Hospital updates

I was keen to see what the cardiology people would say at mums appointment.  

My previous blog outlined her Mobitz2 symptoms and her diastolic disfunction.  Now just recently, as I use the pulse oximeter to take mums obs I can see her oxygen levels average around 91-93%.  We ideally want to see 99%.  This reads the oxygen in the blood which is being carried around the body to the organs.  Likely to be causing damage at these levels, I do like to see what is going on.
It also gives a pulse/heartbeat pattern which is fascinating to watch.

Mum flatlines on every 3rd-6th beat.  Then it bangs one big old pump and has two mini pumps then the few normal ones again.  Much as I'm aware this isn't right, I wasn't totally sure what this might be telling us.

Back last year, after her heart attack, she had a device fitted.  Clicking that link shows you all about it.  It doesn't do anything to the heart except read it.  Clever right.  So at any time, she can goto cardiology at our local hospital and they can look back over her heart rhythm history and see what was going on. Every 3 months we get this read.  Mum calls it a chip.  Which is an ok explanation. 

That appointment was here and they could in fact see that my diagnosis type of thing had been correct.  She indeed had been skipping beats and having other extra ones.  
The technician said it was nothing to worry about and lots of people have this.  Although mums has changed over time and I know that things are progressing downhill.  The cough has been investigated.  The Dr gave her antibiotics as he said they were cracking (usually a sign of chest infection) and after the medication the lungs were still the same.
"Not that clear really." he explained and said there's nothing that can be done. 
I asked if it was to do with the heart and he nodded, knowing I knew that we were talking heart failure.  Which is a term which fuels anxiety and is totally unhelpful for mum to know about.

She has spoken openly, just once or twice about the hope she falls asleep one day and doesn't wake.
She has signed the DNR which means if (when?) she goes into cardiac arrest (which is very likely given she has mobitz2) she wants to be left to die.  CPR was explained in detail to us both one day as the paramedics were seeing to her in bed.  They said often people are revived with more issues, broken ribs, punctured lungs and very often it's impossible to be revived. 

There and then, mum decided to sign the DNR.  When that time comes, I totally need to respect her.  Hard as it will be, I am sure she will know little to nothing of it.  She has dementia.  It's progressive.  It would be selfish and cruel to hope she lives forever.

Friends are constantly saying how she just seems the same.  She is not the same.  She laughs at everything and stares at people and is more inappropriate than she was before (which was still a LOT!).  Every Dr gets profuse flirtation.  We just chuckle about these things.  She is struggling to remember which programme she watched on TV.  Every soap opera is blending into one. 
She sleeps a minimum 14 hours each day and sometimes up to 20 hours.  She can only taste sweet things so is gaining weight and has a few blood sugar struggles.  Walking around the shops is beginning to be too much. She needs the wheelchair now more and more. 
Telling her she sounds just the same must be confusing and upsetting for her.  A responsibility to remain just the same.  Knowing she isn't.  Knowing she is struggling.  She doesn't like to admit it. 
Often, I use a tone of voice to ascertain what she is actually saying, rather than the words she uses to answer me.  She says, "Yer, I'm okay...?" with a question mark at the end of it.  

We were never close.  But I am slowly teaching her to let me in a little.  Of course she won't be that huggy, loving mother at this late stage, but I see in her eyes sometimes, she searches my face for answers.  Generally when we are alone, in the car or something, I will ask a question with a crazy answer that I know isn't what she is really wanting to give me.
"Is that the truth? Are you tired today?" Or something else I will ask while reading her face.  She needs support more and more and of course she is very blessed to have so many incredible friends who are really there for her.  

Aside of the heartbeat, coughing, sleeping and confusion, she is still in there with a quality of life.

A miracle that she is still here, we are making the most of our time.  Noone thought she would survive so long after the heart attack. She's had a great time!  Something I am able to give her that I didn't have the opportunity to give to Dad.


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