The Parabola of Life

She’s dying.

8:14 AM, February 11 (6 days ago):
…I just got off the phone with the Falls Home. Mom fell or collapsed (not sure quite how to describe it) in the dining room this morning. The staff roused her and she was talking. They called the paramedics who are taking her to the hospital. They assume it is cardiac related — her blood pressure was slightly elevated. I will go over a little later this morning to check on her and report back. Meanwhile, let’s entrust her to the Lord’s strong and wise care.”

10:44 PM, February 11(6 days ago):
…I talked with the primary hospital care physician late this afternoon. He gave me all the time I wanted on the phone to ask questions and talk through mom’s situation.

While she is stable now and a-symptomatic, and while the EKG showed little change from the EKG they had on file from last year, the cardial blood work showed evidence that she did have a heart attack this morning. The doctor will not have a clearer idea about the exact severity of the heart attack until some add’l test results come back probably tomorrow. Given the nature of what mom is facing and given a certain degree of possibility of further heart failure (because of her age and her Alzheimers), the doctors wanted guidance on what kind of measures to take to care for her. Jim and I agreed that we should sign a DNR (Do Not Ressusitate) authorization, and we directed the doctors to supportive but non-invasive measure to respond to any further developments. (sigh)

Mom was pretty upset this afternoon while I was visitng her. She didn’t know where she was, couldn’t understand that she was in the hospital, couldn’t remember she’d collapsed and been brought to the hospital in an ambulance, kept jerking the oxygen hose off her face, kept trying to shove tissues into the non-existent pockets of her hospital gown, swatted the hand of the nurse who patted her arm, and generally kept telling me how cruel I was for keeping her imprisoned in this place. So, the nurses were going to check with the doc about upping some of her sedatives to get the old girl to calm down…. which apparently had happened by the time the doctor called me late this afternoon…

…Thank you for your prayers.

8:39 PM, February 12 (5 days ago)
“It’s Sunday 8:30pm and I went over to see mom this afternoon. She was a lot calmer today. She was so wired yesterday, I’m sure they had to get out the tranquilizer gun to get her to be still.

I did not talk with the doctor today, but I did go over mom’s charts for the day. She had some more chest pains last night, but none today. It looks like she’ll be in the hospital for at least one more day unless some more symptoms flare up.

One bit of concern — she will have to be evaluated before being readmitted to the Falls Home. The evaluation is mostly related to mobility and self-awareness. My hunch it that she will be fine and show enough physical stamina and flexibility as well as mental ability for
self-maintenance (can brush her teeth, dress herself, take herself to the bathroom, etc.) to enable her to return to the Falls Home… but we’ll see.

Thanks for your continued prayers.

7:22 PM, February 13 (4 days ago)
“All was quiet today with mom. She reported no chest pains, and nothing alarming showed up on any of the heart monitors… which apparently she managed to keep attached all day. No small miracle.

The doctor will give her another evaluation tomorrow as will the Falls Home to determine whether her independent mobility is significantly changed.

It’s likely the doctor will prescribe nitroglicerin for her heart.

She slept a lot today for which the nursing staff was grateful.

And… that’s the latest. I did not journey over to see her today since all seemed quiet.

Thanks for your continued prayers.”

5:09 PM, February 14 (3 days ago)
I just got off the phone with mom’s primary care doctor and he gave me an update on mom’s condition. He confirmed again that the episode on Sat was a heart attack. However, they are continuing to run blood tests and EKG’s to determine if the continuing chest pains are an extension of that intitial episode or if they are caused by other things like acid reflux, angina, etc. They won’t be able to come to any conclusions about that for another week after they draw more blood for testing.

Mom did have more chest pains this morning, and the doc gave her nitroglycerine to counter that again. If she is free of chest pain tomorrow, he hopes she can return to the Falls Home on Thursday.

If the Falls Home is not convinced that her physical condition fits within their guidelines for residential care, mom will remain in the hospital on “swing care.” This is a 10 day – 2 week transitional evaluation period at the end of which the Falls Home can reassess her. If they reaffirm their position that she is now beyond their ability to care for her, then we will need to move her to a nursing home.

So, I guess that means that, given the possibility that she might need to move, I need to scout out some nursing home options. There is one possible location that I think is very suitable quite close to the house, and I will check there. We have one gal in the congregation who lives there as does the mother of another gal in the congregation.

I visited mom today, but she was kinda tired and dopey and not able to converse or concentrate at all, so it was a quick visit. I chatted with the nursing staff and they all seem to think she’s doing fine, as long as she’s not on a tirade…

…Thank you for your continuing prayers.

Considering that none of that is even reminiscent of my grandmother, I’m going to hope that my the grandmother I know (knew?) and love is up in heaven, and that what’s still down here is just a shell of what once was. I feel like I already mourned the loss of Nana three years ago, when her Alzheimer’s fully took over. Enough of this. I shall avoid comtemplation and reminiscing until her day is done.

It hurts.