Caregiver Log: Hail Mary

NOTE: This blog post contains graphic descriptions of medical conditions and procedures. It is written with express permission from the person whose situation is described.

Today is my brother’s birthday. He would be 63 years old, but he died on July 17, 2022. He was in an incurable cycle of pneumonia, other infections, and hospital stays. I had to make the choice between length of life and quality of life. And while I know signing those pink hospice papers was the right decision, it doesn’t make it any easier.

It is the same for every person who is called upon to be the decision maker for the seriously ill and the dying. The will to live is so fierce, so basic within the construction of lifeforms, that even my mother who had no hope of survival from Leukemia, fought to the very end.

Tomorrow, I will pack up my suitcase and home office and drive to pick up Jenny, with her duffel bags of medical supplies and comfortable clothing, and take her to Rochester, MN for what can only be categorized as a ‘Hail Mary’ surgery at Mayo Clinic on March 1, 2023.

I will be living and working in Rochester as Jenny fights for her life, for a better quality of life, for a longer life. I am her power of attorney and am there to support her and to speak for her when she cannot. Her wishes are clear to me, and I will carry them out. But I approach this responsibility with trepidation I have not had in the past.

She must have this surgery. The condition of her body is unnatural. No one can survive for very long with their abdomen open and no one would want to, as hydrochloric acid burns the skin of your belly raw. She has endured this for two years. She has a will to live stronger than most.

I will say it again: no matter the outcome, whether Jenny survives or not, her torture ends. She’s free either way.

On Monday morning, I will prepare Jenny’s home for extended absence. In the afternoon, we will drive to Rochester, hopefully after the rain showers have passed. On Tuesday, pre-operation tests and paperwork ensue. She may be admitted for overnight stay or not. It depends on how early the surgery starts and what they must do in preparation for it. But since this is likely to take at least 12 hours, they’ll get started first thing Wednesday morning.

Remember, no news is good news. It means she’s still alive. Watch Jenny’s Facebook for updates.

If the surgery is successful, she will be in the hospital for about a month, then discharged for long-term recovery. Whether this is at home with nursing support or in the nursing home remains to be seen. But that recovery could take three months before she’s up and moving around very much.

It will be about a year after surgery before she is considered fully recovered. Because she is not likely to be able to absorb enough nutrients with her remaining intestines, new normal means IV nutrition for the rest of her life. But it also means a closed abdomen and she still probably gets to eat food, including those that were problematic like popcorn, nuts, spicy foods, and beer. Hallelujah!

Don’t give up hope- but know. If there is anything you need to say to Jenny, do it in the next 48 hours.

And please pray to whatever higher power you believe in for the best outcome. No matter what it is.

If you are so moved, you can read more graphic and gruesome details while helping Jenny by donating to her GoFundMe.

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, February 2023

2 thoughts on “Caregiver Log: Hail Mary

  1. Jean White

    Jenny, I pray for you twice every day for God to heal you! I will be praying extra hard the next few days and keep praying after surgery till you are fully recovered! You are so brave and strong and I know with God’s help you will recover completely! We all love you very much, especially your Grandma who you know is praying for you! May God Bless you and keep you safe!❤️🙏🏼



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