Monday, December 5, 2016

Update on Mom.....Well....Wadda Ya' Know.......(see previous post)

Dad just called with the latest update.  Mom's tests today once again showed absolutely nothing wrong...so.....guess what the specialsts have decided:  that the problems are related to her STOMACH!!!!  

Guess I'm not always as dumb as I appear.....surprise, surprise......

The doctor gave Mom a massive dose of Gaviscon at noon and it had no effect on the acid reflux she finally admitted to having had most of last night.  So, another dose was adminstered an hour later, still with no effect.  

Mom called Dad on the hospital phone a few minutes ago to tell him what happened and that nothing has been said yet about her going home today after all. What Dad and I are hoping is that she will be sent within the hospital to someone who specializes in acid reflux and other stomach problems for more tests. However, if that does not happen, as soon as she IS released, Dad is making an appointment immediately with her GP to ask for a referral to a stomach specialist.

I think I am even more concerned now than I was initially.  She finally admitted to Dad how often her attacks of acid reflux have been happening...for the past 2 YEARS and of course she has not said one word to anyone about the increasing frequency and duration of the episodes.  Acid reflux can turn into so many other serious conditions, so now I don't know whether to be even more worried about what is happening to her health. She has had acid reflux for at least a decade but we didn't know how much worse her symptoms have been in the past 2 YEARS!!!  O MOM!!!!

Guess I will find out eventually. Poor Dad is so tired today.  The maintenance crew started clearing his facility's parking lot before 4am after some snowfall and then at 5am the sidewalk cleaning equipment started buzzing. His bedroom window looks right out on that area. Dad sounds terrible today so I hope he is getting some sleep even though he and a driving friend are on standby to pick Mom up if she is released today.  Mentally I am still on standby too. If something is seriously wrong with mom's stomach and there is the smallest thing I can do to be helpful to her and Dad I will be on a plane bound for Calgary whether I am welcome or not!

Our First Blizzard Has Begun

We've been under a heavy snowfall and wind warning since early this morning but now, just before 3pm, it is finally arriving.  At the moment we are expecting anywhere between 15 and 30cm by the morning.  The temperatures forecast last week for today are proving to be correct.  The temperature has dropped from a high of 0 yesterday to about -7C or so today, with the overnight heading to -16C tonight and then down close to -25C to -30C by the weekend.  Yup, it is indeed winter!!

My husband's phelgmy throat and cough are definitely much better today but he has the same lack of energy and mental alertness that plagued me as well with this crazy virus.  He is doing a few short work emails at home today in between naps and tv sports but decided we don't really need to go out to get RO water this afternoon.  I can always go for it in a day or two once the streets are cleared of any heavy snowfall.  When he doesn't want to leave the house I know he is still not very well.  Tomorrow he will put in a half day at the office with the Bishop and the Chief Financial Officer as they all try desperately to get caught up on the year end work they were supposed to be doing last week when my husband was too ill to get out of bed.  How many hours he works Wednesday and Thursday will depend on how tomorrow goes.  Friday he has to take time out of the office again, but this time to attend the funeral of our beloved parishioner whose stroke on Friday took her life last night.  So grateful he was able to get to the hospital yesterday to pray for her and to comfort the family.  A long time minister friend of theirs will do the funeral service, so that is one less committment for my  exhausted husband.  We both feel very sad to lose this dear lady, so devoted to the church.  Her absence is going to leave a huge hole in our congregation.

No word yet from Dad on how Mom is faring with today's tests.  Based on her past medical history I can't help but wonder if the problem is actually related to some chronic stomach problems and exacerbated by her panic attacks.  Obviously no one is going to listen to my idea as I am not in any way a medical person, but I can't help wondering now that nothing seems to be showing up that has been confirmed to be related to her heart and arteries.

I am going to go and do the lunch dishes...at 3pm!  Everything around here is happening later than usual. I slept in until 9am and my husband didn't awaken until nearly 10am. By the time I got to the grocery store it was well after 10am and most of the basics were sold out all ready to shoppers who learned of the blizzard threat a few hours before I did.  Fortunately I was able to get everything I needed except our favourite breads, so some pitas will end up with breakfast toppings on them at some point if I still can't get bread after our meagre supply runs out.

