Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Words on a Wednesday-- with a brief Update


First, let me express our gratitude for all of the heartfelt good wishes on the previous post. They mean so much to us. It's truly the best part of the social internet to have these conversations with the kindest virtual friends we know. Thank you.

Here is the latest on my mom's health issues. On Saturday morning she lost consciousness while at my sister's. The ambulance was called, and she was taken to ER, where after a few hours she was admitted. We learned that during her previous stay at the hospital last week, her heartbeat was quite low (in the 40 bpm range). She was experiencing atrial fibrillation. Her confusion persisted and she was at a great risk for falling.

After three days in the hospital, the cardiologist told my brother and sister that my mom would need a pacemaker to stabilize her heart. Without it, she would continue to pass out and most definitely experience a shattering fall. So, on Tuesday we did a four-way telephone conversation (me here in far northern California, my older brother on the east coast in Virginia, and Michael and Lynn in southern Cal-- the best use of technology ever!). We talked it through, trying to decide if surgery with anesthesia was the right way to go. There is the possibility that the anesthesia will make her dementia worse. We had to balance that with knowing that there is even a greater likelihood that without a pacemaker she will fall. We also talked about what our mother would want. She worked for doctors all of her adult life. She believes utterly in western medicine. If she could choose for herself, we agreed, she would choose surgery and a pacemaker. So, on Wednesday she will have the minimally invasive surgery. We will keep you posted.

This has been the most stressful two weeks. Roger and I have been waiting for my mom to move into the new 24/7 care facility, so we can see how well she adjusts to it and plan our 700 mile (1126 km) trip south to see her. Each day there's been a new obstacle and detour. We're hoping that once she's on the other side of this surgery and is comfortably moved in to her new home, we'll know when it's time to travel south.

Here is the best part of these past few days for me: On Sunday the phone rang. Yes, it was my mother calling from the hospital. She sounded almost lucid for about two minutes. Then her voice became wispy and vague and faraway again. But it was so incredibly heartwarming and wonderful to hear that "Hello Robin and Roger!" I went outside after the call and looked up at the sky. I photographed this iridescent cloud, first one I had seen in quite a few weeks. It was just a wonderful coincidence of joy.

BRIEF UPDATE: Surgery started later than expected and lasted longer than expected. The surgeon said it went well. It took longer because an IV needed to be changed. She woke up and seemed a bit more alert right away. My brother said she gave my sister a big smile. We're hopeful. It's too soon to tell how things will go. We'll know more tomorrow. Thank you all for your love, thoughtfulness, good wishes, and kind hearts.

40 comments:

  1. It's so good that your mom can call you from the hospital. Technology, again!
    Installing the pacemaker should go easily enough, and might make a big difference, even mentally. I'll be thinking of her tomorrow.

    That sky is beautiful!

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    1. Susannah-- We're hopeful that it will improve her health both physically and mentally. Thank you for thinking of her. Glad you liked that iridescent sky!

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  2. I can only wish your mum all the best and hope the op is successful. My thoughts are with you. Nice shot of the cloud

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    1. Bill-- Thank you for that. It means so much to all of us to have good wishes from around our beautiful planet! Glad you liked that cloud!

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  3. That's such a lot to go through, never knowing what the day will bring. I'll be thinking about you today and hoping all goes well.
    The sky celebrated with you!

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    1. CCorax-- We're worried, but hopeful. If the surgery gives her any improvement in the quality of her life, it will have been worth the risk. Yes, the sky celebrated too!

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  4. This is a hard time for you and your extended family. It sounds like you get along and work well together. That will help. I am also thinking of your poor mother and hoping for the best for her. My heart goes out to you.

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    1. Colette-- This has been such a challenging time. My sibs and I are old hippies. Our four-way conversation sent me back to the good ol' days of the late 1960s. We were quite a team. Thank you for your good thoughts today!

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  5. The colors in those clouds are just beautiful. I'm glad that both you and Roger continue to turn to nature for relief. It helps. Good wishes to your mother.

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    1. Sharon-- Iridescent clouds are what opened my eyes to the stunning world of atmospheric optics. The sky is a surprise of beauty! Thank you so much for your good wishes.

