Sunday, February 01, 2009

Hospital Redux

I was up early today and when my mother came out of the bedroom it was obvious to me that she was in intense pain. She told me she thought her lung had collapsed because she hurt so bad in her chest and back. This she told me as she was lighting a cigarette. *Sigh* So I loaded her into the van and off we went to the ER to see what was going on this time.

Blood work, EKGs, a chest X-ray and treatment with nitroglycerin seemed to eliminate a heart attack, so my mother was given two breathing treatments, morphine, prednisone, prescriptions for more prednisone, antibiotics and Vicodin and sent home. The diagnosis was muscular-skeletal pain due to COPD.

Mom immediately lit a cigarette upon arriving home and continued to smoke heavily during the afternoon. This past week Mom had been looking and acting so much more healthy; she had been up and moving more, working a jigsaw puzzle with us and watching TV. Now this. Two steps forward, five leaps backwards. I swear I'm beginning to think the woman has a death wish.

And I'm back to wondering whether to insist she go into assisted living housing despite her wishes.


SkippyMom said...

If it is any consolation my mother was diagnosed with COPD over 5 years ago while we watched my father die from lung cancer [both insane, heavy smokers] By "consolation", I mean she still is alive and [sort of] active.

She also still expects me to go to the store and buy the cigarettes [which I refuse to smoke, you buy 'em] but she is on almost full time oxygen, inhalers and Nebulizers 4 times + a day - but gets out [with her portie tank] and does stuff.

The doctors told us that the cigarettes didn't make a difference at this point, she couldn't do anymore damage then she already has - that allowing her [who allows? me? like I can tell her no?] to smoke "improved her quality of life". The Dr's exact words.

These are the same docs that told us she would die from this 5 years ago - so...I don't know why I told you this, except I feel for you. Sorry.

Linda and Denny said...

Actually, it helps. Thanks hon. At this point, all the doctors and nurses are still saying it would improve Mom's quality of life to quit smoking. I think it's a control issue after years of being under my father's thumb, although he's been dead for 12 years. So I have to work on MY issues with her health, so I can deal with whatever happens next.

Jeff and Sandra said...

I know your pain dealing with the thought of assisted living for your Mom. It's amazing how many elderly folks want to live in their homes even though the home becomes a prison for them.

Most assisted living facilities are very nice, comfortable, have good food, have fantastic health care, and offer social interaction and activities. And, many facilities have several levels of care so a tenant can move as their condition changes.

If your Mom is lucid, waiting on the decision to move her into an assisted facility may be ok, but if she has dementia or Alzheimer disease, a decision should be made soon.

What happens in many cases, if the family keeps their loved one at home thinking they are helping, a person may become bad enough that many facilities will not take them. But, if your loved one is already in a facility, she will be allowed to stay. You may be left with a search for somewhere for your Mom to live where the choices are limited.

I have been through this with my Dad and have spoken to many folks that that have been through this as well. I don't know if where you live may be the same or not, but you may want to contact an eldercare specialist....just in case. We wish you the very best.

Anonymous said...

COPD is a terrible condition that robs us of our ability to breathe. I have a sister (only in her 50's) who smokes and I know, I can tell from her breathing (or lack there of), that she has this disease. She has blatantly told us that she is NOT going to stop smoking.. so what can we do. Now much. It is heart breaking, but somethings are simply out of our control. Assisted living does sound like a good option. Would it help to have your Mom visit some potential places.

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