My grandfather is in the hospital

Don’t worry; I’m not going to get all emo about it ;) Plus this was scheduled surgery; its not an emergency. But I thought I’d blog about it because there are probably lots of other people with elderly relatives who eventually have to go through this. First some background: he’s almost 90, he smokes around three packs a day and if no one cooks for him will eat cookies, danishes and coffee all day and is in fairly good physical shape (yes, its sickening ;P). However, his mind has been slowly going for the last few years and that’s not in such great shape; he has good days and bad days, but the bad days are getting more frequent. He can remember everything from before he retired with perfect clarity, but things since then are a little fuzzy and his short term memory especially is getting very bad.

Anyway, so about a month ago my brother was home with a cold and my grandfather woke up and asked if he was ok. He said that he was feeling a little sick and then asked how my grandfather was… ‘Pretty good’ was the reply, ‘just a little blood in the urine’.


So, um, yes, that resulted in a visit to the doctor; the verdict was bladder stones.

The treatment was to break them up with a laser fed through the urethra into the bladder. Unfortunately, at least one was too big, so they had to schedule surgery.

Now, at this point I should mention that my grandfather has never really liked doctors or surgery, but its not too difficult to talk him into it if one can get my father to agree (as he is also the same way). So he would get the bladder stone removed along with getting his hernia repaired. Yes, his hernia; I didn’t mention it before since he’s lived with it since the late 80’s or so rather than getting it repaired. But since they were going to operate in the same area anyway, they could get it done at the same time (there were two doctors operating; one on the bladder, one on the hernia).

I wish I had a picture of the stone they removed; it was apparently shaped ‘like the snowflake on 5th Avenue’ 3.5 cm x 3 cm (roughly 1.5″ x 1″)

Now, here’s a somewhat more gory report; his hernia was always… large… shall we say. Basically a membrane ruptures, allowing the small intestine to invade the scrotal sack; it used to be the size of a grapefruit. By the time they did the surgery, it was the size of a honeydew melon -_-; Apparently it was being swolen by some four and a half feet of intestine (1.35 m)

Now, since the laser lithotripsy, he’s been forced to use a foley cathether; basically a catheter drains the bladder directly to the outside and what makes it a foley catheter is a little balloon attached to the bladder end that expands in the bladder to prevent it being pulled out. Tugging at it (never mind pulling it out!) can cause internal damage.

So after starting to recover from the surgery, being already loopy from this encroaching dementia and likely further loopy from various painkillers, etc, he pulled out an IV and tried to walk out or something, forgetting that there was a hose coming out of him and so the foley catheter got pulled and he hurt himself a bit (resulting in blood in the urine; they’re giving him antibiotics to avoid infection). They had to restrain him in the bed. My father went to visit him today and he was trying to do more such shenanigans. He talked to the doctor about having my grandfather sedated and restrained after visiting hours until tomorrow to avoid further injury. Unfortunate, but he’ll get out of the hospital sooner this way (maybe even tomorrow! :). Also, they’re hopefully going to get him on the nicotine patch as I imagine the withdrawal symptoms aren’t helping matters.

Sorry for misspellings and not making links; I have to get my daughter to bed (she’s not yet two but is still less trouble than my grandfather ;)


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