Painful Chests


Painful Chests

Yesterday afternoon, I focused on trying to fix my camera on my new iPhone so I could snap a shot of my folks for our First Photo Project.

My parents had gone out for lunch and grocery shopping and both were resting (well, napping, in the case of my mom). I had plans to meet a friend for dinner--a welcome break from work and worry.

Until a tap on my door.

"Your dad says he's having chest pains," my mom said.

Before calling 911, I always check with my dad. "Do you want me to call 911 or do you want me to drive us?" My dad wanted the paramedics to come so they could check him out at the house. I called and followed directions, giving my dad four baby aspirins to swallow before the ambulance arrived. The paramedics did a quick check and then loaded my dad on the gurney and off to the hospital.

He's still there although tests yesterday indicated he was not having a heart attack. The doctor's initial diagnosis is inflammation around the heart. He will be home this afternoon.

The true emergency is my dad's overall declining health. As we sat in the ER for hours, I thought again that we need to put a plan in place to avoid these hospitalizations.

This morning, I had an honest conversation with my mom. I suggested we look at palliative care so that we can avoid going to the hospital. "It was clear that Dad wasn't an emergency," I explained to my mom. "Sitting for that long in the ER doesn't help Dad." And, by the time we left the hospital at 9 p.m. last night, my mom was exhausted beyond fatigue.

I shared a concern that perhaps we are now at my dad's end of life. "If we are," I said, "we need to look at how we can make it comfortable for Dad."

"I guess it's good to be realistic," my mom said.

"We help Dad the most when we are realistic," I said. "I know we can provide the care that Dad needs at home."

My mom decided she would like to call my dad's doctor to discuss options other trips to the ER and hospital. I agreed that the phone call is a great idea and said I would like to be a part of that phone call.

I never got my iPhone camera to work but I did take a photo with my iPad of my mom and my sister with my dad last night.