October 20, 2004

The last couple of weeks have been extremely difficult ones for my family.  As I mentioned in another diary entry, my parents joined my family for Thanksgiving dinner and birthday cake for my dad on October 10th.  On October 12th my mother collapsed at about 11:30 AM.  This time she remained unconscious for a much longer period of time.  It was particularly frightening for my dad.  My mom had answered the phone; my dad heard her say hello and then he heard the phone drop.  She was on the portable phone so my dad picked up the regular phone in the same room to tell my mom’s friend that there was an emergency and he had to hang up.  When he tried to dial my number the phone wouldn’t work.  It took a bit of time before he realized that the portable phone on the floor was not disconnected.  By the time he reached me he was extremely upset.  Thankfully I am only a block and a half away from my parents’ house and managed to get there in 5 minutes.  When I saw my mom I immediately called 911.  It was only a matter of minutes before I could tell my dad to listen; you could hear the ambulance siren.  My mom was rushed to hospital and she regained consciousness in the ambulance.  She was discharged from hospital on October 15th. 

This last episode has been a wake-up call for my family.  We know that our mom has a serious heart condition but we did not realize that the problem is critical.  The doctor told us that our mom could live like this for a while but that the next episode of unconsciousness could be the last.  He also told us that loosing consciousness is a symptom of this particular condition. 
Needless to say I have been spending as much time as possible with my mom.  I have told her how much I love her and how much she means to me.  This last episode made me realize that now was the time to tell her all the things that I would want to tell her if today was her last day.  It has been extremely difficult to try to come to terms with my mom’s illness.  I keep hoping that the cardiologist is wrong in his assessment. 
One of my to do items last week was to research ways to make my mother’s home as comfortable as possible; to find ways to make the events of daily living easier and to give her easier and safer access to the bathrooms, bedroom, kitchen and living areas.  I have set up an appointment with an Occupational Therapist and the person who does Assessments for Home Care.  They will come into my parents’ home and determine ways that the family can make mobility easier for mom.  I expect they will recommend a pole/guard beside her bed to make it easier for her to get in and out, a bench with back for the bathtub so that she can sit down and just swing her legs into the tub and an adjustable bed.  She has purchased a walker which has become a necessity in the last two months.  I have also made an appointment for a meeting with Lifeline.  Once Lifeline is installed, all my father has to do in the event of an emergency is push a button.  wish my parents had had this device on the 12th.  It would have prevented a very stressful situation for my dad. 
Remember to cherish your parents; life can bring about very sudden changes.
When my dad called me on October 12th to tell me that mom was in trouble I could hardly breathe.  I started shaking almost immediately; my heart rate went through the roof and I started breathing very rapidly. By the time I got into my car I was drenched in sweat.  This was a very frightening experience and my only solution was to start praying that I would be able drive the block to my parents’ house and help both of them.  An amazing thing happened as I backed out of the driveway; I stopped shaking and my breathing returned to normal. 
During the last two weeks I have twice resorted to taking 10 mg. of Hydrocortisone.  I understand the ramifications of taking this medication but both times it was an absolute necessity.  My body does not handle stress well and the fatigue I was experiencing was making it impossible for me to do what I had to do.  The Hydrocortisone makes a tremendous difference in my life.  When I take it I am able to handle stress much better, the fatigue becomes bearable and I am able to accomplish what I have to do.  Amazingly the dizziness and nausea became less debilitating.  I am hoping when No Name gets back from his vacations in December that he will agree to test my adrenal glands. 
Hockey season has started and my Grandson, age 10, made the tryouts for the double AA hockey team.  He was beyond excited when he received the letter telling him that he was going to be a member of this team.  The position he plays is right wing.  I have probably mentioned before that no amount of bribery could persuade Grandson to continue piano lessons.  He informed me that piano lessons were something that I wanted him to do; not something that he wanted to do.  He is right.  Grandson has been asking to take guitar lessons and had picked out an electric guitar and amp at the local music store.  I decided that guitar lessons were better than no music lessons.  Fortunately, I found a music teacher that will incorporate the Royal Conservatory curriculum and rock into each lesson.  I picked up the guitar, amp and accessories yesterday afternoon and brought them to his house after school.  The expression on his face was worth every penny!   I bought the blue and white guitar that he had been dreaming about for weeks.  I am sure grandson’s dreams last night featured him as a famous rock star.  Grandson also decided to continue with Ukrainian dance classes.  This will be his seventh year as a member of the Ukrainian Dance Ensemble.  We measured Grandson for his passport application and he is 4 feet 11 3/4″ tall; not bad for a ten year old. 
The weather here has been cold and rainy for the past week.  It snowed last week Wednesday and Thursday but thankfully it was warm enough that it did not stay on the ground.  Daytime temperatures hover between 2C (35.6 F) and 4C (39.2 F).  Night time temperatures range from -1C (30.2 F) and -7C (19.4 F).  It is certainly cold enough to wear winter coats and jackets.  I hope it warms up over the weekend so I can get my outdoor Halloween decorations set up without freezing my butt off. 

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