Monday, May 17, 2010
With the medical staff caring for Dad aware that the blood thinners can not be started unless we are notified beforehand and his health has been stabilized, I took Saturday and Sunday to do some much needed cleaning around his house.
Mom and Dad have lived in this particular home for over 30 years. They were married over 50 when she passed, so the amount of STUFF is overwhelming. We open cabinets and drawers and are amazed at cards that were received over 50 years ago that have been saved. Pictures are in drawers that recount their years in college, their immigration to the US, and the many years thereafter. We don't even know where to begin cleaning, straightening or packing. It takes us 3 hours just to clean out 4 drawers throwing away cards and organizing pictures.
My daughter comes across a photo of my Mom and Dad I've never seen before. They are standing on a pier, their faces so young, dressed in trenchcoats arm in arm. When we finally come to a stopping point and make our daily visit to Dad, he is so surprised by our discovery of the picture. It was their wedding photo! He said he didn't even know how they paid for the picture because their entire wedding ceremony cost $ 5.00..it was all they had. He admires the picture and so appreciative that we are taking the time to declutter as much as we can.
Sunday night the hospitalist comes in to discuss the cardio version procedure that will take place at 9 am the next day. They will put him to sleep just as they do with a colonoscopy, and it will take about 30 minutes tops. He checks Dad's swelling in his lower extremities which are looking better but have a long way to reduce before looking like a normal leg. He does notice Dad's dinner tray which is uneaten and begins to lecture him on his not eating and keeping his strength up. Dad just tells him he hasn't had much of an appetite for weeks now which was one reason he was puzzled by his 35 pound weight gain and the bloating in his belly which is attributed to the CHF by the doctor.
Monday morning rolls around, and my daughter and I arrive at the hospital at 7:30 am. We want to be by his side as much as we can. They wheel him down to the cardiac unit at 7:50, hook him up with all kinds of wires and they begin monitoring his heart rate. 121...171...155...his resting heart rate is all over the place. I am puzzled that he didn't feel his heart racing like it was, especially since 148 is my max for working out and he was elevating beyond that. No wonder he was feeling so bad, but he just didn't know what was going on. His poor little heart is working SO HARD
As they spray his throat to deaden it for the camera that will go down and check his heart for clots and functionability, he cracks a joke which makes his attending staff laugh hysterically. That's Dad for you..always a joke for ANY occassion. They ask if we want to stay and witness the procedure. A part of me does want to see it, but a part of me doesn't. I'm just not sure if I can take seeing the shock to his body, so I give him a last kiss, and tell him how much I love him. Everyone assures me he will be fine..there was no need for the tears. But you just never know, and I'm not ready to say my last goodbye..call me selfish!
20 minutes goes by, and out comes the nurse all smiles. It's done she says. Really, and it's okay? Yep his heart is working normally. Where there were no p waves in his heart beat, I look at the screen and I see the little P waves and then the heart beat..WOOHOO..and his resting heart rate is now 68.
How amazing modern medicine can be when it leaves a person like new or functioning like the body is intended.
Friday, May 14, 2010
As much as I would like to say I am embellishing the events of the past two weeks with my Dad, I have to sadly admit that they happened as I recount. I am mortified by the fact that some people who are in the healthcare field really don't need to be caring for the sick. And at times, "practicing medicine" is exactly what some doctors are doing..practicing.
My flight arrives and my middle brother is at the airport waiting to take myself and my oldest daugther to Dad's house. As we drive across town, I ask him how Dad has been and looks and he says he's okay. He had not seen him for 3-4 weeks prior to the hospialization and since Dad was hospitalized on Thursday, he had not gone to visit him since Saturday. I am a little disturbed since he didn't go and check on him after the catheter incident on Monday night. I hold my tongue and am very anxious to get a vehicle so I can see Dad for myself.
