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My dad is in the hospital and need advice
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I'm not sure which forum to put this, but since this is a challenge, I guess here is ok.

I called an ambulance for my dad this morning after he yelled for help. I found him in the bathroom. He was standing but said he was dizzy, and couldn't walk. I sat him down on the toilet and be began retching. The EMT gave him something to regulate his heart rhythm in the ambulance, but I can't remember the name of it. His heart rate was 40 and irregular.

It is a weekend and nothing happens at this hospital on the weekends. It was suggested to me that he needs a pacemaker but I'm waiting on the cardiologist to see him.

I have never heard anything about something being wrong with his heart. Does anyone have suggestions or tips on what to look out for or questions I need to be asking with regards to pacemakers or cardiology in general? I have no idea what all is involved at this point but the ER doc said he had some blockages and thought it was pretty severe.

The only thing I could really do was make sure he was comfortable, make damn sure they knew I would not be someone to drop off dad and come back when he's ready to go home. I learned after he was in the hospital last year to be the "in your face, on your back caregiver with a smile on her face." I also told them no cath. They will just have to deal with it. He is not incontinent so there is no reason to do that.
 
Posts: 273 | Registered: January 21, 2010Report This Post
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Thanks MB. My dad has completely relinquished all control to me (on his terms...lol). I've been taking the lead with his doctors the past year, but lately he's just started to say he can't really think for himself. You might think it's odd to lol about it, but you have to laugh or go nuts. I like his doctors. My dad depends on me to be his ears. I try to protect his pride but he doesn't give a hoot if his fanny is hanging out. I wish I could restore his pride. He must have thanked me a dozen times today for taking care of him. I hope we make it to Christmas. I don't want him to just give up because he can't drive and has heart problems now :/

I had to convince him to eat today. I cooked a big Sunday breakfast that went untouched. He usually loves a nice breakfast. The smell alone brings him to the kitchen, but not today.
 
Posts: 273 | Registered: January 21, 2010Report This Post
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Mom was allergic to IV levaquin too, but could tolerate it in other tablet compounds. Some medications will make people so squirrely, they think they ARE squirrels!!

Take a deep breath. I know this is scary for him and you, but you will have to lead the way. Cardiac meds can be rough also. Keep your eye on him and remember to make a list of things to discuss with the doc at your dad's appointment. Your dad may forget to bring things up, so if he does, try to bring these issue up in a manner so as not to embarrass or upset him. In his mind, he is not accustomed to being infirm and doesn't like any of this one little bit. Protect his pride where you can.




"She ain't heavy; she's my mother."
Mom got her wings 11/18/2008
 
Posts: 4666 | Location: SE LA | Registered: August 12, 2004Report This Post
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This is about a medication my dad was prescribed after he got the pacemaker. I didn't want to start a new thread so will put it here.

He took Levaquin for 2 days. It's a strong antibiotic. Oh man, he reacted so badly to it, he told me he thought he was going to die last night. He hallucinated there were little men all around him and they were holding his arms up. He thought it was real. He was up all night because he was afraid to close his eyes. He said he was so dizzy he could barely walk but didn't tell me about it till tonight when it got to be too much. He also got such bad gas he sounded like he was bursting at the seams.

I called the cardiologist and he said take him off it and he will see him in the office next week. My dad was so relieved it was the medicine. When I got back from the store, he said the feeling of dying was lifting from him. I can't imagine living with that feeling for 2 days.
 
Posts: 273 | Registered: January 21, 2010Report This Post
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Thanks for that article Gypsy. I have thought about sea salt for awhile now. I got some Morton's sea salt with iodine tonight. It seems a lot more concentrated in flavor, but the crystals are bigger. I like it just fine and think we'll adapt to using it.
 
Posts: 273 | Registered: January 21, 2010Report This Post



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Hi Zora. Hope things are going well with you and your Dad. MB I liked your advice but will add a comment to the salt substitute idea-please check with his doc before using any with potassium. Mike couldn't use any that I could find. I use natural sea salt(cut way down on sodium for both of us years ago.)
This is one of many articles I found on this subject-towards the bottom there is a recipe for a "salt substitut" http://www.antibiotic-alternat...h.blood.pressure.htm The other thing I do is use organic spices when possible. I have become a real ingredients reader-if it contains "modified" milk ingredients or modified corn starch or any other "modified" ingredients. It is amazing the chemicals you find in some things yuck. OK I'm off my soapbox for now. Have to go get supper-it's already almost 7:30 but I had a late lunch and lots of fattening goodies and coffee this am.(I didn't ask what was in them-butter tarts, Nanaimo bars, cookies, (veg and dip too)I try to be careful at home or even if I'm out for lunch but goodies I'll diet later. Big Grin


"Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open."

 
Posts: 2122 | Location: B.C. Canada | Registered: February 09, 2003Report This Post
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MB, wonderful advice and suggestions. One of his nurses scolded him in a kind way about the salt and came back later and said if she lived to be 82 with all the problems he has, she wants to eat everything she likes. He had a salt packet on his tray the day he was discharged.

