Friday, September 30, 2011

Carry on

     So here is the deal. Not sure how Both Chris and I heard the same thing but got it so messed up. The last we heard was that a clot had traveled to Mom's lung and caused issues. I will try to explain this but its complicated and hard to understand. Yes, a clot did travel to her lungs and yes it caused an issue. When a clot hits the lungs , it shatters, kind of like dropping a glass and it breaking into hundreds of shards. Those shards take up space, filling the lungs , causing pulmonary issues. This is what happened on Wednesday. Here is what we misunderstood. The clot was probably a piece that broke off of one that is still in her heart. The shards in her lungs are responding to the blood thinners and aren't the major issue right now. Its the one still in her heart. .
     If there are any positives , here they are : The clot in her heart is responding to the blood thinners also. The clot is situated in the right atrium. Had it been in the left side of the heart the clot that separated would have traveled to her brain and caused a devastating stroke.If this clot dislodges then its only path is the lungs. I am not saying that is a good thing, her lungs are recovering from the last one.
     The plan is this, they carry on with the current course of treatment.Going in and getting it out is way to risky for her. To do that, they would have to discontinue Plavix and aspirin that is protecting the new stent from clotting . The last thing she needs is more clots forming and moving around. There is always the possibility that this one could dislodge and go straight to her lung. If that happens they can in an emergency situation use a clot busting drug but that comes with risks too. There really isn't a bright side to any of it. Its simply a sit and wait to see what happens situation. Dr Hoyle , my new hero, has allowed her to once again get out the bed and sit in a chair. No walking around just yet, but at least she isn't flat on her back in that uncomfortable bed. We can't wrap her in bubble wrap and not let her move around at all. She has been in CICU almost 7 days now and there isn't even an estimated date for a move . Its strictly day by day and that is ok by me.
     Yesterday was a bad mental health day for me. From the moment Chris called me and she was being loaded into an ambulance til yesterday morning I had pretty much held it together. I gave my mother a bath yesterday morning and it was the most anxiety ridden 20 minutes of my life. She had been told to be as still and quiet as possible and even a sponge bath requires movement. It came time to change her hospital gown and I couldn't figure out how to get it around all the tubes and wires . After that experience I went to my van and had my first breakdown of the day. The first but not the last. I had several more that were seemingly random. After a day of crying jags and some Bible reading I feel much better. I have had zero meltdowns today . I can't predict tomorrow though.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Don't get too comfortable

     So I guess I done went and did exactly what the doctor said not to do. He told us just Monday not to get too comfortable . After Mom having 2 solid good days I had gotten too comfortable. Today was a bumpy day . It started out wonderful. When I got there Mom was awake and feeling good. They were weaning her off of her oxygen and the plan was to take out her catheter , get her up and moving a little, and then move her out of CICU.She ate breakfast, had the catheter taken out, and gave herself a sponge bath. We were told that she was then ready to take her on a little walk.
     Chris took on the job of pushing the IV cart while I walked beside her holding her hand. She was doing so well for about 2 minutes and then she swayed toward me and we came to a halt. She wanted to keep going but I made her lean against the wall. She had beads of sweat on her upper lip and was pasty white. I asked her how she felt and she said nauseous . Chris took over holding her up while I sprinted down the hall for her nurse and something with wheels. Upon hooking her back up to her monitors it was apparent that her oxygen levels had dropped dramatically. Even after a few minutes hooked up in a rested state, she couldn't maintain a satisfactory level.
     Within about 15 minutes her room was flooded with staff, each doing something different but all working together. Let me take this opportunity to say that they are AMAZING. Within the next 15 minutes she had had a chest x ray, an echocardiogram, and was on her way to CT. Her doctor said that his fear was a blood clot in the lung. Our worst fears were realized very soon. Now our major concern isn't the heart but this intruder in her lung. She has blood thinners on board and is not allowed out of the bed again til further notice. Blood thinners are most often given to hear attack patients but in Mom's case her heart leaked blood Saturday night and put her into cardiac arrest so blood thinners is risky for her at the moment . They don't want the bleeding to start again . We were told today that she had had pretty much every complication that can be associated with a heart attack so my prayer is that this is the last one. This two steps forward and one step back thing is scary. I am drained. I am physically, emotionally, mentally , and gas money bankrupt. The only thing keeping me going is my faith that God is gonna make this all ok.I am positive about that and also positive that I will not get too comfortable any time soon.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Wait and see

     My world was turned upside down on Saturday and has yet to flip back over. At 1:32 pm my brother called me to tell me he was at Mom's house and she was being loaded into an ambulance . She was very sick and having chest pain. Once loaded up , her info was electronically sent to Hugh Chatham who ordered them to take her straight to Forsyth because she was having a heart attack. Upon arrival she was taken straight to the cath lab and had a stent put into her coronary artery which was 100% blocked. She had a major heart attack and there was massive damage done to the right side of her heart. It was after 4pm before we could see her. She was alert and talking. They had put in a temporary pacemaker and she was ordered not to move her right leg or raise her head.
     She remained stable for the rest of the evening and we were told we could leave if we wanted since they will not allow overnight stays. Chris was going to stay for awhile so I left and drove home telling him to call me if anything changed. I was home for a grand total of about 30 minutes before my cell phone rang and my brother said to come back because she had just coded. Fluid had built up around her heart and put enough pressure on it to make it stop.Mom woke up to a woman sitting on top of her giving her CPR compressions and a needle sticking out of her chest to draw off fluid. She was side awake as they cut her and inserted a chest tube . I stayed til 1 am and then made my way home for the second time that day .
     She had another episode early Sunday morning where her heart rate dropped dangerously low but meds shot into the IV immediately brought it back up. She has been stable for more than 24 hours now which is a very positive thing. We were told not to get too comfortable. She still isn't out of the woods quite yet . When there has been this much damage done to the heart its just a wait and see kind of thing. Having said that, the Dr said this morning that considering the damage done that she was doing remarkably well to have kept a good blood pressure and heart rate with minimum meds. They removed the pacemaker this morning and when I left this afternoon she was sitting up and eating a little lunch.Up til 1:30 today she had not been allowed to even lift her head so she is way more comfortable now that she can move a little more.
     Driving back and forth to Winston and sitting for hours in a hospital is taking its toll but I don't feel comfortable leaving her for long periods of time just yet. If I could , I would be there 24/7 . This is the woman who gave birth to me and has taken care of me for my whole life and now I just want to take care of her as much as I possibly can.If she needs someone to spoon ice chips into her mouth or apply chapstick to parched lips then I want to be there to do it. I am thanking God for letting her stay with us and for this precious time with her. I am praying that God lets us her stay with us for a long time to come but I trust him if that is not in his plan. I love this woman I call mama and can only hope and pray that this was just God's way of slowing her down and forcing her to take better care of herself than she has in the past. Guess I'll just have to wait and see.