Update on Mom

Rebecca Yolanda Seletyn.  One of the toughest old broads I know.  My Mom.

Thanks to everyone who has sent out warm wishes and prayers for my Mom’s speedy recovery.

A little history –

My Mom has been a diabetic since her very early 30s.  She has not been the best at keeping a regimen of healthy diabetic living.  She would sneak a Coca Cola, occasionally eat a snack, etc.  When her blood sugars would go up, she would self adjust her medicine to accommodate.  I believe some of her current issues stems from her not taking proper care of herself once she was diagnosed.

Mom used to be a nurse (eons ago).  However, she tried to catch a patient who was falling and ended up with a severe back injury.  Over the years she has had a number of corrective surgeries.  Some of these were performed by Dr. Jane of the University of Va.  He is the same surgeon who worked with Christopher Reeve at the time of his paralyzing injury.

Third item in Mom’s history that plays into her current medical quagmire is her fluctuating weight.  In the late 70s, early 80s, Mom decided that the new state of the art procedure Stomach Stapling was going to be the one thing that controlled her weight and put her on the right path.  However, once her surgery was performed there were months of terrible repercussions.  She was unable to keep food down for a long time.  If she ate potatoes there was the chance of them getting lodged.  There were times when she had to go to the hospital because of the stringy nature of meat and it getting caught in her stomach.  She lost the weight alright.  She looked like a skeleton with skin.  As with all procedures of this type, the portion of the stomach that was sectioned off began to take on more food and so the weight control was again an issue.

So fast forward to today.  My Mom has diabetes that is uncontrollable.  Her blood sugar can be at a level for which the meter just reads “high” because it does not register at that level.  I have seen her with her sugars in the hundreds and for whatever reason it will pit out to like forty eight.  They try to adjust her insulin intake but the fluctuations still occur.  Her kidneys have taken a beating and are now not functioning at a proper level.  This causes her to gain fluid weight (sometimes to the tune of 40-50 pounds).  She then has to go into the hospital to have those fluids removed with an IV diuretic.  Over the past three years this has become a regular occurrence.   This past October they removed the fluid too fast, causing additional trauma to her kidneys.  During a recent hospital stay they believed that she had internal bleeding.  They have performed a battery of tests including one where she swallowed a camera shaped like a pill and then they filmed her digestive tract to find the source of the blood loss.  The test showed nothing.

My Mom has been in the hospital since last week.  And in the tests leading up to the hospital stay I can tell you – the Stomach Stapling that was performed by a doctor who is no longer living (and he should be considered lucky as I would be on his doorstep) was a botched job.  He sectioned her stomach off into three sections.  It makes no sense.  This botch job is definitely an influence on my Mom’s condition.  Again, doctor is better off dead (sorry for the harshness of that one) as we have heard that he was a raging alcoholic at the time and may (or may not) have carried his alcoholism over into his practice and was involved in poor treatment of patients.

The tests performed this go around have involved her Creatinine levels being too high.  This allows nitrogen to stay in her system as the kidneys are not processing waste properly.  She started a test this morning that will take twenty four hours and will track the output of urine and will be able to determine the performance of her kidneys.  This time the fluid that she retained became so much that her body did not know how to remove it (for lack of better terminology).  Her legs seeped fluid.  It boggles my mind that one’s body can be full to capacity of fluid to the point that it just seeps through your skin.

They tried to perform the bone marrow test on her this morning.  The thought process is that it is possible that because she was not producing blood properly that it had something to do with her marrow.  Because Mom is so heavy they were unable to use the instruments that were needed to drill into her hip.  At this time we are not sure how they will proceed on that one.

They stripped something like 38 pounds of fluid weight from her this visit.  The bouncing weight is nothing if not mind numbing for me.

All the while the doctors do not know what is wrong, what to do or what protocol needs to be followed.  I see episodes of House and know that people think it is malarkey that they throw a list on a board and then perform tests and mark through the items that are not the root of the problem.  However, I have seen it first hand, it does happen. And here we sit, worried.  The unknown is sometimes far more scary than the known.  To not know what it is or what we need to do leaves us with a sense of helplessness which I cannot overcome.  She has separate doctors for:  general care, lungs, heart, blood, kidneys – I am flabbergasted that not a one of them can say “eureka, I know the problem”.

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