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12/19/2015 Latest post:
Welcome to our Caring Bridge site. We've created it to keep friends and family updated. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement during this time.
The overview is this. Ever since having suddenly-swollen legs and cellulitis this past summer, Mom's health and strength has been declining. When I took her to the Emergency Room, Thursday December 3rd, she was profoundly weak and was very confused. She was trying to tell the doctor her medications and I said, "Oh, yeah, and your thyroid medication." Mom said, "No, I'm not on that. The doctor took me off it when my legs were so swollen." (The doctor, a geriatrician, says there's no way she would've ever taken mom off her thyroid medication, so it's a mystery to how mom got it in her head that she was to stop it.) MYSTERY SOLVED: DOCTOR ADVISED HER TO DISCONTINUE "AMLODIPINE", BUT MOM ACCIDENTALLY DISCONTINUED "LEVOTHYROXINE", AND IT WAS NEVER SUBSEQUENTLY DISCOVERED THAT SHE WAS OFF THE WRONG MEDICATION UNTIL IT WAS TOO LATE.
Mom was found to have Severe/Critical Hypothyroidism... and really was near death. They pumped her full of thyroid boosters and thyroid medicine and sent her home. She improved for two days, but then started declining again... we followed up with her PCP, who insisted she be hospitalized. Mom initially refused because she absolutely didn't want a roommate! The beautiful thing about this wonderful community hospital (Alice Peck Day Hospital in Lebanon, NH) is that all the in-patient rooms are newly renovated, and they are all private rooms! The thought of room service and a private room convinced her to stay and be admitted.
She has had amazing nurses (mostly male!!!) who are very caring and attentive and skilled. The docs are also good and are in close consultation with the endocrine and GI-specialists at Dartmouth-Hitchcock for Mom's care... she nearly got transferred to Dartmouth, but was able to be stabilized here; where she'll also remain for her rehabilitation - so nice not to have to be transferred to a rehab or skilled nursing facility.
She was admitted on Friday Dec. 11th with dehydration (she hadn't eaten or drank much of anything x weeks), thyroid instability, and liver failure. The hypothyroidism shut down her liver, and the liver is having a hard time recovering. The first five days in the hospital were very scary, in that we were not sure if Mom would ever come out of this confusion and weakness and illness. The last three days, she has been showing progress, but she has a long way to go. She is so deconditioned that she gets out of breath just talking, or swallowing. It's a challenge to get her to eat or drink even just a little, though she knows it's part of getting better, so she'll force herself to get 10 bites of something in at least twice a day.
Our hope is that she'll feel better, start to eat and drink more and be able to gain enough strength to come home. The rehab folks estimate 2-4 weeks of rehab before an attempt to go home.
Our local friends and neighbors have been so very supportive, coming for visits, and bringing meals to Dad and the Hines family. Many folks from afar have sent flowers and cards, brightening up Mom's room and her spirits. And we know many, many are praying for Mom and all of us. We cannot thank you enough. Our hearts are overflowing with love and appreciation. Thank you - Jeannie