Congestive heart failure is an evil S.O.B.

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My mom is the last stages of CHF. The nursing home called me Saturday Night my mom was having chest pain...3 nitro's later still a 9 out of 10. I told her (a new nurse) that morphine would help and she had a morphine order from the doctor. Hospice had released her again because she was stable and since they released her she has taken a turn for the worse. Imagine that ?? When I got to the nursing home Saturday night after the morphine it was a 5. I asked the nurse for another dose (she can have it ever hour) and I stayed with her until it went away and she went to sleep. Today her breathing is very ragged. I took her up front to have her oxygen changed out it was almost in the red. She said that helped. Her lunch arrived when I got her back to her room and she was still so out of breath eating was difficult. I asked them to check her oxygen level it was 94.....just eating was wearing her out and me too cause I caught myself trying to breath for her. I even wondered if maybe she had a heart attack Saturday Night since she was so much worse today. I don't want to watch this I don't want her to just drown in all that stuff in her lungs. She does not seem to be too anxious, but I sure am. I feel like I am losing my mind. The staff told me to stop coming everyday, take a break, but when I don't go I am just fixated on her.example being I am at work right now typing this and that is after goggling CHF and reading the same thing over and over again. The head nurse and I are really close at the nursing home and she assures me they have it under control and are watching her ..I cannot get away from it and I think I am losing my mind. I take Effexor and have for a few years for anxiety and 1/2 mil of Xanax for those completely out of control moments which just seem to come more frequently. I am fixer and I feel just helpless. I have talked to hospice social workers, nurses...See I know no one but the good Lord has the answer and I ain't getting it..I asked today if she should be in bed, but the nurse they would like her to stay up as long as she isn't anxious and she isn't. The breathing and the coughing are just so hard to watch. I want to know how the story ends..I want to know what I am going to witness before the end. I don't want her to her to struggle. I am a 59 years old shouldn't I be able to handle this better ? I have always thought I was strong now I am not so sure. Also, still waiting on results from my MIL's MRI and CT for her rectal cancer. I know it sounds like a pity party, but it is actually a I am losing my mind party. Rant over and out... ;-)

8 Comments

"I am fixer and I feel just helpless."

Oh ya. Fixers -- and American culture encourages fixers -- probably have the worst time coping with chronic diseases that can't be fixed. Not only do we ache for our loved one, but it hurts to face the truth about our limitations. If you've had a counselor in the course of the drugs you take, this would be a good time for a few sessions with that person.

A friend who has Lewy Body Dementia (another evil SOB chronic illness) recently had a heart attack. On Facebook he had this to say about caregivers and his support network: They are "helpless in the end result, but not helpless in the struggle."

We have to accept that the outcome is out of our hands. We can be there for our loved ones through the struggle. It sounds like your mother is in a very good setting for her current needs. Do what you can to give Mom some bright spots in her days. Please lighten your own burden by jettisoning any guilt or dismay over not being all-powerful.

Hugs to you, your mother, and your mother-in-law.
Jeannegibbs, I do know you are right..everyone that answers and has been where I am understands. I have read things on here that breaks my heart. Being a fixer is a curse...lol . I watch the visitors at the nursing home( the few that do come ) and most are fine as I wring my hands. Life and death are a given aren't they ? I pull it all together walk in and I see a change in her and I start my walk down the hall to get an "expert" to fix it. As crude as this may sound I had a yellow lab that I loved to death he was my dog....he started having seizures at 7 year old. We put him on seizure meds then he started retaining fluid put him on meds for that then he started seizing everyday so we had to have him put down. Watching all the seizures was the hardest part ....putting him down was a relief, I missed him terribly but I knew it was the right thing. All this with my mom and since my MIL's growth was malignant and is rather large I am sure we are beginning a journey with her. I know the journey is the hardest the end is a relief...missing them is so much easier than watching them suffer. Such is life......
I just got off the phone with my daughter and she said "Mom it is time to switch gears" we are in another phase. I know I need to trust the experts that do this everyday and when they said they have it under control they do.....sooooo I am going to try and flip the switch.. prayers are appreciated.
Is the switch you are flipping from "fixer" to "loving daughter"? If so, I wish you every success. Sounds like Mom has a lot of profession fixers around. She just needs a loving daughter from you. Hugs.
Today i feel clearer....i dont know what i will do everyday is something different. My intentions are always good. This is what i have been given and i will try to get it right for the both of us. I sat outside in my swing last night looking at the stars and it relaxed my brain soooo today is a new day of hopefully pulling it together better. Thank you for your comments
from the moment my mom was put on hospice care i began reading about end of life matters online . i must say as the end drew closer my mindset was geared to the point that there were no surprises . mobility loss , muscle wasting , increased sleep , and eventually food and water are rejected . thats all textbook stuff . in addition we had complete dementia insanity that was to play out . that also went just like was expected . paranoia , delusional thinking , skewed reasoning , OCD , and eventually full blown visual hallucinations for several weeks . there is no way in the world any of that would have made sense had i not been so well read .
reading makes you realize that your situation isnt unique .
our journey took a full year . the situation is going to be ever changing and never for the better . compassion and support is all you can offer . you have to be kind and matter of fact - like with the patient . they dont need anxiety or unwarranted optomism from you . they understand theyre at the end of their life and just want you to bravely walk beside them .
I've watched many loved ones die. Death is not a monster,it's a natural progression of life, they know this and are ready for it.
It isn't the horrible skeleton with a scythe.It's a freedom that gives them wings and set them free from their pain.
It may seem a difficult "passing" to the onlooker but the dying usually embrace it's tap on their shoulder.
What you think you see will seem as if they are physically suffering, struggling to hold onto life but that's only the body letting go.Most suffer little pain as they come closer to death. We all die.The hardest part of dying is watching those around us suffer because of it.Tell your mother is alright,Tell her you will be alright though you miss her. Make peace with yourself.You can not stop death but you can do her life proud by living yours guilt free.
I was with my brother when he passed he had a brain tumor. I will say his death was not hard to watch. His breathing was rattling, but other than that it was quite. I have read quite a bit on the end of life and they all seem to be different. She is delusional. She told me that an animal was eating her birds out of the feeder she took me to the window and it was a piece of black plastic they put in flower beds. She said that is a full grown one and I watched it eat the head off of a pregnant dove !! I have learned to deal with those, I have learned to deal somewhat with her mean streaks...I decided that instead of going during my lunch everyday I am going to go every other day and the days I do not go I am going to walk during lunch. I think that is going to make me feel better which in turn will make me the loving daughter she needs because I do tend to take control of things that are not mine to control. I had a friend whose father passed last week at the same NH my mom is in. He was in CHF too she talked about his head craning back and he never moved it back, the sounds he made it all unnerved me...I will read more, exercise more and prepare myself for what could be a long journey or a very short one. My mom and I have discussed her death quite a bit. My job is to make sure that staff makes her is as comfortable as they can which they have assured me they will. Thank you for help.

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