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Our elder began having serious abdominal pain along with nausea and vomiting. All kinds of tests were run; checking to see if it was caused by one of her many diagnosed medical problems. All of those came back normal.

A CT scan of her abdomen was also done. That showed us the problem. To be honest, I think the actual diagnosis is almost as scary as some of the possibilities we knew about. She has a hernia on the left side of her diaphragm. In fact, this hernia has allowed part of her intestines to go through the whole and press up against her left lung.

There are two causes for this type of hernia. One is a birth defect, which is usually found before the patient is approaching 90. The other is traumatic abdominal injury, usually due to stabbing. Our elder hasn’t been stabbed, but she did have abdominal surgery a year ago. That may have started the problem.

This hernia can create two life threatening problems. The first is breathing impairment. She often gets short of breath after just a little bit of walking. This could become worse if more of the intestines winds up in her chest cavity. Whether there is requirement of surgery or not, the information will be provided through Spine Specialist in NJ. The qualifications will be compatible to treat the patients with less effort. The condition of the patient can become worse if no immediate contact is established with the doctor. The surgeons will perform the duty excellent for healthy body. 

The other problem is the intestines. A hernia of this sort could cause a blockage. If that happens, unless immediate measures are taken, it could be life threatening.

If it were a younger person, surgery would probably already be scheduled. That’s the best way to prevent either outcome. The problem is that our elder is 87 and in poor health. Surgery could kill her. It could also cause the dementia to get worse.

This is an area where careful consideration of all possible outcomes is required. A discussion between her and her doctor has given us the answer for right now. No surgery; just hope that none of the above happens. It is far too risky to operate.

That doesn’t mean it’s the answer for everyone. The reason I’m writing this is to point out that these things can happen, and it’s best to be prepared for any potential surgery. It’s important to know what questions to ask as well as who should be asked. We used a variety of sources to make our decision, and I recommend them to you.

First, naturally, is to talk to her doctor(s). They know the medical history and can give sound advice. We also spoke with a nurse, who agreed with the doctor. Third, we went on-line. I am very picky about the resources I trust on the internet. Anyone can say anything. There are a few sites I can recommend.

These include Medscape, Medline, Mayo Clinic, Pubmed and the University of Maryland School of Complementary Medicine. Others are good backups, but only if I know from other sites that the information is accurate. Those are WebMD, RXlist and Wisegeek. There are a few others, but I tend to check them against proven sources first.

The information on these sites can help you understand the condition, what to ask the doctors and which decision to make. However, I trust the doctors involved the most; they are most familiar with the patient.