Mom was moved into a private room, which is much more conducive to her overnight sleep and privacy. California has seen a boom in new hospital construction over the last decade and they have all private rooms to meet new patient privacy rules and to help minimize hospital infections. But her hospital hasn’t caught on yet with the program and the private rooms are limited.

I told her to press her doctor on the issue of nutrition and calories. She’s been in the hospital most of the last two months, and they pretty much just hook up an IV for hydration but offer no nutritional support. She is on bowel rest, which means she can’t have anything by mouth. So we’re surprised when she drops weight?? Of course there are risks with tube feeding, too, including infection. Your body is not meant to be fed through a tube.

Her oncologist is still in the “no surgery” camp, thinking it won’t really help. The working theory is that there is scar tissue that is causing the blockage—16 surgeries in your life and there is bound to be some kind of scar tissue eventually. These are also called “adhesions,” which mean they can bind the bowel to the abdominal wall or other structures. While a surgery could conceivably cut away the scar tissue, it can also generate more scar tissue.

Additionally, my mother is weak and frail, a terrible candidate for surgery. I believe the hesitation of the doctors are the other complications and risks involved.

As frustrating as it can be, I do believe they are taking the “first, do no harm” approach. So you wait for things to change or improve on their own and you hope you have seen the last of these episodes.

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