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  6. Your stress continues, I'm sorry. I will be thinking of you all tomorrow. ♥

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    1. Val-- Thank you so much for you kind thoughts. We're hoping to be on the other side of this stress later today. Really really hoping.

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  7. Good luck with the results of the surgery. We know those where it gave them more energy and was very positive. I hope that's how this turns out.

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    1. Rain-- Those kinds of stories of more energy and positive results are what give us hope for my mom. Thank you for your kind, good thoughts.

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  8. Thinking of you today as you wait for the surgery. There is no doubt at all that the pacemaker was the correct choice. In fact, it's hard to believe that with recent-onset of confusion coupled with such a low heart rate, the pacemaker was not suggested during her last hospitalization. At least now you know that her heart is beating often enough to oxygenate her brain. Might not have been the cause of her confusion, but certainly would have contributed to the problem.

    Hope you have the best possible outcome from the surgery.

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    1. NCmountainwoman-- We're hopeful that the increased blood flow will help her situation, and at the very least keep her safe from falling. We would like to see an increased level of lucidity as well. This has been an intense ordeal for everyone. Thank you so much for good thoughts.

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  9. I hope everything went well with the surgery today. Sending lots of healing thoughts to your Mom.
    I am so glad you had a chance to speak to her again. I understand you heading outside right after the call. I would have done that too.

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    1. Car Lover-- Thank for that. Surgery still hasn't begun yet. We've got another 2 1/2 hours until it's time. We're all anxious here. It was so wonderful to hear her voice. I used to talk to her twice a day for years, now we go days without. Still, a celebration whenever we do talk, and iridescent clouds too!

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  10. In my mind, I just heard John Lennon singing, "Above us only sky." Love the way the sky "spoke" to you so eloquently after your mother had a lucid moment and could say, "Hello Robin and Roger!" Sending love.

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    1. am-- Oh am, I love that it reminded you of John Lennon's Imagine. That's exactly the song I need to hear in my heart today. Thank you so much for that.

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  11. So very sorry Robin Roger Bea. Good luck with the surgery. Please let us know.

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    1. Steve-- We'll keep you and Tara posted. Promise!

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  12. Tara and i will be holding our breath and waiting to hear.

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    1. Steve-- Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale... that's the way we're handling this. Love you and Tara!

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  13. I'm so glad you and the sibs are on the same page, got to talk this through, and landed on what mom would have wanted.

    Sending much love, and my fingers are crossed. xoxoxo

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    1. kathy a-- We needed that conversation. It helped calm our hearts. Thank you for your love and good thoughts!

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  14. I am so happy you chose to go the pacemaker route. When the heart is barely pumping, the brain doesn't not get enough blood which could make her confusion worse. I had a pacemaker put in two years ago and am delighted with it. My surgery was minimal and my lightheadedness is gone. I so hope she does well with the surgery and that wonderful gadget they are implanting improves her life.

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    1. Patti-- Thank you so much for sharing your pacemaker story. We are hoping my mom's results are every bit as positive as yours! Yay! As I type this, she is in surgery. We're hoping for the very best outcome.

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  15. Sounding positive; wishing your mom a good recovery. And peace of mind for all of you.

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  16. Sending big love to you and to your sweet mom. She remains amazing.

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  17. Isabelita, mahu, Susannah, Steve, and all friends here-- I have no news to report yet. Last night's latest was that my mom was released from the hospital, but was still not lucid at all. She is at my sister's. We are all worried. We are hoping for more lucidity today. Thank you all for you kind good thoughts, love and wishes. Thank you.

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  18. ((( Robin and everybody ))) I'm sorry she is not lucid. Hope things improve swiftly. xoxoxo

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  19. Very pretty photo! The softness of the clouds against the brickwork is contrast also.

    I'm so sorry you guys are having to go through all of this with your mom. It seems like real life just has to come around and kick us in the butt once in a while. Hang in their my friend...

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    1. Pat-- Glad you liked that iridescent cloud and chimney photo. I'm always so glad to see iridescence. My mom's sudden decline has been a true bummer and kick in the butt. Sigh. Thank you for your good wishes.

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