January 12, 2012
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Alrighty then (as Jim Carrey said in one of his movies) I mention change and the next thing I know it feels like it's raining fifty cent pieces and I have neither an umbrella or a bucket. An umbrella to protect myself from the sting would be nice but if I have to be pelted by 'change' then a bucket would be nice, at least I could benefit from the pain...lol. I came home after my counseling session, Thursday, to find that my mom was not feeling well and I had to call 911. She was looking very pale, was cold and clammy to the touch, was shaky and had a bout of the dry heaves. When the EMT(s) arrived, after checking her stats, they immediately hooked her up to a machine to shock her heart. I felt so sorry for my mother. Although the EMT(s) were very gentle in their manor they told her that what they were about to do was going to hurt, but it was necessary to get her heart beat regulated. She shook her head, in the affirmative, and they proceeded, at which time, she jerked, screamed and then sobbed inconsolably. I held onto her feet, (the only part of her frail little body I had access to) rubbing them gently while trying to calm her. It seemed to help but just as she relaxed they informed her they had to do it again. My heart broke for her. She looked pitiful and helpless and it tore me up knowing they had to hurt her again. After the second shock they got her in the ambulance and took her to the hospital. I followed in my car, Keith said he felt well enough to be alone for a while, and urged me to be with my Mom. It was determined that she was in Afib/Aflutter and was given medicine to help regulate the rhythm. By the time I was allowed to see her she was looking much better, acting like herself and was even able to find humor in her situation. However, she was still not in full sinus rhythm. Speaking of humor, after I left, my brother was teasing my mom about the socks she was wearing, which were pink and striped. He pulled the covers off of her feet and commented that the last time he saw socks like hers they were sticking out from under a house (Wizard of Oz). She started laughing and evidently her laughter had a positive affect on her heart. The nurse commented when he came into the room that her heart was back in sinus rhythm and asked when it had happened. My sister told him about my brother joking with her and he said that was probably what put her heart back on track. Thank God for a sense of humor, it can break through tension, fear, sadness and anger and, it seems, have a profound affect on a person's health.
Fast forward to the following morning. I called the hospital and, upon speaking with her nurse and asking how my mother was doing, was informed that she was doing terrible. Well, after getting my heart out of my throat, I immediately asked what she meant. Was her health declining or was there something else going on? The nurse said, in a very exasperated voice, they had to restrain my (110lb) mother because she kept pulling her IV out and was also being very nasty. My first thought was if I could have reached through the phone they would have had to restrain me from doing something that I'm sure I would have regretted. That nurse needs to learn how NOT to frighten people. Don't get me wrong, my mom can be aggravating, I have been on the receiving end many times, and though there is never a good reason to treat people rudely, she has Alzheimer's and they were well aware of that fact. I then let the nurse know I would be there asap. So, without benefit of a shower I slapped on a minimum amount of warpaint, didn't want to frighten anyone on the heart floor, I figured they all had probably been shocked enough recently, and headed out the door. Within 10 minutes I was at my mom's bedside. She was fit to be tied (literally), oh that's right she already was, as a matter of fact I was pretty sure at any moment her head might spin 360 degrees. It took me quite awhile to calm her down and get her to understand why she was restrained but even then she was not exactly Miss Congeniality. I later found out the doctor had ordered a sedative and she does not react well to this type of medication. A little while later my sister arrived and the two of us joked, hours past, the drug wore off and my tiny little mom no longer seemed to need an exorcist.
After being in the hospital for four days she is now home peacefully sleeping in her own bed. There will be therapy to regain her strength and hopefully she will get back to at least the state she was in before the heart issue made itself known. The next few days will be difficult. She received a shot of Heparin before leaving the hospital, which has the potential to make any bleeding injury much more serious. To say I am not concerned would be a lie but I am hopeful that we will all transition with a modicum of discomfort. As I've said before, life goes on and we will get through this latest setback, hopefully, while retaining our sense of humor. It seems that laughter really is the best medicine.