty strong woman. Her memory has been failing more and that makes me sad but I can't imagine trying to cope with the thought of possibly losing her as you did, then relief at her being saved and now feeling like you still lost part of her

You are absolutely right largenlovely. We were so happy to see her make it thru the surgery - then to realize later that this was a different woman who came back from the surgery.

I hope y'all find out what happened. Maybe it IS the meds. I've had some pretty bizarre reactions to meds in my time. From vomiting to hives to hallucinating. Please let us know what you find out.
I have now (along with several others who are taking care of mom) think she is in the early stage of Alheizmer's. I have looked at their little screening tool on-line and mom has 9 of the 10 signs of that disease. My relatives have encouraged me to go ahead and test her soon because she can get started on some drugs for the condition that may delay the progression a bit. Mom's sister died from the disease just about 2 years ago and their two cases are similar. However, I am starting to think the surgery "kick-started" her symptoms into overdrive.

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Check the new prescriptions for side-effects and cross-check them for possible interactions. If any of the adverse effects resemble your mother's symptoms, let the doctor know, and see if there are alternatives.
I also want to thank everyone for your suggestions and encouragement.
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Old 05-07-2013, 03:00 PM   #7
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M2M, so sorry to hear that! I know where you're coming from, we experienced the same with my grandmother after her hip replacement surgery at 84. She never was the same afterwards.

Surgery with being put out for a longer time can actually lead to a so-called reactive psychosis with elderly patients above 75-80 years. Their system simply can't process the anesthetics as well as younger bodies can. In addition, if patients are either very slight (my grandma, about 85-90 pounds) or very heavy (above 250 pounds) dosing of anesthetics is often nothing more than guess work simply because the case load of empirical evidence is much more limited.
Something similar happened to a friends mother, who had three major orthopedic surgeries in the course of 10 weeks - and afterwards had full blown dementia from one day to the other at only 74; no indicators before that - she still taught university classes pro bono before her first fall with the ensuing surgery.

Taking your mother off unnecessary meds is definitely good advice in this context.
Try to keep her as mobile as possible, busy her with small simple things (like peeling potatoes, folding laundry) to try to ease her back into daily life.

Strength and patience for you!
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:42 PM   #8
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I can only imagine how heartbreaking this is for you all.

I have no advice just lots of squishy hugs and a hope that over time she will improve.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:32 PM   #9
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(M2M's responses in blue.)

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Originally Posted by fritzi View Post
M2M, so sorry to hear that! I know where you're coming from, we experienced the same with my grandmother after her hip replacement surgery at 84. She never was the same afterwards.

Surgery with being put out for a longer time can actually lead to a so-called reactive psychosis with elderly patients above 75-80 years. Their system simply can't process the anesthetics as well as younger bodies can. In addition, if patients are either very slight (my grandma, about 85-90 pounds) or very heavy (above 250 pounds) dosing of anesthetics is often nothing more than guess work simply because the case load of empirical evidence is much more limited.

Fritizi, The anesthesiologist told us something like the above info during mom's workup prior to surgery. He recommended that she use mainly a spinal block for pain control and she agreed to this. However, they also had to use a general anesthetic during the surgery (if nothing more than to keep her still and quiet during the surgery). It is probably the general gas that did most of the damage to her mind - in my opinion so far.

If my brothers and I knew then what we know now, we would not have pressed mom to have the stomach surgery. I think she would be better off facing a the possibility of a ruptured small intestine than living the rest of her life as stranger in her own home, among friends and family she no longer knows or wants to talk to, and a world she doesn't understand.


Something similar happened to a friends mother, who had three major orthopedic surgeries in the course of 10 weeks - and afterwards had full blown dementia from one day to the other at only 74; no indicators before that - she still taught university classes pro bono before her first fall with the ensuing surgery.

Taking your mother off unnecessary meds is definitely good advice in this context.
Try to keep her as mobile as possible, busy her with small simple things (like peeling potatoes, folding laundry) to try to ease her back into daily life.

Strength and patience for you!
Thank you for sharing your family experiences with me Fritzi. Also, thank you for the good wishes Spirit Angel (we need them).
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:50 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by moore2me View Post
However, I am starting to think the surgery "kick-started" her symptoms into overdrive.
I absolutely believe that can happen. My thyroid has been staying within somewhat normal range, as far as my tsh levels, for 10 years and I didn't require any medicine. When I got my hip replacement, I came out of the hospital and a few months later it crashed hard.

I guess sometimes you're trading one evil for another I don't know much about Alzheimers except that it causes memory loss of course but hopefully y'all will be able to still have some lucid moments with her for a while before it gets too bad. I'm sorry though cuz I know that has to be difficult *hugs*
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Old 04-23-2017, 07:06 PM   #11
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Default She's with her God now

My Mother died about one month ago. She never recovered mentally from her hernia surgery in the first of this tread. The last few years have been spent in a nursing home. Every time I went to see her she started started telling me she wanted to die. Upon hearing this conversational "thread" I told her I was going home if she did noit talk about another subject. I may have been cruel, but I could not take listening to that any more.

Last week my kidney doctor did another CAT scsn on my kidneys. He told me my kidneys looked good. As a postscript he commented that there was a small intestinal hernia in my abdominal area. This is the same surgery that re-wired my mom's brain - she never recovered from that carnage to her brain. Such is life. The apple does not fall from the tree.
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Old 04-24-2017, 01:40 AM   #12
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Hi Moore2Me
I was doing a bit of google searches and local anaesthesia and a keyhole surgery maybe might be a possible in your case, try to ask your surgeon about it. One can allways ask.
All anaesthesia messes with your brain and sometimes things end bad for the patient. Yes a lot of things health issues are inherited. The more they search the more they find. Have a nice day today I was thinking about you these past days. Take care & greetings Orchid.
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Old 04-24-2017, 05:16 PM   #13
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Keep in mind you are a different person and what happened to your mother does not mean it will happen to you.
If you believe in a negative manner then you have given up and asking for the same for you.
Keep your mind free and open to the positive energy around you and use it.
Negative energy breeds negative results positive breeds the opposite.
Life is a balance...... light/dark,good/bad,right /wrong Etc.
I know this to be a fact I have lived thru it
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