I finally was able to talk to an actual doctor this morning about mom and the news is good.
I talked to Dr. Escander — not sure about the spelling there — and he was very nice and extremely helpful and kind.
Here are the notes that I took from our conversation:
He said that mom was still on a ventilator to assist her breathing and that she was being treated primarily for pneumonia right now. He thinks that the pneumonia is probably what contributed the most to her UTI and the subsequent sepsis. (This is interesting to me because I distinctly heard one of the nurses at Coastal Rehab talking to mom’s roommate, [name redacted], about needing to take medicine for her pneumonia, and I remember wondering if she was contagious.)
He confirmed that they performed a colonoscopy on her yesterday (May 23rd) and that she had colitis, but that it was not serious, was most probably caused by the lack of bowel movements prior to being admitted, and was being treated with mild antibiotics and mostly gone.
He noted that they were trying to wean her off of the ventilator a little each day, and that this morning when they reduced her sedatives while turning off (but not removing) the ventilator, she opened her eyes and was alert and responsive. She is still very weak, though, and of course she sort of freaked out, so they resumed the sedatives and returned her back to the ventilator. They are extending each day the amount of time they leave the ventilator “off” until she can breathe normally on her own.
Dr. Escander said that yesterday her blood pressure was elevated slightly so they administered a bit higher dosage of the blood pressure medication and she responded well to that; her blood pressure is back to normal and they’ve returned her to the normal dosage.
She is being fed intravenously right now; her potassium was low so they are supplementing that.
Her red blood cells are stable (whatever that means) and she has no fever or anything; there is no longer any infection in her blood or urine.
He said she was, “on the right track,” and he confirmed that there was no evidence at all that she had ever had a stroke; her brain appears perfectly fine physically.
I explained to him the whole story of the last six months, and told him about Nana dying at Indigo Manor and about the other details of mom’s history, and he said that he thought it was very irresponsible of Dr. Caliendo to diagnose mom with dementia without doing a bunch of tests. Dr. Escander thinks that what I have been saying all along is probably more likely the case: That mom has severe psychological issues and suffers from extreme anxiety and depression which definitely requires therapy and may require psychiatric medication, but that she most likely does not have any sort of incurable “dementia”.
He also said that poor diet and / or a bunch of problems with hormones or vitamins frequently present as dementia, and he ordered blood tests to check for all of these possible causes for her change in personality and cognitive functions. He also ordered a neuropsychological evaluation.
So … Although it’s not exactly “jump for joy” sort of news, it was very, very good to hear Dr. Escander’s thoughts and to know that he is going to try to determine “WHAT HAPPENED” instead of simply considering this a “done deal”.