As I wash dishes I will be able to see the snow blowing by. It isn't too thick and heavy yet but the wind is picking up again. I am so grateful my husband has no highway drives to manage until the weekend.  Thank you Lord!!!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Mom's Emergency Angiogram Today!

After a most enjoyable morning at our own church service and then the fun of singing in the United Church choir, I came home and tried to reach my mother in the cardiac unit in Calgary.

I got put off by the unit clerk, I tried to leave a message for mom that it seemed the clerk wasn't going to bother trying to deliver, the unit nurse was with someone else and all in all it was kind of a disturbing and frustrating call.  So, after trying a couple of more times I gave up and went to community choir practise for the afternoon.

I just got home when Dad called.  He went to the hospital in mid afternoon to see mom and she wasn't there. She had been moved 2 floors up.  Having been through the same procedures and tests himself more than a few times at the same hospital, Dad knew that meant she had been given the angiogram all ready and was in intensive care for recovery.

Apparently she had a lot of discomfort in her chest last night so the specialist and surgeon decided that they didn't want to wait any longer and made room for her in OR today.

The results of the angiogram are both good and confusing at the same time.

The Good News: there is NO arterial blockage whatsoever.  She is free and clear.

The Confusing News:  there are a couple of possible reasons for the pain and discomfort, but no proof of either right now.  It is possible that for some reason she had an arterial spasm, OR it is possible that a piece of plaque broke off the side of an artery and is making its way out of her system as it goes through the arteries, causing pain as it moves.  Her constant and increasingly severe panic attacks that she has suffered with for years may also play a part.

So, where does Mom stand right now?

Tomorrow the cardiac team is putting together series of tests to attempt to locate internal bleeding, but if they find nothing else physically wrong she will be going home later on tomorrow, with the instructions to dad that if she has another episode like she had the other night, call the ambulance again and they will try to come up with other, more rare possible scenarios.

I am not sure how much I should relax at this point.  Dad is delighted she is likely coming home depending on the outcome of the internal bleed testing and I am too, but I do hope the 2 possiblities they mentioned are what caused the problem.  If that is the case she may never have another experience like she had the other night.  Or it could become something approaching a lifestyle.

None of us know how to feel at the moment.

Well, no angioplasty to get through so that is the good thing and that is what we are going to concentrate on.

O how the entire family appreciates your ongoing prayers while we sort out the rest of this.  

The grandson is going to have one whopping phone bill with all the calls he has made here and to his grandfather trying to keep up with what is going on with his beloved grandma.  As he gets older he has turned into quite the caring man when it comes to his family.  We are certainly enjoying how he cares for us all and hope we can express our concern for him as well and as often.  I also wish we could force him to get to the walk in clinic if he hasn't gone all ready. That family "tough it out alone" thing when it comes to illness is not a good thing for our stubborn son...he is just like his mother that way. Sigh.....

Well.......guess I will post again about mom after I hear from Dad tomorrow about the next set of test results.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Mom's Angiogram Is Scheduled for Monday

Mom has had only 2 short bouts of chest pain since her apparent heart attack Thursday evening.  She is resting, reading, napping and generally getting a huge break from care giving for Dad, who doesn't need quite as much of that as she wants to force upon him, haha.  He has help where he lives to get his eye drops in, his other meds are prepacked by the drugstore, a friend took them shopping the day Mom had her attack so he is well stocked with breakfast and lunch items and he remembered to look at all the utility bills yesterday and phone in the payments.  I am proud of him for being able to still do that when Mom isn't able.  Not sure how many times in a row he could manage that, but this time he did and I am so pleased for that mercy for him.

Mom and Dad had a great visit this afternoon.  He made it down to the guest shop to buy her a new book and a magazine to read, took her some clothes for when she comes home, etc.  He is handling this amazingly well thus far, but I am worried about how he will fare if something goes wrong and Mom doesn't come home after all.

Our son has called every day to check his grandmother's condition.  He is stunned by this event.  He has been very close to her all his life and they understand each other better than any of the rest of us understand either of them.  They are "two folks"!

Tomorrow I will call the hospital and try to talk to Mom for a minute or at least leave a message.  There will be time in between choirs/rehearsals.  After being inside this suite now for 3 days in a row without going anywhere I am starting to climb the walls and am looking forward to the church services and singing tomorrow.  Our own parish will be in shock and very saddened by the news of the bad stroke suffered by one of their members who was her cheery self at church last Sunday.  Such a lovely woman and she has a devoted, wonderful husband.  My shock over mom is nothing compared to what they are going through right now.  It is looking very bad for her.