When we arrive, I see that Dad's house has not been taken care of. The trees are overgrown, the weeds are growing up through the rocks in the yard, and it becomes evident the housekeeper has not been doing her job. I have said all along that the house is just too much for him to care for since Mom's passing and that he needs to downsize. He believes my Mom is still there. I have told him she is in his heart but not in the house. How romantic but sad at the same time......
My brother drops us off, and we get into one of Dad's vehicles..the truck...which won't start! Why in the world would he have 3 vehicles and not maintain them?! Guess the same reason he has a huge house that is looking the way it does! We go into the garage and get the convertible started and off we go to see him.
When we arrive at the hospital, Dad is talking with his female friend Gloria. She is a really nice woman who he met at the Widowed Person's Association meeting. They go to dinner together, go to the movies together, and just enjoy each other's company. He stresses to me all the time it's just a friendship and nothing else. "He was born once, married once, and will die once." It's okay with me, besides he really doesn't have to explain ANYTHING. The last thing I want for him is to be sad and lonely.
As we talk, I notice his catheter bag is still a little pinkish which right away tells me he is still bleeding a bit from the injury. Other than that he looks like himself, just a bit grayer than what he was the last time he visited our home. He is alert, joking, and seems happy that we are there. I pull back his sheets to see his legs that look like tree stumps! His little feet look like logs...how did the Physcians Assistant from his old doctor's office not see these things 3 weeks prior?!!! How did this go on so long without someone doing something?! How could he neglect his OWN HEALTH?! With my profession, I can't wrap my mind around how negligent he could be to his own health!
The cardiologist comes in and discusses Dad's health issues. He informs us that he in fact DOES have CHF...why the hospitalist would have told me different on the phone 5 days before floors me . The upper portion of his heart is not working correctly...actually it is just fluttering (Atrial fibrulation) which causes the lower portion of his heart to just remain open and not pump the blood out forcefully. Therefore no blood is getting to the extremities which is why his legs look like they do..the edemia and the purple color. They need to schedule a procedure called CARDIO VERSION which involves them putting Dad to sleep and then shocking the heart so it will begin to beat like it should.
Dad has another temper tantrum in the room and says he isn't doing anything until he has a chance to research things. NOW he wants to research things but didn't take the time to do it to PREVENT this from happening. I just want to smack him! The doctor doesn't want to upset him, so he says we can look at doing it in the next couple weeks. But we have to get him back on the blood thinners soon to avoid risk of a stroke. I begin to question him on the Coumadin and he says they will have a pharmacist come in to discuss the risks with us which may put us at ease. (NOT!)
No pharmacist visit by the time I leave at 10 pm Wednesday night. Dad isn't eating well and looks tired so we decide to let him get some sleep and head to his house. At 11 pm Dad calls to say they came in and started the Coumadin again. I tell him that he hasn't even stopped bleeding from the injury and why did they do it?! He doesn't know, so I call the nurses station to find out who ordered it and why. She says the Hospitalist wanted to start him back on it for fear of clots but I explain that he was still bleeding from the cath and could bleed out, to no avail.
Thursday morning I get to the hospital very early. When I walk in the room, Dad's bag is RED! He looks pale as a sheet and is very hostile. He even seems a bit loopy. As the day transpires, he is bleeding more and more..in the bag..on his bed....on the floor when he is trying to get up to walk a bit. He is getting weaker and weaker. Finally by 5 pm, I tell them to STOP THE COUMADIN. Can they not use their common sense and see what it's doing to him. I tell the nurses they are not to start it again unless they talk to me first! Each day thereafter when I leave, I have to look them dead in the eye and tell them the same thing...NO COUMADIN UNLESS I AM NOTIFIED.
