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Old 02-22-2012, 07:37 AM   #1
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Default My Mom's WLS

So, I did have a post about this, but it's been cleared:

My Mom had WLS in October 2010. She had a gastric bypass, and her surgeon is supposed to be a great one.

We had struggled for two years with her weight and her digestive system. She was showing symptoms of it shutting down, and they didn't have a clue as to what was causing it. She went from healthy and active (thin, an active hiker, a workaholic. There are a lot of terms to describe my mother. Lazy has never been one) to gaining almost 130 pounds over the course of six months. By the time she had her WLS, she was 280, a vast change over her normal 130-150.

We fought for the surgery. She jumped through hoop after hoop after hoop. When the insurance finally gave her approval, we were all jumping for joy. She knew her diet, and even her preferences, would change.

I took her in for her surgery. The doctor came out and said she was fine. That was Friday. She would be discharged Sunday.

When I went to pick her up, she was still heavily medicated. She wasn't acting right. We did the 45 minute trek home. When we got there, I helped her change into her pajamas, as she wanted to sleep. I checked on her every half hour, but something told me to start doing it more. And more. When I came in around 8:00 pm, I came in to dole out her medication.

That's when I saw that she was snoring, and out of her mouth was a green liquid, just pouring out. And she was breathing it in. I pushed her onto her side, and she started to cough it up out of her lungs. She was still unresponsive, the only time she said anything is when my Ex told me to call 911. She said, "No Hospital." I called anyway.

When the ambulance came, and took her away, I shrugged it off. I was pretty sure that she would be discharged and get mad at me for "overreacting."

By the time I reached the hospital after the ambulance, the doctor had made the decision that our local hospital was unsuitable for her needs, and that she would be Life Lighted to a better hospital. When he asked me to pick, I was a wreck. I told him she had just come out of Pinnacle that very afternoon, so he picked Geisinger in Danville, PA.

By the time I drove the hour to get to Danville, she was already being taken care of. The doctor pulled me aside and told me that she was in Respiratory failure, and that she had to have machine assistance to breathe. They took her to the ICU, where she remained for 3 weeks. She was in the Bariatric Ward for 1 week.

When she first came home, she didn't really notice a change in what she could/couldn't eat. It's been over a year after surgery, and now she's more sick than she was, and she can't eat hardly anything because she dumps it all back up. She lives on what is essentially a liquid diet of orange juice, Edy's Coconut Pops, and Boost with protein. She dumps practically everything else.

When she saw her surgeon, after all this was said and done, he looked at me and told me he expected to see me soon. Um, no thanks.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:09 AM   #2
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Oh my, how awful. Poor lady. I can't believe they did WLS on someone with a problematic digestive system. Did they ever diagnose what was going on with her before her WLS? That seems pretty dangerous to me.

Has she followed up with her doctor, and have they done anything for her? Any kind of further testing? That just doesn't sound right. She should be able to eat solid foods, and in fact she needs to eat solids. That's how we stay full.

What a horrible ordeal for all of you. I'm so sorry you went through this and that she still suffers. You already know this but you did the right thing, calling 911. You definitely saved her life.
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Old 02-22-2012, 10:56 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Miss Vickie View Post
Oh my, how awful. Poor lady. I can't believe they did WLS on someone with a problematic digestive system. Did they ever diagnose what was going on with her before her WLS? That seems pretty dangerous to me.

Has she followed up with her doctor, and have they done anything for her? Any kind of further testing? That just doesn't sound right. She should be able to eat solid foods, and in fact she needs to eat solids. That's how we stay full.

What a horrible ordeal for all of you. I'm so sorry you went through this and that she still suffers. You already know this but you did the right thing, calling 911. You definitely saved her life.
I bug her to followup with her surgeon, who she is supposed to followup with, but he was terrible throughout the ordeal. He actually bitched at me for not sending her back to Pinnacle (they had also screwed up my Grandmother's heart catheterization earlier that year, resulting in a blood clot she STILL takes Cumadin for.) When we went to pick up her bariatric food pack we purchased, they were really mean (she was still at THEIR hospital at this time, by the way.) They kept the slip of what she ordered, and I didn't know what she wanted, but I thought that some of what was there wasn't something she'd order. When she got home from the second hospital and I showed her the food, it was almost nothing she ordered. We donated it to my mom's dietician, who gave it to the WLS Support Group for the picking when they wouldn't take it back.

And she knows she should be able to eat solids. She did it for a good chunk of time, but she's been exhibiting the same symptoms she did before the surgery for the past few months. She constantly tells me she wishes she never had it done, because she doesn't think it did any good. I can't get her to tell her dietician. I think she's honestly scared that they'll tell her she needs to have it reversed.
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:43 AM   #4
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This makes me angry. It was irresponsible to the point of malpractice to approve bariatric surgery for someone exhibiting signs of gastroparesis. The "follow up" your mom received is infuriating. I'd be looking into the possibility of a lawsuit.
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:31 PM   #5
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Well, it's not just what she's eating (and I know she's eating what she can -- obviously if she can't keep anything down, she can't eat solids), but also that there is obviously something very wrong with her surgery, her GI system, or both. It could be that she has a stricture, which doesn't require surgery to repair; they can stretch them endoscopically. It may be that a medication that stimulates gastric movement, such as Reglan, would help things move along so it doesn't come back up.