Well, I am going to pull some dinner out of thin air now as the meat I took out to thaw has not done that.  My husband is at a St. Nicholas service, putting in his 8 minutes playing that part and I pray he isn't completely ill and exhausted when he gets home.  If he made it through and felt well enough to grab a plate of dinner the church is offering then I will make bacon and eggs for myself tonight.  I love having a slice or two of lower sodium pre-cooked bacon once in awhile.  It doesn't look that appealing, but to a diabetic it is a godsend of an occasional treat.

A Relaxing Morning

Other than an hour or so of lying awake reading in the middle of the night, I had a decent sleep.  In fact my husband and I both slept in until 9am.  It felt good.  We are both feeling able to face the day with a certain amount of joy.  His cold seems to have  lightened up a bit at last, so we are both grateful for that.  Now he will have to force himself to continue taking it easy for another 2 or 3 days while he continues to recover and regain his energy for work.

No news from dad yet and it is about 11am where he lives, so I assume there is no news for now. He is going to visit mom this afternoon and then will call me when he gets home.  For now I am assuming no news is good news, as in there has been no significant change for the worse in her condition.  Dad took a sleeping pill last night to get caught up on his rest so I hope and pray that worked for him and he had a peaceful night.

After our late breakfast, we took the Christmas tree apart, stripped off the decorations, shaped out the branches better and then I redecorated it properly.  I cut many of the long strings off the decorations. Now that we don't have a full sized tree they don't need to be dangling so low, weighing down our little Charlie Brown tree and looking silly.  We had a lot of fun doing something that was "just for fun".  There is never much fun going on when people are ill and there are the attached emotional concerns.

Today I think I will focus that part of me that doesn't want to stop worrying at least a bit onto our son and his lung problems.  He sounded just terrible on the phone yesterday, hacking and coughing and clearing his throat again.  Hoping the walk in clinic near his home is open today so he doesn't have to go to the emergency waiting room at the hospital that is also near his home.  It is so grungy and overcrowded it is difficult to get the kind of thorough exam needed for people who are not immediately in need of assessment.

For now, I am heading to my keyboard to practise the choir songs for the United Church choir I am supposed to be singing in tomorrow morning.  My husband is going to attempt to do a short sermon and officiate the service at one of our local parishes who presently lack a priest of their own.  With the way he has been feeling and the problems with his throat I think the congregation will be able to continue to revel in their former priest's habit of only preaching for 10 minutes. We loved their former priest's preaching admontion that sermons should be about Jesus and about ten minutes! hahaha

We got a call last night from a dear friend in Alberta to let us know his very elderly father, a spiritual mentor for my husband many years ago, passed away earlier this week.  Another loss of a dear person beloved by all who knew him. 

And now, just this minute a call that one of our parishioners here in the city had a severe stroke yesterday and is in very bad condition...my husband should not be carrying this cold into the hospital to visit...what to do....aiii yiiii.....

It is just a crappy time of year for elderly people, this winter season.  Sigh....

Friday, December 2, 2016

Thank You Air Canada! Thank You Canada Post!

Canada Post surely did make good on its mailing promises this week.  Besides Mom's and Dad's Christmas box being delivered on the day promised, I just checked the tracking number on a parcel that was to arrive in Alberta today and saw that it was indeed delivered to the community parcel box right on time.  Thank you Canada Post!

AND a huge THANK YOU to Air Canada as well!  My husband was in a frenzy the other night booking January flights for us all over western Canada and made a glaring boo boo on the last booking.  He was paging back and forth for online bookings between 2 different airline companies, one that posts their flight times using am/pm and Air Canada which uses a 24 hour clock.  Somehow, in his cold induced stupor, he got the 2 airlines mixed up and, short version, ended up booking us to fly out of one city the morning of the day we have committments there in the afternoon!  Oops!!  

Fortunately he was able to also cancel the flight online and did that less than an hour after the booking had been confirmed.  We immediately received an email notice of cancellation from Air Canada and a couple of days later received the confirmation that we would receive a full refund for having cancelled within 24 hours of the booking.  How do you spell relief?  I spell it R-E-F-U-N-D!!!