Friday I wake up early and say a prayer for a better day. It seems that we go from bad to worse with just the one day we had been in town. When we get to the hospital, Dad is SO MUCH BETTER. His friends even comment how bad he was the day before... yeah blood loss will do that to you! One of Dad's friends tell him that an acquaintance is needing a pacemaker and is having the procedure done the next day. How could he neglect his heart and wait on the Cardio Version that he desperately needs? Who was smarter....Dad or his pacemaker friend? That was the slap of reality Dad needed even though both myself and his granddaugther had been begging him all day to schedule the procedure. By that evening, there was no more arguing about the Cardio Version. Dad wants to get it scheduled now that he understands the procedure, understands how they put him to sleep and had a little peer pressure to boot.....PRAISE THE LORD!
The cardiologist comes in that evening to say that they have stopped the Coumadin because Dad has the propensity to bleed ( YA THINK?! ), so they will just have him on an aspirin a day until they can get the catheter situation handled. Cardio Version will be set for 9 am Monday morning. I feel of sense of relief, but little did I know that God will be testing my strength in the days to follow.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
I want to thank everyone for your well wishes for both me and my Dad. He isn't out of the woods yet, so prayers are SO appreciated. My last two weeks have been totally unbelieveable, so I thought I would blog about these 14 horrific days in hopes of helping others to learn from my experience and maybe get some help from others who have dealt with the same issues our family is dealing with. THANKS AGAIN!!! MY SPARKFRIENDS ARE SOME OF THE BEST!
Three weeks ago Friday, I received a dreaded phone call, "Dad is in the hospital." My heart sunk and tears began knowing that with his age, my time with him will soon be drawing to a close here on Earth.
After making several phone calls and not being able to find information out since he didn't list me on his contact form ( the line was too short he says later), I finally get a nurse in Cardiac ICU that verifies he's there and will take the phone into him so we can speak.
My Dad will never admit when he is sick or needs help. When I ask what's wrong, he says nothing and he feels fine. I tell him to tell the nurse it's okay to talk to me and hand her the phone so she can explain what is going on. Barbara, advises me that Dad has CHF, congestive heart failure.
My mind flashes back to a week prior when in our phone conversation he tells me he hasn't been eating much but yet had gained about 10 pounds. I ask about his blood sugar and he says it's testing out fine. I tell him to call his doctor and he relays that he has an appointment with him the following week and would just wait until then. I tell him that's not a good idea, but he says he doesn't want to bother him and they wouldn't get him in any sooner anyway.
Thankfully when his new doctor sees him and the weight gain from fluid ( 35 pounds to be exact), he has him ambulanced to the hospital. Dad was here for 2 weeks.
With the diagnosis of CHF, comes a slew of drugs. The first thing they want to start him on is the blood thinner Coumadin. I have two friends who lost parents when the doctors started them on Coumadin, so I am VERY leery of the drug. I talk to his doctor/hospitalist who is caring for my Dad. The story that I was told from day 1 has now changed. He doesn't have CHF, he was diagnosed with Pulmonary pressure in the lungs, and seems put out that I am questioning care and drug therapy they are giving my loved one.
I get off the phone making it CLEAR I want to speak with the Cardiologist when he arrives. Now I am TOTALLY confused since the diagnosis has changed and feel I really need to fly back home to attend to matters. Dad is adamant I do not come. Nothing is wrong and i would just cause trouble. I would NEVER cause trouble...ever
...only when it's necessary anyway No call from the doctors and the diagnosis is changing from day to day and the Coumadin is started for fear Dad will throw a blood clot.
Monday night comes around and Dad calls to tell me he did something dumb. They had inserted a catheter to help drain fluids from his body. He was trying to get out of bed to close the shade and yanked on the cath. He layed there ALL NIGHT in bed not telling anybody because he didn't want to "bother them!" So when they discover him in the morning, there is blood all over the bed and the floor. I just wonder did no one see it before the morning time when the nurses do their rounds? And obvisously the blood thinner can't be helping matters at this point but the drug is still continued!
Tuesday I know I HAVE to go and see what is going on. Dad has a temper tantrum on the phone and says if I show up he will walk out of the hospital. My feelings are hurt at this point because I don't understand why he wouldn't want me there. I joke back and tell him that it's too windy there in our home town and his hospital gown would never stay closed if he did that. He argues and argues threatening a few more silly things, but I finally tell him there's nothing more important than me being there when he needs me. He realizes he has lost this particular battle and there is no further arguing about my flight.
