Background : My 78 yo mom had acdf spinal surgery a month ago resulting in acute dysphagia. She was on TPN in the hospital for 3 weeks and then she and our family made the decision to put on a PEG tube. In the hospital a CNA laid hands on her (pushed hard on her chest told her her roommate was trying to sleep) and was menacing.

We complained and she was moved to a private room. This traumatized her to the point we had to be there 24/7. After 4 weeks in hospital she is now in rehab in SNF getting speech, PT, OT so she can get strong enough to come home, hopefully using bolus (she's on a continual feed now) and continue therapies until her swallow issues resolve. She is still traumatized by all that has happened (no food going on 5 weeks, the hospital incident). She is still terrified tho the folks at the rehab have been fine with her. I feel like some hospital delerium may be setting in.

It's been horrible, her mind is good but I feel like she's inching toward a breakdown.
We are trying to let the folks there do their jobs, but there is a lot of downtime. After the hospital experience we are very wary, and mom does have a tendency to sometimes refuse things when offered, only to change her mind. She's just so fearful and untrusting now bc of this botched result.

Has anyone else dealt with this "side effect" of acdf surgery. How long did it take (if ever) to resolve? Was the transition from hospital to rehab just a traumatic? Tips on what we can do to make it easier? We've tried to be there as much as possible without hovering, staying positive etc. I thought she would be happier but she seems more miserable and depressed. I understand, this all happened to her and she feels helpless.... We are all heartbroken for her. My dad is same age and healthy but having trouble coping too with this unintended consequence from a surgery that was supposed to help her..

Thanks for reading... 😢.

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I had ACDF surgery a few years ago, but was in my 40s. No swallowing issues. Sore throat for a few days but that was more due to the ventilator.
Helpful Answer (1)

I am going to get to the most disturbing part of this in my opinion. The assault that occurred. There does not seem to be any reason that the CNA should have put her hands on your mom. I can understand her fear at this point. (I actually just looked this up and this would have been Battery not assault.)
Not all surgery will alleviate all the pain that a patient might have been experiencing prior to the surgery. And there is fear after of 1) causing pain during rehab. and 2) the fear of injuring the surgical area. and 3) in your mom's case the fear of being assaulted again. And I am sure that every time someone touches her she is frightened.
Maybe talking to a Therapist might help alleviate some fears she might have..

I am almost wondering if applying pressure to your mom's chest did some damage. Were images (x-ray) taken after to be sure that no damage had been done?
(I might be over reacting on this though)
Helpful Answer (1)
casole Oct 12, 2022
Hi Grandma,

Thank you for your comments. There was no xray done. They immediately moved her to a private room, but damage done. It's not the end of it from our perspective (just try to bill us...) but we are still in the midst of trying to now move her from rehab to home where hopefully she will finally feel safe. I feel she could benefit from therapy, but she can be stubborn that way. She's really dealing with multiple traumas at this point.

She looked into my brothers eyes yesterday and told him she was scared and he said a part of him died. It broke my heart.

Right now it's eyes forward to get her home and swallowing again. There will be a LOT to deal with later for accountability.

Thank you for writing..
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