Follow
Share

My mom had a stent put in 5 months ago. The first few weeks were fine, but since then she is calling 911 about once a week and is being taken to the hospital. She says she has chest pain, but when they run test nothing shows up. After she is there for an hour or so she is fine and wants to go home. I think these are panic attacks. I can't keep this up.

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Find Care & Housing
I'm sorry if you thought I was unsympathetic, I'm really not.

Also, although I realise you're very much focused on your mother - naturally you are - it would have been helpful to know that your stepfather has dementia. And, so, is your mother his primary caregiver?

I hear what you say about their refusing to move. I even respect their point of view. But surely that's got to be the issue to press, don't you think?

I begin to wonder if the chest pains and the panic calls might be a kind of covert cry for help. How long has your mother been in her current situation?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Is your mom overweight?

My nephew was doing this dashing to the hospital with chest pains.
He finally had surgery, lost the excess weight and is doing great.

Took a couple of years but his symptoms subsided after he lost the weight.

He had earlier had a heart attack and knew how it felt before so was sure he was having another.

He was terrified until he took control of his weight...which wasn’t easy.

Each time they went in to do another stint, that wasn’t the problem. But they kept doing the same thing over and over.

See what else could be causing the problem.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Something you may want to ask the doctors to investigate the next time she has an attack, is to have a gastro doctor check her out for GERT or Barrett’s Esophagitis. My DH was going to the hospital frequently for heart attack symptoms, but they couldn’t find anything amiss until his heart doctor sent him for gastro testing and upper GI. Omeprazole and diet modification got rid of the symptoms. Just a thought.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I have anxiety attacks as well, and I can testify to the fact that to a non-medically trained person, you absolutely think you are having a heart attack. If your heart is already compromised, that’s an even bigger worry for you.

But, my mom, in the beginning stages of dementia, began calling 911 at least once a week. One time it was because she couldn’t make it to the bathroom and had an accident. When she went to the NH, she also wound up in the ER twice with “chest pains” that turned out to be nothing.

Absolutely take her back to her doctor and have them reassure her that all is well. A low dose of an anti-anxiety med might not be a bad idea either. You certainly cannot block 911 on her phone. That is way too great a risk. Can you try having her call you first? Check with the management office in their community to see if there is a Visiting Nurse Program. My mom had one in her’s and the nurse came out once a month for well-checks.
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

I don't want to sound callous, and I do appreciate that this is stressful, but you can't keep what up?

Your mother lives with her husband in a supported community. She is calling 911 independently and reporting her own symptoms. She has her own doctors. Why are you getting involved?

If you're tearing off to the ER every time this happens, stop it! Thank your stepdad for letting you know and ask him to keep you informed by text.

Then let them all deal with their own problems. Your mother's cardiologist can investigate and recommend further management options. Your stepfather can learn to calm and reassure her (there are techniques for this, suggest he ask for training). Your mother can also be taught self-help strategies. 911 and ER may well get pissed off with her, but they too have their own procedures for dealing with persistent wolf-cryers.

Your mother might be experiencing panic attacks, but then again she might have angina - and if you'd had a stent put in and then felt angina symptoms you might panic, too!

The American Heart Association publishes a brochure which might make good reading for you and (subject to your approval) your stepfather and your mother. Have a look at https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/order-american-heart-association-educational-brochures/understanding-angina-brochure-our-guide-to-managing-chest-discomfort.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report
sleeplessinwa Nov 15, 2018
I am the one who gets the calls to pick her up at the emergency room when she calls in the middle of the night once a week spending 5 or 6 hours there and working doctors know what’s going on I’m getting involved because she is my mom The apartment is 55 and over and there is no support there also my step dad does not drive and has dementia so he can't help I am new to this so thanks for the kind words
(1)
Report
If you think these are panic attacks, then let her doctor know about these spells. There are anti-anxiety medications that can help as well as coping techniques she could learn from a counselor or maybe a geriatric psychiatrist. As difficult as these episodes are for you, they are fall worse for your mother; she really does feel like she is going to die. Very occasionally, panic attack stress does cause real heart attacks or strokes in the elderly.

Be careful about getting her labeled as a nuisance, particularly with her stent history. My father went through a period where he called 911 over his panic attacks too although we never reached a weekly rate. When he had a heart attack a couple of years later the EMTs were reluctant to transport him because his vital signs were normal when they arrived after he had taken nitro tablets and aspirin. They only transported because I insisted (starting calmly taking down names and flatly told them if anything happened to my father in the next few hours there would definitely be a very public compliant followed by a lawsuit). He coded during transport to the hospital and it took over 2 minutes to revive him; the hospital immediately removed a blockage and placed a stent when he got there. If my father had not been transported he would be dead.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

What is her living situation? Is she on her own or is she in a facility?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report
sleeplessinwa Nov 14, 2018
She lives with my stepdad but she runs the show they are in a 55 and over community and refuses to move
(0)
Report
Does 911 have any system for controlling what really are nuisance calls? Could you take the phone away? Could you block 911 from the phone’s dialling system, and get her to phone family instead? This is far too stressful for you, and also a huge waste of public money. Talk to the doctor – perhaps there could be a special ‘pill’ for her when she has exactly this symptom, which you think is probably a panic attack.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report
worriedinCali Nov 14, 2018
Yes there is a system for nuisance calls but they have to transport her to her to the hospital if she requests it. You cannot block 911 in the US.
(1)
Report
See 1 more reply
This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.

Ask a Question

Subscribe to
Our Newsletter