Let the drama begin.......
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
If you all know me, I NEVER EVER would intentionally want to hurt anyone's feelings, so let me just start out by saying if I TRULY did not care about a person's well being and health, I would not take the time to gather information and share it with you concerning the new way to lose weight. I KNOW how hard weight loss is, I TOTALLY understand the frustrations that come along with losing 5-200 pounds. I just hate for ANYONE to suffer any damage to their bodies that may not become apparent for 5-40 years down the line in the form of cancer, heart disease, stroke, or whatever else the body may do to turn on us for the abuse we put it through.
Recently there has been discussion among my clients as well as on some of my Spark teams about the new "trend" in weight loss. It consists of eating 500 calories a day and injecting the man made hormone HCG that is naturally produced within the female body during pregnancy.
No human body is meant to function and survive healthily on 500 calories a day without damage occurring. It takes a minimum of 1000 calories just to have the heart pumping normally, the liver and kidneys filtering correctly, and the brain functioning fully. Heck it takes the body 400 calories to function normally at night when you are sleeping!!!
When reducing your calories below 800 calories, this is termed a "starvation diet." Some of the side effects of a starvation diet are:
Lack of energy
Catabolysis is the process of the body breaking down its own muscle and tissue to keep the nervous system and heart functioning. This will lead to permanent damage to the body.
Loss of vital nutrients that are absent from the diet are not available for the body to regenerate (WHAT YOU EAT TODAY MAKES UP WHO YOU ARE TOMORROW) This vitamin deficiency leads to diarrhea, skin rashes, hair loss, acne, and heart failure.
Atrophy (weakness) of the stomach occurs and the sense of hunger is lost. This is NOT a good thing because what is occurring is the manipulation of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Without ghrelin naturally produced in our bodies, our stomach will not work as it should telling us we are hungry and then the ghrelin tells the brain to release leptin, our fullness hormone. The manipulation of these hormones causes havoc and the body will NOT work as God intended it to do so. With the absence of the hunger hormone ghrelin also comes the lack of Human Growth Hormone in our bodies. This hormone is what is prevalent in our teen years. If you want to look younger, take it from this perimenopausal woman, you DON'T want to do anything to cause your body to stop producing HGH. And without ghrelin, we don't get our deep REM sleep which is when the body gets the best shot of HGH.
Now if starvation of our body isn't scary enough, the side affects that the drug may cause are:
Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome: It is rare but is life threatening to the individual. Immediate treatment from your doctor is suggested if you experience severe pelvic pain, swelling of the hands and feet, stomach pain, shortness of breath, urinating less, nausea or vomiting.
With the individual self injecting the hormone risk of a blood clot is a concern. If you experience redness at the injection site, tingling in the extremities, dizziness, or severe headache, seek medical attention immediately.
Men are at risk of prostate cancer since the injection does cause swelling of the prostate. Increase of the breasts are also a side affect so look out MAN BOOBIES
Suffering from depression, feelings of restlessness and irritability, water weight gain, headaches, and skin rashes are all some side affects that users have experienced.
If you currently or have suffered from the following disorders, HCG is not recommended for your weight loss choice:
Thyroid or adrenal disorders
Hormone related cancers...or any cancers that may be hereditary. EVERYONE has free radicals in their bodies. Those free radicals just lay dormant waiting for the one thing that is going to fuel their growth. So when the cancer starts out pin head size and doubles it's no biggee. But when your cancer is baseball size and doubles......
Lastly, in 1975 the FDA has required labeling and advertising of HCG to state:
" HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or "normal" distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets."
I put this information out here for you to educate yourself in making the BEST choice for YOU and YOUR health. I do not offer any judgement if this is your way of going about losing weight.
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