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Old 03-04-2010, 07:15 PM   #1
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Just needing to vent

I think I just need to write this stuff down.

Early in February, my 93 year-old mother was dignosed with atrial fibrillation. (she has congestive heart failure, had a triple bypass 8-9 years ago and has a pacemaker) She was quite short-of-breath and her arms & legs were so weak. They changed one of her meds & scheduled her for a cardioversion for 2/19. A few days after starting the new med, she developed diarrhea. She had the cardioversion done and still battled with the diarrhea. (she stopped taking that med) It got so bad, that we took her to the ER on 2/21. She was admitted and she's been there since then!

She was dehydrated & her potassium levels were "dangerously high", so they pumped her full of fluids. So then she got a fluid overload. Her lower legs & feet swelled up something awful! Then on Tuesday (3/2) when a nurse and an aide were getting her back into bed, one of them bumped her right lower leg and it split open. There was a lot of fluid, very little blood. Her own doctor saw it about 24 hours after it happened and called in a surgeon to look at it. The surgeon has ordered a "wound vac" placed on it to suction off more fluid.

She says she's so weak. One day she's kinda chipper, the next she sleeps a lot. We were hoping to bring her home, but she has agreed to go to Rehab for a few weeks. She can't stand on her own, so I can't manage her at home. I need her to be able to transfer from her bed, to wheelchair, chair.

I work early mornings, then I go to the hospital, then I come home and go back for dinner. Occasionally, another family member will take the dinner "shift". One of my sisters usually goes in the AM, hoping to catch the doctors on their rounds.

I thought it was getting difficult, having her at home - getting up with her during the night - always making sure someone else was with her when we went out. We even hired someone to come in when I worked. This is so much harder! I'm hoping that once she's at Rehab, that I will relax a little.

The big guilt for me: she is also "malnourished". We knew she was losing weight, but it didn't occur to me that she was eating so little. She's eating really well at the hospital. I hope she keeps that up.

And at 93, I wonder how much time she has left.

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Old 03-04-2010, 07:25 PM   #2
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It's tough when our parents get old. Prayers with you, your mom & your entire family.
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Old 03-04-2010, 07:57 PM   #3
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I know it's so hard when our loved one's health fails and they are so frail.
It's such a rollercoaster ride and can wear on you. Hugs to you and your mom!
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Old 03-07-2010, 06:18 AM   #4
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You know it is so hard to watch them age and lose their lust for life..... She has lived a good life up to 93. I am a firm believer in that once they start doing surgeries so late in life so many things can go wrong and the body just does not heal as if we were 50......I also once had someone say to me that none of us are stamped with an expiration date so while it does not sound good for her now, she could rally, fall down and rally again.. It is not in our hands and hopefully she is in a skilled facility... I would be there when I could and just keep my eyes open.....you know what is best for her and speak up.. I learned that a while back with my husband.. I spoke up if something was not right..
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:40 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by minniecarousel View Post
The big guilt for me: she is also "malnourished". We knew she was losing weight, but it didn't occur to me that she was eating so little. She's eating really well at the hospital. I hope she keeps that up.
You have no need to feel guilty about this. Many if not most people with congestive heart failure are malnourished to some degree. Fluid builds up in the abdomen, pressing on organs inside and causing anorexia so that it's difficult to want to eat. The one thing she must do is follow a very low sodium diet, as sodium retains fluid. They probably have a nutritionist working with her. As some of the fluid comes off, she might get some of her appetite back, and they'll give her supplements. It might help to make some of her favorite foods (as long as they're low sodium) and heat them up in the hospital or rehab so she can enjoy them there. She'll also need to be careful with not drinking too much fluid. Hopefully things begin looking better for her.

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Old 03-28-2010, 12:01 AM   #6
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Well, she's here at home now. She gave Rehab two weeks, then developed pneumonia. She went back to the acute hosp for a coupla days, then came home with Hospice. It's tough doing it all for her. I never thought I'd see the day that I changed my mother's diaper.

My sister is supposed to be helping me. This was something we were going to do together. But she has bronchitis and may have pneumonia. She can't understand why our oldest sister isn't here, helping me.

I wish I had a crystal ball.......

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