Tuesday, October 9, 2007

This could be really good or it could be really bad...

Mom hasn't been feeling well for several days. She is extremely low on energy. She said it takes every ounce of energy she has just to lift her arm. Mom has a leaking heart valve which deprives her body of oxygen. Her heart is too weak to be operated on to repair the leak, there is not a cardiac surgeon anywhere who will touch her. Because of this she is supposed to use her oxygen machine almost all of the time.

Today is dad's 73rd birthday. I called him this morning to wish him a happy birthday. He told me that Mom is at home still sleeping. He informed me that Mom's cardiologist wants to implant a heart defibrilator, kind of like a pacemaker. The doctor is hoping this will help her "feel better". The doctor is waiting for the yay or nay from Mom as to whether or not she wants to do it. Dad said she wants to do it. This is scarey for me to think because in the past we've been told that she could not tolerate being put under anesthesia, her heart is too weak. I asked dad if they would do a local anesthetic or would they have to put her under to do the surgery? He wasn't sure but he assured me that it's a simple procedure. I'm not so sure. But then I think, what does she have to lose? Mom is so sick and she has no quality of life the way she is right now.

A little background information on Mom's health. At the age of 40 she had her first of three bypass heart surgeries. Her first one was a double bypass. We were told that she would not live to her 42nd birthday. My sister and I were ages 12 & 15 (about). Talk about devestating news! Hospice was assigned to our family and they counseled us for months. In the end Mom proved the doctors wrong. She survived and is now 70! She fought hard to make it this far!

It hasn't been an easy going 30 years for her though, or for us either with her diagnosis of coronary artery disease. Over the past 30 years she has endured 2 more bypass heart surgeries, numerous angioplasties, several stents, diagnosis of the following conditions & diseases... Multiple Sclerosis, diabetes for which she is almost completely insulin dependant, osteoperosis, osteoarthritis, rhuemetoid arthritis, fibromialgia, her leaky heart valve for which I cannot remember the medical term, and now, because of all of these conditions she has developed vascular dementia or alzheimer's disease. All of this is terrible but the latter of the diseases is, of course, the worst of all. How can you help someone feel positive when they are slowly losing all of their memories.

Back to the heart defibrilator surgery... I have mixed feelings about it. I so much want her to feel better but I'm so scared that the surgery will be too traumatic for her. The cardiologist wants to do the suregery right away. Not sure if that means this week, next week, next month????

How can such a wonderful, sweet, loving woman endure all of this? Why has she had to endure all of this?
I suppose all I can do is wait and see.

A PERSONAL NOTE WRITTEN BY MY MOTHER dated 8/23/99 to her neurologist (I found this while helping my parents clean and organize their home office)...

My neck is still very painful. I wore the brace, backward, for two weeks as you asked me to do. It caused me to have headaches and made my neck hurt worse. Since I have taken it off I do see some improvement in the neck but it still is extremely painful when I turn my head to the right or left. The pain radiates out into my shoulders, down my back along the spine, and onto my collarbones - especially the right side. When I tilt my head back to drink or put drops in my eyes, it is painful.

I have stopped carrying my purse on my shoulder.
It is too painfulfor me to wear any but the lightest weight necklaces. They make my neck hurt. It makes my neck hurt to wear a chef's apron around my neck. I fold the apron in half and tie it on.
I have pain behind my eyes frequently. Mostly it is my left eye and when it hurts, it hurts.
My feet are numb all the time now. There are times when my feet feel as if they are burning. {hand written to the side} but they also feel very cold.
There is pain down the back of my right leg.
When I walk I develop pain in my hips that make it difficult to continue walking. It hurts and the area around my hips feels very tired. According to the Dr. Lehmann there is no arthritis in my hips or neck.
I feel my thought processes are slow and sluggish. It is hard for me to figure things out. I cannot figure tips, split the checks when I am out to lunch with friends. Sometimes when I am reading directions, I cannot understand what I need to do. It does make me feel dumb. I used to be able to do those things with no problem.
Sometimes my vision is so weird. It seems I am operating in a fog. I cannot see well and I cannot really tell what I am seeing. It is as if things are just not computing.
Why is this happening? I feel as if I am losing my ability to function on my own. That is scary!
{the rest of this is hand written on the bottom of her note}
Sleep at night difficult - OK in day time naps, etc.
Pain in neck wakes me up at night.
It is hard for me to write - I cannot write well anymore. I just kinda scrawl whatever comes out.
Pain comes in my calves after I walk a short distance. Mostly though it is in my right calf.

(Photo: Flame Run blowing our own Christmas ornaments November 2005 - Mom & me)

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