November 18, 2007

Grandma Update

Well, as the saga unfolds, it gets more and more twisted.

Grandma was finally able to remember the events that unfolded Thursday night. She had gone into her garage to get a TV dinner and some cookies out of her freezer (why a widowed 87 year old needs a chest freezer is beyond me, but that is a different story), and was on the step right by the door, with her cane, other hand full of dinner and cookies, in her socks, ready to chill out for the rest of her evening, when she fell over backwards. She does not remember what caused her to fall over.

She remembers thinking that she needed to try to get inside the house, and that she was able to get herself over onto her stomach, and drag herself, broken arm and all, up the steps to the door, which had not shut all the way. She propped the door open with her recycling bin (thank God for living in a green community!), and then attempted to pull some carpet over herself while she rested a while. She knew enough to be worried about hypothermia, and did her best to stay awake all night long. Her garage is insulated and finished, and FIL had installed an insulated garage door about 4 years ago, so things were not nearly as bad as they could have been. Her propping the door open helped to let heat from the house into the garage, and she had on sweat pants, and turtleneck sweater under a sweatshirt.

Thankfully, at this point, there is no sign of fever, or sickness from the cold and damp.

The orthopedic surgeon consulted today, and said that she has 2 breaks just below the ball of her shoulder, and the bones are quite out of line (to which I said, duh, did you see the swelling???), and at this point they have one of 2 options. 1 - wait the 6 months with the arm immobilized, until the cardiologist says an operation to set the bone is ok (she definitely had a heart attack sometime Thursday night into Friday morning). OR 2 - place a nerve block in her neck, and manually manipulate the bones, and cast the arm, and immobilize it to begin the healing process and cut down on the pain medication she would need. MIL and Aunt are freaked out about the risks of the nerve block in the neck. I say, she's 87, ready to be with her husband in heaven, has 2 bad knees, osteoperosis, has had a heart attack and will require 24/7 care for at least the next 6 months...what has she got to lose? this point, we wait for the cardiologist to talk to her regular doctor, who will then talk to the orthopedic surgeon, who of course must explain all the ins and outs of the nerve block to my very skeptical MIL.

I have to say, that for someone who wants her mother's remaining years to be comfortable and safe, she's awfully against thinking outside of the box when it comes to medical care...I understand that a nerve block can be placed incorrectly and cause issues (few and far between when used for these types of things to my knowledge) such as permanent nerve damage, even paralysis, and possibly death (see above comments on Grandma's situation), but wouldn't you want your mother to be out of pain as soon as possible, and not dependent upon chemical pain reduction?!?!?!? If she waits for the cardiologist to say she's ok to have a surgery under general anesthetic, she has to live in a nursing home, with no use of her left arm, for at least 6 months...

Tough situation, and I'm very glad that I am not the one making the final decision.

My hope is that MIL will NOT sway Grandma to do something Grandma does not want to do, based on her interpretation of things. I hope that they have the conversation with the surgeon in Grandma's presence, and make sure that Grandma understands the risks, and then they let her make her own decision...After all, she's lived an amazing life, with nothing to regret...and while we'd miss her terribly, I at least know that BB and I will see her again one day, and can rest in the hope and grace that I have that she will be Home.


Anonymous said...

If it were up to me I'd do the nerve block. I just couldn't live with knowing she had to wait 6 months being in pain and heavily tranquilized. Saying prayers for your family.

FarmWife said...

I hope and pray they let Grandma make the decision herself. And I hope the drama doesn't stress you out too much. TAke care of yourself.