Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Week in Review - What Stresses You?

So, last Friday I took Frank (hubby) to the Emergency Room. He'd been having trouble breathing when he laid down for a few days. He was thinking it was chest congestion from this seasonal time of year, but after 4 nights of his sitting up in a chair rather than sleep in bed, I decided to look further.

It seemed more than just congestion to me. He was really struggling to get air and very fitful. Then I remembered that he had also been having issues with swelling (fluid) in his legs, ankles, feet. A search on WebMD revealed that these symptoms (along with a dry cough - which he also had) were most probably a serious heart related problem.

So off to the ER we went. The ER because we are new to this area, there are no clinics, and you can't get in to a Doc as a new patient for 4 months (which I found out when I tried to schedule an appointment for me).

Upon hearing his symptoms, the ER whisked him right in, and sure enough.... MAJOR heart issue. Not a heart attack, but a heart arrhythmia. Seems the top and bottom parts of your heart should be beating in conjunction at around 60 - 80 beats per minute. His top part was "fluttering" (instead of beating) at 165!

They also found his blood pressure was out of control, as well as his blood sugar at over 500 (should be around 100) - and probably had been for quite some time.

So, in the hospital he stayed while they worked to get all these things under control, and he came home on Tuesday. Now we begin the regimen of insulin shots, 8 daily meds, and dieting to reduce fats, sodium and cholesterol while watching the carbs to control diabetes.

All this is not totally new to me, having gone through some of it with my mother and father. I've been trying to move our eating habits to a healthier direction for a while, but neither of us were quite ready for what seemed like such a stringent regimentation. Now, like so many others, we have no choice.

You move through quite a range of emotions at a time like this. Sometimes it feels like not a big learn to manage a new way. Other times it's very scary - like when the Doctors and Nurses are telling you about the severity of this condition, how much damage has been done to your heart, how blood could be pooling around it, leading to a possible stroke. There's the relief that you "caught it in time" and the struggle not to feel guilty or stupid when they ask why you "waited so long".

There's my inability to sleep well or think straight for the 4 days he was gone. There's my feeling I need to step up and "be there" for him when instead my anxiety is skyrocketing and I'm just in a state of shock - in a fog. There's the little irritations that lead to snapping at each other when you are really trying to comfort.

But he's home now, and we're working at it all as best we can.

That's the week in review regarding my DH Frank.

My next entry will be that same week (and the period leading up to it) with regard to my beautiful daughter (Beth) who has Schizo-affective disorder.

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