My sister did some research and found a cardiologist who specializes in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. Mom got an appointment within 4 days!
The office is over an hour from my home. We have to leave at 6 a.m. to make the appointment. Oh my. That is not too early for me as I enjoy getting up with the chickens, but wow, the crack of dawn is a wee bit early for Mom. But we prepare the night before, and plan the best we can.
Mom goes to bed early, but doesn’t stay down. ‘I feel like I’m drowning when I lie down’. What? She has never said that before. Oh, Mom, please just hold on one more night. The ER lights flash before my eyes. She sits for a while in her chair, watches some TV, and gets sleepy. Her next attempt for bed is a success. She falls asleep quickly.
She does get up several times to use the bathroom. This is routine, and doesn’t alarm me. However, at 3 a.m., I hear her going in and out of the bathroom several times. I get up to check on her. Her stomach is upset. She feels the urge to “lose her cookies”. I get her something to settle her stomach — her old standby med. She goes back to bed and sleeps. I wonder if the med helped her stomach — or her mind. Funny how that works.
As we get ready to leave in the morning, I pack a few extra things for Mom: her phone, her charger, extra hearing aide batteries along with a few other personal items. I just have a feeling…
I love this doctor. He is not only kind and gentle, but he is thorough in his physical exam of Mom, in asking questions to her and to me, and in reading all the reports sent from the other facilities. He is with us a long time and then he asks to be excused to do further study of the reports.
When he returns, he lobbies for Mom’s admittance to the hospital. I think of the bag tucked in the car, and obviously this is no surprise to me. I know she is more ill than she has ever been. He IS the specialist. He wants to run his own tests. He, too, feels as though something has been missed.
Hospital Stay Number Seven since December. Big Fat Sigh.
By the time we get across the street to the hospital, it’s 10 a.m. I get her registered, but we have to wait for a room so I take her to the cafeteria to get her some toast and coffee. I even buy her a small piece of pie. Pumpkin pie is ok for breakfast — it’s a vegetable, right? (smile)
We get Mom settled into a bed, and a few exams are already on the docket. After several hours and a few bedside tests, the CT scan is still delayed. They are holding her lunch until after the scan. By this point, the toast and pie are forgotten and Mom is cranky. “I want some food”. She expresses this to every nurse, tech and doctor who walks into the room. Oh my. I have “felt her pain” and not eaten myself. I don’t want to miss anything going on in the room and I certainly do not want to eat in front of her. (This doesn’t occur to Mom as she never mentions me going for food. I think that in itself might be worthy of another post another time.)
They finally come to take her for the scan. When she leaves, I order her (now) supper and hope it arrives in the room upon her return. I also ask the nurse for a carton of milk and fruit cup. At least if supper takes longer than expected, she’ll have something to snack on while she waits for her turkey and potatoes.
I take my leave as she begins to eat her much anticipated meal. She probably won’t eat half of it. But the food was her issue today. That’s what I see with the dementia. Each day has it’s own issue. The thing that she dwells on. The thing that consumes her thoughts. One day it could be the pain in her legs. The next day it might be her allergies and how they are the cause of all this illness. And today it was the food.
Again, I am hopeful as I drive home. This doctor appears to know what he is doing — like the right tests will reveal the right answers. I don’t know. Really? Doubts.
No, let’s not go there.
Maybe this time, we’ll get the answers and Mom will begin the road to recovery.
I pray this is true. Dear God…