I hope she can get some appropriate help. I'm furious that they did the surgery on her without figuring out what was wrong with her. I hope they can find a way to correct things.
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:33 PM   #6
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Don't get me wrong, some of this is her reluctance to be forthcoming with her doctor. She needs to tell someone what's wrong, and I just really think she's afraid of being hospitalized again.

Though, after some of her experiences at the hospital, I don't blame her.

When she was in the ICU, still intubated, she was in and out of consciousness the whole time. She didn't remember the fact I visited every other day, and in fact, only remembered one visit from the first 2 and 1/2 weeks. One evening, her second shift nurse put on NCIS for her, checked her IV line, and the shift changed. Her third shift nurse was not as careful. She took out my mom's IV line without checking it, which my mom recalls that it was the most painful removal she's ever had, that it was so bad it jolted her from the state she'd been in since she'd been admitted. When the nurse couldn't find another site to put my mom's IV, and had to call 2 other nurses in, my mother pulled her own tubes out. They had to sedate her and reintubate her. I was told about the fact she removed her own tubes and had to be sedated, SHE, of course, was the one to tell me about the nurse.

Edit: Delay in sending. And Miss Vickie: If she doesn't tell her doctor soon, I will.
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Old 02-22-2012, 08:52 PM   #7
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Yeah, Deven, she needs to talk to someone about what's going on. If she's vomiting regularly she could be doing damage to her esophagus, which has its own set of risks. I know she doesn't want to go to the hospital but most likely what they'd do is have her do some outpatient testing like an endoscopy or barium swallow to see what happens when she eats. That will give them a huge amount of data and help them determine what's going on. If she has a stricture, they can stretch it. If she has delayed gastric emptying, they can use medications or even an implantable gastric stimulator.

She has lots of options available to her but what she's doing now is clearly not working and is putting her at greater risk for damage or aspiration pneumonia.

Good luck! Moms can be stubborn (I know -- I am one!) but she needs to have some follow up.
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Old 02-22-2012, 11:47 PM   #8
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Wow, this is all very scary. I hope she can find relief soon.
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Old 02-27-2012, 09:11 AM   #9
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DevenDoom, have you considered just letting her make her own choices? Just bringing up another viewpoint and set of experiences.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:59 AM   #10
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DevenDoom, have you considered just letting her make her own choices? Just bringing up another viewpoint and set of experiences.
Fine. I'll just watch my mother (who, by the way, I am dependent on, as she doesn't want me working through school) slowly die from malnourishment because she's too scared (and this is now by her own admission) of going into the hospital again. Thanks for the viewpoint, it makes total sense. I'll also be sure not to say anything when she talks to me about it, asking what I think she should do. I also will make sure not to call 911 if something is happening, like she's in respiratory failure, and tells me she's fine!

Non sarcasm:

She got some tests done. Her thyroid medication was lowered, her vitamins were really off balance.

She talked to her doctor after my badgering. They are going to run some tests, but what they think might be happening: My mom isn't able to chew her food as well as she should because her dentures are ill fitting (her teeth were lost in a car accident when I was 6 or so.). She's going to get newer dentures so that maybe she can chew a little better. They also checked her pouch, made sure there was no leakage (there's not.) They are going to check make sure it's not herniated or something like that (she wasn't sure of the term, and I was in class during her appointment.)
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by DevenDoom View Post
Fine. I'll just watch my mother (who, by the way, I am dependent on, as she doesn't want me working through school) slowly die from malnourishment because she's too scared (and this is now by her own admission) of going into the hospital again. Thanks for the viewpoint, it makes total sense. I'll also be sure not to say anything when she talks to me about it, asking what I think she should do. I also will make sure not to call 911 if something is happening, like she's in respiratory failure, and tells me she's fine!

Non sarcasm:

She got some tests done. Her thyroid medication was lowered, her vitamins were really off balance.

She talked to her doctor after my badgering. They are going to run some tests, but what they think might be happening: My mom isn't able to chew her food as well as she should because her dentures are ill fitting (her teeth were lost in a car accident when I was 6 or so.). She's going to get newer dentures so that maybe she can chew a little better. They also checked her pouch, made sure there was no leakage (there's not.) They are going to check make sure it's not herniated or something like that (she wasn't sure of the term, and I was in class during her appointment.)
Devon, I just want to commend you for advocating for your mom's health. You're a good daughter, and don't let anyone here make you think otherwise. Best wishes to you and your mum.
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