I expect the charge will come on one credit card bill and the refund on the next one, or even the one after that, and we will end up paying for the flight to save on credit card interest, then getting a credit in that amount whenever the airline sends in the cancellation refund.  So, not a perfect solution to our mistake, BUT you never know when a credit that size is going to come in handy later on.  Simply changing the original flight added more than two hundred dollars to the total cost, so it was far less expensive to cancel and rebook at the correct time.  

For me, the point is that we were given the full refund and have confirmation that it is coming.  Perhaps in an odd way, it will end up being like a small savings account in case we have to book another flight using that credit which we aren't expecting to need to book at the moment.  Our son's US visa application results should arrive in February and if he is accepted we may need to take a few days to fly to Vancouver before he makes his arrangements to head south.  If we got our credit by March we could use it to take advantage of the less expensive flights and hotels before the winter rates end! 

Thinking/plotting all the time, that is me! hohoho!

I Gotta Stay Healthy Here!!!

Turns out Mom spent all night last night and most of today in emergency before there was a proper bed ready for her in the cardiac ward.  Dad was able to speak to her twice today and she sounded upbeat despite the seriousness of her condtion.  My mother has no fear of death...something that I am trying to cultivate for myself to the same degree.  She has NO fear!!

Dad is hanging in pretty well all things considered.  He had a solid 4 hours of sleep after his shower this morning and went downstairs to the dining room this evening, having his supper with his tablemates and getting in some visiting.  Oh how I thank God for the move into this seniors' residence a year ago.  If my parents were still living on their own...oooh, I can't even think about it without feeling nauseous!

The nurse Dad spoke to after his last conversation with Mom was encouraging. She said Mom had a long sleep today after her busy night of lab tests and as Dad was about to hang up, Mom was sitting up reading her novel and relaxing.  She had some pain this morning but it was brought quickly under control, thank goodness.

She saw two specialists today. One said she definitely had a heart attack and the other said she definitely didn't, it was a serious warning of clogged arteries or whatever. Sigh.....well, the angiogram is supposed to happen tomorrow and that, Lord willing, will tell the team what they need to do next.  May stents and meds be useful in keeping her alive and active a little longer, since she has refused open heart surgery.  

I am still in shock about this entire situation, but am coming slowly back to earth.

Dad just called to say the huge Christmas gift box I sent to them arrived this afternoon.  It is so big and heavy he had to balance it on his walker to get it to his room. hahaha  Assuming Mom recovers and can come home it will give her a bit of joy to have a few nice presents to open when she is up to it.  Cheer is a good thing after a scary health event.

My husband had a terrible day with his cold virus and had to cancel his attendence once again at important meetings in the office, as well as important regional meetings out of town tomorrow.  I did volunteer to drive him when we thought he might still be able to make it, but now am just as glad he won't because there is freezing rain all over the highway along the route. Whew!!  Thank you Lord we are not going!  He will go to one of the local parishes for a few minutes of being "St. Nicholas" in a special service they are holding early tomorrow evening and has his brief sermon prepared for a morning church service at one of our churches on Sunday morning.  I am guessing he will be back in bed after that for another day and a half of recovery.  At this point he is so antsy to get out and do something that a couple of small events may actually perk him up a bit.  

Our son phoned to check on his grandma and he is on the verge of bronchitis or pneumonia again now that his latest cold is in relapse phase.  I am nearly as freaked out about him as I am about my mother.  Since he was so desperately ill 3 winters ago with pneumonia, his lungs have never been the same and are susceptible to every illness he gets.  He was heading home from work for a nap before having to make an appearance at Vancouver Art Gallery for the opening of a group show he is in: it sounds interesting. It is a tribute to 40 well known and popular Vancouver artist. He counts himself most privileged to be among them.  Hopefully he will be sensible and get himself home early enough to sleep through the night.  I am so grateful he has a walk in clinic near his home that has stood him in good stead for his colds and lung problems.  

So I am surrounded by very ill family members, 2 of them live very far away and that is unnerving. It makes me feel completely helpless.  For people who can afford to just fly around the country whenever they please it must be a tad less terrifying, knowing they can get to loved ones at any time.

Such is life.  I need to stay healthy in case I do find myself airplaning hither and yon to assist other members of the family!