June 7, 2010

My mother is in ill-health

Posted in June 2010 Newsletter tagged , at 1:21 am by havenoftheheart

My mother’s health was relatively stable until the end of February, when she had to be hospitalized on account of a mild infection. She was to be discharged within a week but something went awry during a swallowing assessment, which resulted in her choking and retching violently until she lost consciousness. The severe strain apparently ruptured a blood vessel in her brain, which caused my mother to slip into a coma. Although a brain bleed can be terminal if the bleeding continues, a small bleed is self-resolving in due course. Such was the case with my mother. Unfortunately our health care system is not supportive when dealing with seniors. The next few months turned out to be an on-going struggle to fight for my mother’s right to life. Even though my mother had regained consciousness within less than a week of the occurrence, the system wanted to cut off life support. My mother’s speech had returned but she was unable to swallow liquids and required a feeding tube. For six weeks I watched, as my mother grew weaker and weaker without food while I continued my fight to try to get a feeding tube inserted. Once the G-tube was in place her condition gradually improved but not without my daily support, sometimes even twice a day. I learned that once a person is declared DNR (do not resuscitate), which seemed reasonable at the time that, indeed, all measures become merely palliative with the emphasis on a rapid death. In fact my mother would have expired ten days into her coma had I not dislodged a four inch long, tampon sized gob of mucous that had collected at the back of her throat and attached itself to her tongue, severely blocking her airway.  I was shocked to hear that severe cutbacks in funding have left seniors in very precarious positions, much of which I am certain is not known by the general public. Once my mother is stable and back at home, I shall pursue this matter more diligently not just for her sake but also for the sake of every elderly person, whose right to life is being compromised.

Read Globe and Mail columnist Christie Blatchford’s piece on my mother’s ordeal, <Hilda, 84, was no frail lady until she received hospital ‘care>

Here is a picture of my mother, donating her hair to charity one week prior to her illness.

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