1. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I haven't been posting much regarding my mother simply because we've been on an even keel for a while. I moved her to a shared room about 6 weeks ago and I don't think she registered any of it.

    She doesn't speak much, a bit of gibberish or repeating what I say. She needs to be fed but can eat very well. A regular meal, no purée or minced for her. She has been in a wheelchair for just over a year now. But she laughs a lot and seems content (finally) so I am grateful.

    She has now developed atrial fibrillation. Essentially it is a heart arrhythmia which can make the sufferer 2 to 7 times more likely to have a stroke. There is no pain or anything that I am aware of - it was found by her routine ECG. I've agreed to have her put on a blood thinner as the best response.

    It's an odd thing - I've posted before on how I wanted things to be over. My sister pointed out to me how, if we did nothing, Mum could have a massive stroke and die. With all of my emotional detachment, I'm simply not ready to let her go yet.
  2. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Joanne, my mother had atrial fibrillation for many years before her death. She made the decision to not go the heavy duty (e.g wafarin) therapy route, primarily because at the time and in her location she would have had to travel via taxi or public transport 15 miles each way several times a week for monitoring, at least intially. Not ideal. She did use asprin for several years before bleeding became a problem, and it was several years after that that she had her first stroke. When she was finally somewhere where she could be monitored (i.e. the extra care facility) she was put back on the asprin and I don't know whether that did the trick or not, but she didn't have another stroke. My point being that a stroke may not kill you, it might quite possibly leave you in worse case but still alive. So, if I had to do it all again, I think I would have pushed harder for an effective regimen of blood thinners.
  3. connie

    connie Registered User

    Mar 7, 2004
    Bless you Joanne for telling us how you feel.

    There are always two sides to everything, no right or wrong. Take care now,
  4. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    Since my mother is already in a home, the monitoring will be easy to do. She'll be on warfarin. I finally met the doctor for the home a month or so ago. Considering she's been there over 4 years, that's something! He had had a few run-ins with my aunt so I think he was pleasantly surprised to find out not everyone in my family is either demented or just insane. :D

    My mother seems to be happy - smiling & laughing. I can ask for nothing more.
  5. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Absolutely. Also, of course, they'll be able to make sure she doen't have the things she's not supposed to have with wafarin - brocolli comes to mind. I feel more than a trifle bitter that her GP took her off the asprin when she had the bleeding, but didn't take the time to work out why ths was happening (I subsequently found out that she wasn't dissolving her dissolvable asprin in water, just swallowing them) nor did she make any effort to put something in it's place. It might not have made any differnce, but it might have. It's one thing if you could be certain sure that a stroke would be massive and fatal, but things don't work like that.
  6. Grannie G

    Grannie G Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 3, 2006
    Dear Joanne,

    After a great deal of suffering your mother now seems content. If she were to have a stroke, because of her present condition, there`s no knowing how it would leave her. It`s the not knowing that has enabled you make the decision to continue to try to keep her as comfortable as possible, and if warfarin is one way to do it, that`s how it should be.

    Although you have wanted things to be over, I`m sure you do not want them to be over by your hand. Nor would you want to be responsible for possibly making things worse for your mother by witholding permission to give her the warfarin.

    It`s a very fine line between what most of us believe we would do to alleviate suffering and the withholding of treatment which could then cause further suffering.

    This isn`t a case of switching off life support. Your mother is not yet at that stage.

    Love xx
  7. DeborahBlythe

    DeborahBlythe Registered User

    Dec 1, 2006
    Joanne, I'm really glad that your mum is finding some enjoyment. I'm so pleased. Someone at work mentioned that her own mother has Alzheimer's and is still going strong at 92. Then she said afterwards " Really, she has lived too long" and I was quite shocked. Old age is indeed a mixed blessing but I couldn't help thinking that maybe one reason people say this about their loved ones is that it is such a challenge , even now in the whizzy twenty first century, to support elderly people appropriately. The elderly people have exhausted society's capacity to care creatively. They haven't lived too long: we have run out of the will or the resources to look after them.

    One day last week I found my mother had been left in her bedroom and was lying, dressed, on her bed soaking up some sunshine. I had been told that she 'didn't want to get up today', and I was a bit fearful about what I might find. She didn't have her dentures in but was unbelievably cheerful. When I asked if she was OK she answered 'Oh yes, thanks, I am having a lovely time' and then added that she would like some lunch please, STRAIGHTAWAY.

    I can't tell you how much better it makes me feel when my mother perks up and acts like this. She was just like a teenager deciding to have a duvet day, and continued to be funny and quirky whilst I fed her her lunch. I don't, of course, have any idea what she was like as a child but my mother now seems to be going through a sort of ( relatively) carefree childhood and it makes my spirits soar, even though I know she is never going to walk again or be her former self.

    I'm sure that the doctor was delighted and astounded to find that you didn't have a niche anywhere along the familial cookiness spectrum. I'm so glad too your mum is surprising you with her tenacity and capacity to enjoy herself. It goes without saying that she is very lucky to have you as a daughter.
  8. Skye

    Skye Registered User

    Aug 29, 2006
    SW Scotland
    Joanne, it sounds as if your mum is content, and even happy. You now have the chance to rediscover your relationship, and that's such a blessing.

    I'm sorry she now has atrial fibrillation, but I'm sure you're doing the right thing in agreeing to the warfarin.

    A very human reaction. How ever much we want to spare our loved ones further suffering, when it comes to the crunch, few of us are ready to let go.

    Enjoy the rest of the time you have with your mu, Joanne, however long or short.

  9. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    sending Joanne my love hugs

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