Post by AGBF » March 26th, 2008, 11:48 am

My mother has had a long struggle with a gastrointestinal infection called C-difficile. I believe that she first contracted it last September (2007), although my memory may be off. Given her age (she was then 89 and is now 90), it has been serious because it has recurred even though it has been cured by antibiotics more than once. An internist recently told me that there is a 30% mortality rate within one year in people over age 80 with recurrent C-difficile. No one had told me that before, nor had I come across that in my own research.

My mother has had a horrible year getting stomach cramps and diarrhea back just when we thought she was getting better and we might be able to get her to eat, get stronger, walk more, etcetera. She has gone backward and gotten weaker. She has started to fall although she uses a walker. She has started to go in and out of the hospital.

A few night ago her hands and feet were trembling. She couldn't support herself and we had to call "911" for the police and paramedics, who took her to the hospital by ambulance. In the hospital she had seizures for the first time in her life. There was no sign of a CVA (a stroke) and no irregularity on an CT scan or an EEG...until they did an MRI, the test they did last. The MRI showed that she had indeed had a CVA and today, for the first time she exhibited dementia and agitation. My perfectly lucid mother who just two days ago was recommending books, was irrational and wild.

There are a couple of ironies to this. One is that, as my father has pointed out, my mother could have lived to 100 if it hadn't been for the C-difficile. As he said, "She had the genes for it!". Both her grandmothers lived into their mid-nineties and when she didn't get the Alzheimer's that ruined her own mother's late 80's and killed her in her early 90's, it was wonderful! And, as my father said, she had no bad habits. So that's one irony.

The other irony is that my mother had the best memory of the three of us (my father, my mother, and I). (My brother isn't hanging around enough discussing novels to be included among the group.) Only she was able to tell us which books we had already read by any given author. Without her memory, we will all be taking out books from the library that we have already read. The only question is whether we will read only a few pages before we realize that we have read them before or whether we will read them all the way through and say, "Darned fine book!" at the end, proving when one's memory is bad enough there are many more good books to read.

At any rate, things are sad here. I just wanted to share. I do not know if I can tend this thread as I should. My daughter and I have moved to Connecticut and into my parents' tiny house. My husband is alone in Virginia. Everything is upside down. I don't know when I can get to the computer. If I don't return to the thread, you will know why.

My love to all of you,

"If someone asks me how many people work here, I say, 'about half '. " John Corey