September 17, 2004

September 8th is a day I will never forget.  My phone rang at 8:30 AM and it was a call from Toronto.  The caller was in tears and told me to hurry over to my parents’ house because dad had found mom unconscious on the kitchen floor.  She had telephoned our parents seconds after my dad had found mom. 
My mom had been suffering from horrendous pain in her thigh for several weeks.  When she went to emergency on Tuesday, September 7th the doctor had given her Amitriptyline and Morphine.  She was told to take the Amitriptyline at bedtime and the Morphine as soon as she felt pain.  She woke up on Wednesday morning; went to make breakfast and collapsed on the kitchen floor. 
Even though I live 5 minutes away from my parents’ house that block and a half car ride was the longest ride of my life.  My mom had been diagnosed with a heart problem in July.  There is a problem with both her Arterial valve and Mitral Valve and the cardiologist told her that surgery was to great a risk to consider.  We were told that she would eventually have black outs due to this condition.   When I got to my parents’ house my mom was sitting up but did not know her name or my name.  I called 911 and even though the ambulance arrived in less than 10 minutes it seemed to take forever.  By the time my mom arrived at emergency she was able to tell us her name and what happened before her blackout. 
The doctors were unable to tell us why this happened to our mother.  They thought the black out was caused by a combination of the medication and her heart problem.  
Sadly, we did not feel that our mom was “safe” in emergency.   When I noticed that my mom was having a hard time breathing, the response I got from the medical staff was a shoulder shrug and the question, “Are you sure she is having trouble?”  Meanwhile, my mom was struggling to take a deep breath.  When this happened I felt like throwing a fit to beat all fits but that of course would have been detrimental to my mom. 
Since September 8th, the family have been taking turns staying with mom.  One daughter, a surgical nurse, arrived from Toronto on Monday and she stayed with my parents until today.  Her medical experience was a godsend.  Thankfully my mom’s pain is slowly decreasing in intensity and in the number of times it occurs in a 24 hour period.  It has been very difficult to watch my mom experience such intense pain.  All I can do is try to comfort her but it is not enough.  Up until 9 months ago my mom ran circles around me.  She was a very active volunteer for several organizations and was involved in a number of committees and women’s groups.  She and my dad were also involved in a number of senior organizations.  They each have a vehicle and would spend their days going from one activity to the next.  The lifestyle change my mom has had to make this past spring due to her heart condition has been a difficult adjustment.  She loves to read so I have been making regular trips to the library to keep her in reading material.  Since the spring she has been reading approximately 25 books every three weeks. 
This experience has been a difficult one for the whole family.  Remember to cherish your parents and spend as much time with them as possible; life alternating changes can occur in a split second. 
Needless to say I am exhausted.  Minutes after I received the call from on September 8th, I began shaking so badly I was scared I wouldn’t be able to drive my car.  It was the strangest thing; my whole body was shaking and the room was spinning.  I managed to get dressed and by the time I ran out the door I had some semblance of control over the shaking and dizziness.  Mind over matter!  
My latest appointment with No Name took place on September 15th.  He ordered more blood tests which included a full thyroid panel and PTH.  No Name has concluded that I would benefit from tests to determine adrenal function and I am hopeful that these will be done in the next few weeks.  Of course, I am expected to do the research on what tests should be done. 
I am no longer shocked by these requests.  Most of the tests that I have had have been at my request after spending hours researching symptoms on the internet.  Once I have presented my case and documented the reasons why I want a particular test done, the doctor agrees with me.  I suppose I should be grateful that he orders the tests I request.  I would be a wealthy woman if I had been paid for all the time I have spent researching and implementing the tests and procedures I have requested in the hopes of finding a diagnosis.  
My mom has asked me to thank all my on line friends who have expressed concern for her and who have upheld her in their prayers.  We are so very thankful for your kindness and thoughtfulness. 

My grandson is absolutely ecstatic.  I purchased airline tickets today for my husband, daughter, son-in-law, grandson and me.  We will be flying to Seattle, Washington to spend Christmas with our son and daughter-in-law.  My grandson has never experienced Christmas without snow.  I plan to stock up on books and of course a visit to Seattle has to include a feast of Pelmeni at the Russian restaurant not far from my son’s house and several trips to pick up Krispy Creme donuts. 

This weekend I will be bringing in the Mandevilla , spinach plants and ivys for the winter.  The temperatures at night are getting to close to freezing to risk leaving them out much longer.  The Farmers Almanac predicted snow for our area by the third week in September.  Thankfully that has not happened. 

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