I started out being the food police, but there's no sense in that. Too much salt just causes so many issues for him, but I'm going to try mixing salt substitute with regular salt.

I did give away 2 bags of chips though.

Excellent advice. I had been tossing thoughts around the past few days and you just reassured me it's ok to let him enjoy food without always worrying about eating to please me and the docs.
 
Posts: 273 | Registered: January 21, 2010Report This Post
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I am so glad to hear that things have worked out so well, Zora. I SOOOO understand being frightened that they're mess up and kill him (again!), but it doesn't happen EVERY time, as you discovered.

I KNOW diet is important, BUT, when someone is old, with dementia, health issues, etc. weigh the enjoyment he gets from eating what he wants vs. being miserable eating what he should... If mom didn't want her dinner, I ALWAYS offered her ice cream or pie.

Now that may not be in the "rule book," but it kept her happy. I managed to pack nutrition into her despite the way her tastes changed over the years (mom was a hospital dietician, BTW). At the end, all she really wanted was junk food (probably from all those years of self-deprivation LOL)! I started substituting the hated Boost for milk in her coffee, at first, just a little; but by the time she died, she was drinking straight high protein "hot chocolate" boost with a couple of tablespoonfuls of coffee in it... The ice cream was frozen yogurt. Fresh fruits instead of fruit cocktail - and not just bananas and applies, but a wide variety of fruits that I could mix with plain yogurt and dump it on her cereal. Easy to eat veggie casseroles with lots of protein packed in there... Applecake, peach pie, cherry cobbler - all can be made with extra protein power (choose whey, not soy or wheat), stevia, whole wheat flour, ground nut powders, etc.

Cutting down on red meats and fat also cuts down on the protein, folic acid, iron and B vitamins he needs for skin and neurological health; humans were NOT designed to run on vegetable oil! It is NOT a natural product, it is a concentrated, REFINED product which does not exist in an appreciable quantity in ANY veggies or fruits, even coconuts, the way it does in meat. Cutting out eggs is insane. The protein and nutrients in them are needed in diets.

If his blood becomes acidic from too much red meat, feed him fresh cherries, blueberries and pineapple to help balance the levels.

Stevia can substitute for sugar and is many times sweeter... Vitamin D is VERY important and most adults in the US are WAAAAY deficient in it... Old people have lost nearly all of their ability to synthesize it from the sun...

His diet isn't what sent him to the hospital - as the doc said, he has MANY issues... Putting him on a diet he doesn't like will NOT undo a lifetime of poor eating habits, nor will it restore him to vitality. It WILL make him miserable, irritable and give him something to be mulish about to you.

A lot of the newer thinking about patients in nursing homes is to give them what they want - let them eat! Is it better to give an old lady a sleeping pill or give her the glass of wine she wants after dinner? If a resident wants a piece of candy, GIVE them a piece of stevia-sweetened candy (but don't give them the bag LOL). If a patient is hungry for dinner in the middle of the night, NUKE 'em some dinner!

One of the big concerns for elderly folks is LOSING weight, especially muscle, as they get older... keep weight on them. Sure it's better that they get highly nutritious food, but at the end of their lives, this is a SILLY battle.

If an old man wants to watch TV & drink a 6 pack, mix each beer 50/50 (or more) with an N/A beer (Sharp's, Cutters, etc.). An old bartender's trick is to make the FIRST drink stronger because it dulls the taste buds... water the rest down progressively more with the NA beer. If he won't drink it from a glass, wash out some bottles and use those to serve his "beer."

Decrease salt usage by mixing the salt with a salt substitute. Put it in the normal shaker so it will look the same...

Remember: it's all about balance and being pragmatic. There's a LOT to be said for making someone happy. If it cuts a week off the end of their lives, what about the months of quarreling and misery it circumvented?

If the doctor doesn't like it, let him come take care of your dad and see which approach HE'd take... Wink




"She ain't heavy; she's my mother."
Mom got her wings 11/18/2008
 
Posts: 4666 | Location: SE LA | Registered: August 12, 2004Report This Post
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My dad is back home. The implant went very well. Now we will find out what life is going to be like with a pacemaker. I hope it makes him feel better.

No driving. Not that he isn't trying to find someone to give him a little bit of hope it might be possible. My bf told me he even tried to convince him, but bf said no. It's not up for debate, but there will be plenty of reinforcement from doctors against it. I knew it would take some time to accept.

The other big debate is with his diet. I'm not quite sure how I want to handle that yet. I don't want to take every good thing away, but I don't want him in the hospital all the time, either.

Thanks for spending the past few days listening to me!
 
Posts: 273 | Registered: January 21, 2010Report This Post
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So glad this experience has turned out to be less stressful from the personnel standpoint. So the cardiologist arrived on Sunday? alright!! This hospital sound much improved with its bedside manner and a little means a lot. As MB said, pacemakers aren't particularly awful to "install" and who knows? It could make enough difference to help him day to day (but never to drive Eek).

