Monday, October 20, 2008

My mother is 87 and suffers from Congestive Heart Failure. Although she had the first bout with it about 14 years ago, she did reasonably well.
All that has changed. In December, right before going to a family Christmas gathering, we realized that she couldn't wear shoes because of the swelling in her feet. Family doctor thought it was because she sat so much because her arthritis and deteriorated knee made it difficult and painful to walk. Well, it wasn't.
We've been dealing with various water pills (diuretics) for the past several months. In the last week or so Mom has been complaining of a sore tongue, has no appetite, she's gasping for breath after walking only a few steps. I did "research" on the Internet and thought she was allergic to the latest diuretic. After explaining the plight to the cardiac nurse she got us in today to see one of the cardiologists. His answer? Unfortunately, this is the natural progression of CHF. He changed her diuretic I think just to appease me. Told me that oxygen might be needed but that would have to be assessed by the family doctor -- it's a supreme effort to get her to the doctor so I was especially "happy" to hear that.
He was a nice enough man but it seemed what I was hearing is that there's little or nothing to do and "She's 87, what do you expect?" No, he didn't say that, I "heard" that. It's what I hear from family members, too.
I want to fight but at the same time I want to savor what time we have left and help her.
I wanted to punch this cardiologist, but instead I cried all the way back to work when I was finally by myself.

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