Congestive Heart Disease....help!

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Hi,
I came to live with my mom when she was diagnosed with CHF. She is now quite tired, and short of breath. She still drives, goes to the market and cooks.
She also has diabetes, and is a recovering alcoholic.
She is quite funny and clear, and I enjoy being here with her.
I do not know much about CHF other than what I read on the Internet.
I do not know what I am "looking" at as far as the decline in her health.
I feel afraid sometimes...... especially when she is out, or I am gone from the house.
Does anyone here have any experiance with being with a person with CHF?
It would help me to feel more at ease........if thaT is possible.

25 Comments

Greysfully,
The best thing to do would be to talk to her doctor about what to watch for. I know that CHF symptoms can occur very quickly! Please call her doctor and talk to him/her about your concerns. Keep in touch and let us know how you are doing.
3930 helpful answers
Well treated, many CHF patients can live fairly well for quiet awhile, but they must be closely monitored. The advice to keep in close touch with the medical people is wise. My father-in-law kept fainting, and he was hospitalized, and it was all because his potasium was low from the medications for his CHF. However, had he been driving, it could have been a disaster.

Keep in touch with us for support - it's rough to go it alone. But do keep tabs on her medications and with any tests she needs taken.
Carol
Thank you so much for your support! One of the more difficult parts is that she has been reluctant in the past to let me talk with her doctor. History has it that she will let me come to an appointment if I ask, and then her doc and I can be candid. But, I know, if I called her doc, they would seek my mom's permission.
She is fiercly independent, and I support that......but there is a fine line, and I do not know where it is.
The other day she came home after going to the grocery, and I went down to help her with bags. One side of her face was completely sagging....like a stroke.........she said it was low sugar, and that she would be fine soon. She was slurring her words and her eyes were "funny".........I had my hand on the phone for 911, and by that time she was upstairs.....she took a snooze, and was fine again.
It scared me badly.
How do I deal with HIPA at my mom's age?

And, can anyone suggest some reading about living with an elder approaching their death experiance?
Thank you.
Nancy
3930 helpful answers
If I may be so bold, my book "Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories," has helped many, I am told, through these experiences. The stories are very short, and those of real people. Each stands alone. It's available on Amazon. I think there's a chapter on this site, even.

HIPAA is hard to deal with, so your mother should sign something now. You also need to get a health directive. One way that helps (sometimes) is to say, "Mom, I'm getting my health stuff set up so someone can help me if I need it (you fill in the blank with the person who you would name). That an get her many elers thinking, "Oh, it's not just because I'm old. Anyone can have a need for help."

Then make sure to sign papers (your clinic should have them) and suggest she do the same, so you can help her should she need it.

She should also have a health directive (so should you). Even a living will from the clinic is at least something, if she won't see an attorney for a health directive (Or most states have them online you can download - that would be preferable to the clinic one).

I know how you feel about the independence and "where is that line?" Do remember that she is making her own choices, so if something happens that you couldn't help because she fought it - that was her choice. You don't need to feel guilty.

That experience with the sagging face and slurring words sounds like maybe she had a mini-stroke. They sometimes signal a stronger risk for a full-scale stroke (not always). Her doctor should know about that, too.

I'm glad she will let you go to the doctor with her. It's time to get there and talk to them about the HIPAA forms, for sure. You can do that together if she'll go.

Carol
ohhhhhhhh, I need help.......I keep hoping it will come. My mom's car "died" some months ago, and I was grateful for the intervention! I hoped that it would not be repaired, BUT the mechanic is doing his job. He is putting a NEW engine in the car (WHO DOES that anymore!), and I rue the day it is finished. My mom has perked up....she is happy, sharp tongued and critical of everything. I am supposing this has to do with her feeling she is regained her POWER. Her DRIVINGGGG POWER! Her freeeeeeeeeedom! sigh. She does not see well (she has cataracts), and she does not hear well either. She depends on a walker, and is slow and weak. She is glorying in chnages her car insurance, and getting ready for the day she will drive her car again. I am TERRIFIED! I contacted her doc t have her call my mom for a "hey, howyadoin call", and get her in for a check. I DO NOT want to be the one to burst my mom's bubble...........I want to feel the doc would check her eyes, and insist she go for her surgery. I hide in my room..............
3930 helpful answers
You are wise to have a third party - doctor, DMV people, police - whomever it takes, to do the dirty deed. It's one of the hardest things we have to do. It's too bad you can't get the mechanic to say, "You know, I thought I could fix this thing, but it's just not right, yet." But I suppose he has to do what he's hired to do.

Does your mom go to a church? Is there a priest, pastor or other religious leader who can help? You will not be able to handle this alone.

Please let us know how you are doing.
Carol
I had to call the Secretary of State and ask them to assess both my parent's driving, stating the reasons I believed they were unsafe drivers. Mom blacked out, so that's automatic "no driving" for six months. But she's on a lot of pain meds, too, so no driving ever while on them...Doctor and her Pharmacist said so! As for Dad, his Physician wrote the appropriate paperwork stating that he was an unsafe driver. If her Doc thinks she should/should not drive, ask him to fill out a Physician's Statement of Examination for the Driver Assessment and Appeal Division of the Department of State. If he says no, they have to abide by that, will send your Mom a letter stating her Physician says it's unsafe to drive, and it will not be coming from you, or will it be your responsibility. Don't be scared, get help! Be prepared to wait a long time for the Secretary of State to respond, though. My Mom cried the day she got her letter saying she couldn't drive. But at least it didn't come from me (though I did initiate the process, and asked to remain anonymous). Thank God for a Physician's help! About CHF, have you tried to Google it? You can find a wealth of information on the web. Praying for you, Anne
Anne you did the right thing to get your parents off the road many adult children just hope nothing bad happens our son is a police offercer and he often has to intervene with unsafe drivers and he has told the husband he can no longer drive which he has accepted from him but would not from me and he finally gave up bugging me about driving,
Sigh. I didn't think of DMV or police. Although I have worked with them years ago when my mom was a drunk.
I HAVE thought of going to talk with the mechanic. Although he IS doing is job, I could ask him , under the circumstances, to TAKE HIS TIME!!!!!
My mom DOES have a church, but she doesn't go anymore. The Rev calls her periodically to check in. I could talk with him. I have met him, and I don't have SUCH a great feeling about him. He seems too in to himself...I could be wrong, and would be willing to try again. What about the DMV....how would they fit in the picture....what would that "look" like?
I have a brother, but he is far away....figuratively and actually!
Thank you so much.
As all the others here, I am grateful for the support.
How did I get myself in to this position?!!! LOL!
Thank you Anne and Austin for this information.
Austin: How does one go about alerting the police?
This all is so hard.
Nancy

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