So your Dad was joking with you!! Sounds like he has recognized WHO is really on his side and can be trusted to take charge. I know it hasn't always been like that for the 2 of you.


* the crystal ball (*) is in the shop>>>>Mom's wings..11/12/2009
 
Posts: 5707 | Location: Appalachia | Registered: January 13, 2007Report This Post



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MB, I realized today I don't need to go into bear mode each time he goes to the hospital. This has been a completely different experience. His nurses have been great and one of them was someone he remembered from last time. She is very pretty and has big dimples and a cool accent. She also remembered him, so he is feeling special. My daughter works at this hospital and said there is a big push to be nice nice nice.

I was scared yesterday not knowing anything, but feel much better today. His cardiologist was great about explaining everything and being very honest.

The doc said there were multiple issues and it was hard to say there was any single thing that would help, but the pacemaker would regulate his heart. He said a small improvement is a huge deal to someone of my dad's age and condition. Improving his quality of life, even if by a little bit, is what he hopes for...but no promises.

My dad joked with me..."Nothing like living life on the edge."

He will get to go home tomorrow or Tuesday at the latest.

Thank you for the thoughts and candles. Thanks even more for the hugs.
 
Posts: 273 | Registered: January 21, 2010Report This Post
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Hang in there, Zora. It certainly sounds cardiovascular and a pacemaker may be the answer, but the docs will sort that out. Just because he never had cardio trouble before doesn't mean he doesn't now, dear.

Just BREATHE and try not to borrow trouble. Until you are presented with facts, just wait and try not to think too far ahead of yourself. Just because one sometimes has to be a bear doesn't mean one has to do so every time... Each situation is different.

Listen to what the cardiologist has to say. If he needs a pacemaker, that will require minor surgery and he'll probably be catherized for the duration of the surgery until he awakens from the anesthesia. It's often an outpatient or one-day surgical procedure.

If he is dizzy and unsteady, they might need to put a cath in place because walking to the bathroom makes him a fall risk. While I am not a fan of unnecessary catherization, there are circumstances where it is not only easier for all concerned, it is vital. Keep these things in mind...

I hope you will stay with him if you can - it makes a difference especially on weekends.

Please keep us posted as you can. Keep these {{{BIG HUGS}}} for when things get scary... Lighting a candle for you both and know you'll be in my thoughts in the days to come.
{{{MORE BIG HUGS}}}




"She ain't heavy; she's my mother."
Mom got her wings 11/18/2008
 
Posts: 4666 | Location: SE LA | Registered: August 12, 2004Report This Post
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Bobcat, I forgot to thank you for lighting a candle. Thank you.
 
Posts: 273 | Registered: January 21, 2010Report This Post
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Thank you Bobcat. I'm pretty nervous.

I gave the hospital copies of his advanced directive and medical power of attorney. I won't agree to surgery at this point, but I will talk to my dad if it comes to that and ask him. He is having a hard time coming to terms with his advancing age and declining health. Or maybe it is me having the hard time coming to terms with it. He told me he tucked his important papers in a place I could see in case he died in the night.

I don't like this.
 
Posts: 273 | Registered: January 21, 2010Report This Post
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[quote]I'm not sure which forum to put this, but since this is a challenge, I guess here is ok[/quote/]

Yeah, this is fine. (((HUGS)))


* the crystal ball (*) is in the shop>>>>Mom's wings..11/12/2009
 
Posts: 5707 | Location: Appalachia | Registered: January 13, 2007Report This Post



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The only thing I could really do was make sure he was comfortable, make damn sure they knew I would not be someone to drop off dad and come back when he's ready to go home


Most of the time that is the best thing you can do. Make sure that they know that someone is watching to make sure they do their jobs.

Zora, I am so sorry that this is happening. Being so soon after the TIA, I am thinking both are cardiovasclar, probably related. Heart blockages often exist for a very long time with little seen, said, done.

In case it is up to you to step up and say what is to be done,, does your father have an advanced directive to guide you? do you feel secure in knowing what his wishes are?

I really don't know why they seem to shut down on weekends. Who has weekends off anymore..I really would wait to speak with the cardiologist, ER docs are wonderful for what they do, but while I disperately wanted answers immediately, I had to realize that these are not the specialist and they do tend to through out a lot of buzz words while they dash about. Maybe they feel that since the patient is alive, the worst is over and nothing else is overwhelming or terrifying.

I am rooting for you. Going to the candle room to light one for you and your Dad.

http://www.gratefulness.org/ca...les.cfm?l=eng&gi=ECO

BREATHE< ZORA....


* the crystal ball (*) is in the shop>>>>Mom's wings..11/12/2009
 
Posts: 5707 | Location: Appalachia | Registered: January 13, 2007Report This Post
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