Monday, May 7, 2012

The Will to Fight

Hello there, poor nearly-abandoned blog!  I really didn't mean to do this to you.  I had the best of intentions.

The thing is, my mother wound up hospitalized last week, and there was a lot to deal with.  It seems she went into a-fib and didn't know it until a routine doctor's appointment last Monday the 30th.  Her GP heard the heartbeat, pushed her into a wheelchair, and took her across the street to the hospital where she stayed until Friday at 6:00pm.  They can't get her heart back into its normal rhythm.  She's constantly in a-fib and is now on coumadin (which is also used for rat poison, did you know that?) to help prevent her from throwing a clot to her brain.  She has congestive heart failure, which probably won't kill her before her COPD does.  They can't shock her back into a normal rhythm because her COPD couldn't withstand it.

She's a complicated health case, most of it because she has a long history of smoking.  She's 75 years old, which isn't as old as it once was, but seems to be getting pretty close her limit.  I'm trying to adjust to that concept, so pardon me if I sound cavalier about it.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  It's just that I need to be able to say it until I can accept it.  This is my mommy.  My sister, my children, and myself will never be ready to let her go, but we are learning to accept that she does not want any sort of extraordinary measures taken to save her.  We spent hours with various doctors before her release going over the what-if situations and filling in all of her living will and medical directive stuff.  She doesn't even want CPR because of the diminishing returns in people with COPD - odds are she wouldn't survive it, and if she did, her quality of life would be minimal.

How long does she have?  No one knows exactly.  The cardiologist and pulmonologist both say "she has a good while.  Probably a few years.  Who knows?"  She looks small, pale, and tired.  In spite of that, she's her feisty self, which is good.  She's fighting with my sister about lawn sprinklers, so she's healthy enough to do battle.

How am I?  Well, the notion that my RA might respond negatively to stress has certainly been proven.  I can barely walk.  Can't get closed toe shoes on to save my soul.  My hands are stiff and sore, my ankles feel like knives are being driven into them, and my feet are just horrendously painful.  No one else gets it, though.  There are way too many other things to be concerned about, so I suck it up and soldier on and try not to complain because what good is it really going to do?  I see Dr. L on Wednesday.  Twice weekly Enbrel isn't getting it, but would anything when I'm this stressed out?

I've missed too much work to stay home and wallow in self-pity.  It's raining and would have liked to stay in bed and read or knit.  Not today.


  1. Snow, I'm sorry to hear of all the troubles the world seems to be heaping on you all at once. Indeed, more troubles never makes any of the existing ones any better. I suspect your mom's doctors are right and she will have more time than it seems right now. She is indeed feisty and strong-willed. I'll keep you and her in my thoughts as well as the rest of your family.

  2. I'm sorry to hear about your mom's health troubles and even sorrier to hear that the stress of worrying about her impacts your health so much. I'll be thinking of you.

  3. I am so sorry to read this but I truly do understand. My Mom had COPD and also did the DNR forms as well. She lived into her 80's but had oxygen the last 3 years of her life. What did her in wasn't the COPD but a broken hip. My heart does go out to you. Our loss is still fresh in my mind but I always carry my Mom with me by remembering the good times and I always try to do little good deeds in recognition of those that I have lost. It makes me feel better anyway :-) Just try to enjoy all the time you all do have together and try to create as many good memories as possible.