Saturday, December 6, 2008

Poor Mama

My poor Mama has been going through a continuous nightmare for the last 3 years and this week was just one more chapter in the ongoing saga.  5 or 6 years ago my mom had both her knees replaced.  3 years ago she was hit, out of the clear blue sky, with a systemic staph infection that was mis-diagnosed for 10 days until she was almost dead!  When she was finally taken to different doctors at a different hospital, the situation in all its gory glory was revealed and her life was saved.  I won't go into all the gory details here but basically she had 10 surgeries in 7 days and that was *almost* the least of it!  

After that they put her on antibiotics for a year and she was fine. In the meantime, she missed seeing my baby sister graduate from college, the first of the three of us to do so.  Then, a year later they took her off the antibiotics (against her better judgement) and the infection came raging back.  This was 2 years ago, and my grandmother was losing a long battle with breast cancer that had metastasized into her bones.  My grandmother was 95 at that point and no one expected her to last as long as she did, so Mom didn't want to have the anymore surgeries until after Grandma was gone.  Well, no such luck.  The infection began eating away at her healthy bone where the artificial knees were attached and they had to go back in.  By this time we had taken her to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD and she had the best joint doctors in the country, if not the world, working on her.  So last January it was decided that to kill the infection once and for all, they would REMOVE her knees and replace them with "spacers" until the infection was completely gone.  Read that sentence knees at all until the infection was gone!  My 96 year old Grandmother died the day before they released her from the hospital with no knees.  I had already told her that I would kidnap her from the hospital if necessary so that she would not miss the funeral.  Mom had said her goodbyes before she went into the hospital as we all knew this might happen.

This is December.  She still is fighting infection.  They put one knee back in August and while they were in there they found a blood clot which just complicated everything that much more.  Two days ago she was scheduled to have the other knee put back in, but when they had her in the operating room and under anesthesia and were prepping her, they found a small infected cyst in her groin area and that was the end of that surgery.  Honestly, it is like a comedy of errors.  There have been so many mis-steps and mistakes and bad reactions along the way.  My brother and sister and I feel so helpless to make it better.  Through it all Mom just keeps soldiering on, hoping that this is the week the tide will turn in her favor.

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