Friday, February 28, 2014

This Post Is Shit

If shit and very old people are not your thing do not read on.

Yesterday I wrote that Pearlie has been having a difficult time. Like many elderly people (or so her helpers tell me) she is obsessed with her bowel movements or the lack thereof. For most of her life she has relied on laxatives and one of the struggles we had in the early days of managing her medication was weaning her off the harsher ones. We took medical advice and got her on to a healthier regime that still (mostly) worked.

A few months back the health care team made a change to her care plan that has had a very detrimental impact on her quality of life. They decided that she did not have the upper body strength to support herself on a toileting sling and that there was a risk she might fall through it. This meant there would be no more daily sits on a commode. All elimination would take place in a pad. It also meant no more weekly showers. Since then things have become more difficult for her and for us, but mainly for her. When things build up she yells and she roars and she squeals. She is in pain and she finds pain impossible to bear. Hannah has suggested that part of the reason is that she is expressing emotional pain as well as the physical. The doctor has been to see her and up until two days ago I've felt the visits have not helped much. There was a week of ease for which we were all very grateful and Pearlie seemed happier than she has been in ages. Then, two days ago, it started again. I called the doctor and she came almost immediately. She could find nothing obviously wrong but decided to send her to hospital just to see.

Margaret accompanied her. I have mentioned before that Margaret, Bert's cousin, is Pearlie's closest friend and confidant. So, we were very glad about that. I'm told that Pearlie screamed for three solid hours in the A&E. Some tests were carried out and it seemed that a blockage was the reason. She was hoisted on to a commode and, as the doctor told Bert, the results were 'monumental'. She immediately stopped screaming.

I'm going to confess something here. When hospital was first suggested, I felt a sense of hope that perhaps they'd keep her in for a while, do some tests and maybe we'd get a few days respite. Yet, when Bert arrived home and told me what had happened and that she was coming home in an ambulance I was relieved. Relieved that it was over and glad that she was no longer in pain.

Now I'm going to be just as obsessed with her bowel movements as she is. It's going to be tough for she won't and cannot eat the sort of food that would help her. Fingers crossed, prayers, whatever, that this will never happen again.

11 comments:

Grannymar said...

Will she eat pears? They are a wonderful gentle, yet effective laxative, and very suitable for the frail elderly.

Brighid said...

Oh my, we are going down the same road with my mother.
I have asked everyone to not mention BM in front of mother, as she becomes agitated and fixated on it. Have heard many times that BMs seem to be a big topic for the elderly, and boy is that true!
Med management has of necessity been a fast learning curve for me.
Thank God for the wonderful Hospice nurses we have, just a phone call away.

Nelly said...

Grannymar, I will try her with pears. Thanks for the tip.
Brighid - it's a tough road for everyone on it.

Brighid said...

I've found pineapple pureed works well.

Nelly said...

I think I could persuade her to eat that if she knew it was going to produce results.

Grannymar said...

Another idea for yourself and Brighid is to gently massage the abdomen from bottom right - point of appendix - up to below the diaphragm and across the to the left hand side and down to the thigh (following the line of the large bowel)X three or four times.

The main problem is the bedridden patient is unable to move and exercise as we do, without even thinking about it, so they cannot help move things along.

Nelly said...

I'm glad I wrote this post for when I thought of it I wondered, "Who'd want to read about that?" Yet I have received some good support and ideas from the responses. Thanks to y'all.

Cuidado said...

My job is shit and old people and I have three suggestion: 1. prunes in any form 2. yogurt with live bacterias, and 3. more movement. I'm not sure if she is mobile at all. My client walks with my aid but if she is having troubles I tale her for little walks around the house. It's all about gravity there.

Nelly said...

More great advice. Mrs P. loves prunes. I shall get them in by the barrowload tomorrow. Sadly, she is completely immobile.

Fresh Blade said...

This is a miserable problem, and is in no way helped by being expected to use a pad. I couldn't do it and I don't expect the carers could, either. Prunes, yes; also live bacteria yogurt. A lady I know finds that Easiyo (Moore's in B'mena have it) keeps her going well.

Nelly said...

Thank you Ms Blade.