Water everywhere and not a drop to drink is an appropriate title for this blog.
I had coffee with my mother who suffers from heart issues (COPD), edema (excess fluid in the body) and several other medical issues. During our get-together she mentioned that during the past several days she added four pounds to her weight. Just before her double heart valve replacement surgery, Mom’s excess fluid pressed on the bottom of her lungs and had actually penetrated her left lung. She required surgery to remove the fluid. During the surgery, the surgeon determined that Mom had scale build-up on the inside of her lung from smoking for some forty years and that it had to be “scrapped off.” She endured the fluid removal, the scale scrapping and a rib which broke upon entrance. We knew there was a large chance that this may happen but it didn’t help Mom’s recovery that every breath she took was extremely painful.
Since then we have been told that if for any reason she gains either three pounds overnight or six pounds in a week she is to call immediately or go into a emergency room. During our coffee, Mom explains that she in fact gained four pounds in the past three days. Not so bad. But then I’m told that in the past two days she has had water seeping out of her skin (legs) because they are so filled up with excess fluid. She was admitted a month ago for this very reason and had gained almost 20 pounds of pure water weight.
I met Mom for coffee so I could pick up Taffy (Mom’s lap dog) because Mom can’t walk her. Her fake knees hurt and she runs out of breath during the walks. These are symptoms of excess fluid build-up pressing on the exterior of the knees and on the bottom of the lungs. You have less space for air so your breathing is compromised.
I ask repeatedly and even insist at one point (with no luck, I may add) that the last time this happened–and she hadn’t even broken a valve that time–they admitted her for a IV of Lasix, a water removal medication. I was repeatedly told that she is waiting for a call from her cardiologist’s office as well as her knee doctor’s office. The knee doctor? I didn’t know about this appointment.
(Apparently, during her appointment with her kneed doctor, they requested an x-ray of her right knee, which she has fallen on several times over the years. As Mom said, the x-ray tech says something to the fact of, “How long ago did you say you broke this?” Oh, great, edema on top of a possible mildly broken knee, if there is such a thing.
Mom assures me that she will call me once she hears back from her cardiologist. After dinner, I still don’t hear from you so I call. Nothing, just her voice mail. You know how that goes; your mind starts racing with all these various things that may have happened. I call and leave three messages. I then call both my little brother Jimmy and Mom’s sister, Susie. They both live only minutes away from Mom; I’m 25 minutes away. Great. I only receive their voice mails. Finally around 6:30 p.m.,. Jimmy calls me; he’s working late for a deadline project and can’t make it.
I decide to drive over myself. Hopefully she just removed her hearing aids and can’t hear the phone. When I’m half-way to her house, I call; she answers and sound tired. She was sleeping. I explain that I’m heading over and that “We are going to the ER.”
She shares the best news I could hope for. She did hear from the doctor but laid down and forgot to call me. Her cardiologist suggested she stop the potassium, double up on the Spironolactone to increase her fluid release. In the morning she has to do lab work for kidney and liver functions and then contact the Heart and Lung department at noon.
Because this happened in the past, I’m not as concerned except the seeping does worry me. Mom took the same steps the last few times this happened. For now its hurry up and wait to get the results of the kidney and liver test as well as the knee x-ray.
- Me, Myself and Mom (caregiving.com)
- Can You Prepare for the Unknown? How? (caregiving.com)
- Need a Hand Up? (caregiving.com)
- Out of the Gate, You Must Communicate (caregiving.com)
- Heads Will Roll (caregiving.com)
- Musings About This Week (caregiving.com)
- Transplant Appointment … (caregiving.com)
- “Not Being Sick Enough” (caregiving.com)