I didn't get to talk with mom yesterday, so I called early this morning, only to chat with my dad who didn't have any good news for me. Mom has been displaying severe disorientation and weird behavior since Saturday. It increasingly got worse yesterday and through the evening. Thankfully, we had family with her in the evening and through the night while my dad worked.

The severe disorientation and confusion could stem from a few places:
1) Pain drugs
2) Liver failure
3) Hepatic encephalopathy
4) High bilirubin levels, indicative of a tumor blocking the bile ducts. With this, she should also be yellow and itching like crazy--but she's not. 

Dad called Mayo this morning and they said to get her to the ER. They opted for her PCP who ran labs and we'll know more tomorrow. Her doc is assuming pain drugs are the culprit, so she's off them effective immediately. When I talked to her Saturday, she thought it was the Oxy that was making her feel off and she definitely wasn't herself on the phone. Her doc also detected a chest rattle, related to the cold she's had, and prescribed some antibiotics. She is not to be exposed to anyone who is sick.

I called a gastroenterology clinic in Denver to see if they could take her (especially if she does have high bilirubin from tumors blocking her bile ducts) and do in-patient and out-patient ERCP procedures. An ERCP is basically a stent to get the bile moving a little more normally rather than getting into her blood stream and essentially poisoning her (or putting her into shock). She has had several ERCPs, and they suck. She almost died after the first one after she got pancreatitis, which is a side effect.

I'll post any updates if we hear anything new. Thank you to all of our family and friends who are helping round the clock. It's incredibly nerve-racking to be far away and unable to help.


  1. Prayers for a restful night for ALL. This post seems like a lot to wrestle with... so we count on God our Heavyweight to place the right doctors in Paulette's path and equip them to treat these worrisome symptoms. We just put my dad to bed and I was hoping to find some uplifting news here this evening. My heart is sad that such a sweet and loving "momma" has to go through these hard days. Prayers of thanksgiving for that support network and wonderful family of yours. Thanks, Taryn, for keeping us up to date and well informed about medical options.


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