Sunday, August 24, 2014

Reality Bites -- Twice!

This past week, we've been bitten by Reality twice..........

Last weekend, I sprained my ankle, and rather oddly. No twisting or turning, just landing as I normally would have when taking a step down. Finally, I couldn't stand it any further and I went to urgent care. It's just a moderate sprain, but the doc was very concerned because my ankle had "lots of arthritis" in it.

Wow, doc. You don't say. I was only diagnosed 25 years ago with it. It's high time the thing caught up to me. I've been outrunning it for ages. For the first 5 years or so of my diagnosis, I noticed it more often than I did over the last twenty. Or when it got to me, pop the requisite number of pain relievers and just keep plugging along. I've been referred to an orthopedist for additional work; the earliest they can see me is in 6 weeks. And that's with the earliest doc in the practice (who just also happens to be the one they are trying to get me in to see, because he's the arthritis specialist).

Then Friday, reality hit us again........... Well, really, Reality had been messing around on this one for about a couple of weeks. Mom had been telling us for a couple of weeks that she was really warm all the time..... odd, since this hasn't exactly been a record-setting summer for heat. But in this last week, which has been more like our usual "hammered-down hinges of hell's door" type of weather (hot, humid, horrific), it evolved into "I'm roasting and I am having trouble breathing...." By Friday morning, I asked her just what she intended to do about it -- given the fact that she's already had one heart attack and congestive heart disease. Was she planning to contact her doctor? Up came every reason why she couldn't..... Until 10:00 or so, when she called my Dad to say that no, she was really having trouble breathing, in an air-conditioned house, and having done nothing but remained in pretty much a seated or a horizontal position all morning.

Yep, her CHD/CHF had decided to rear its ugly mug yet again, and she has spent all weekend in the hospital trying to get the fluid removed and off her heart. They're keeping her a little longer than we originally thought due to a small bit of pneumonia and the need for an echocardiogram. Then we begin the real work -- life as a cardiac patient. Changing the way she cooks. Making time for even small activity (5 minutes at a time). Reading labels. It's not going to be easy for someone in her late 70s, but it's what must be done to make the most of the time remaining.

And you'd better believe I'm going to do everything I can -- not only to support my mom, but to make it as easy as possible. I'm thinking maybe a list of "green, yellow, red-light" foods or recipes (especially in terms of sodium, given the fluid issues). Maybe an easy way for her to track her foods and activities..... Just thinking of tangible things I can do in addition to offering support.

So yeah, reality bites -- but it is needed to remind us to do all we can for ourselves when we can. And to allow others to help when they can.

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