Thursday, May 25, 2006

Heart

I've not been posting because I haven't really been anywhere or done anything or seen anyone. Not even I want to write blog entries day after day of "was in pain. Ate necessary food, did necessary hygiene procedures, bought necessary groceries, got knackered out just by doing these very basic necessary things. Rinse and repeat."

Today I have something to write about though, and that's my mum.

My relationship with my mum is complicated at best. I love her dearly, there's no question about that, but I often feel rejected by her, or as if I've let her down by becoming ill, or like she only really wants me around when I am going to be actively useful to her. Of course she does help me when she can with the barriers caused by my disability and I know I am very lucky to have her on the scene and not living too far away. That said, there is a part of me thinking our relationship may improve once I no longer live in the same town and she won't have to feel obliged to meet any of my care needs at all - once I stop being a "burden" on her. But I digress.

Earlier today I was at her house, being actively useful - I was running my brain into the ground trying to diagnose and fix a problem with her computer. Mum appeared in the doorway and asked me if I wanted another cup of tea, I looked up... and almost fell off my chair asking her to sit down, please.

She wasn't simply pale, she was matching the magnolia walls. Except her lips, which were blue.

I was terrified. I actually was having to check that I had a phone within reach and try and turn my brain around from computer stuff and remember all my first aid stuff, and carefully ask her how she was feeling while remaining outwardly calm and smiling. I don't know how emergency workers do that last bit.

Luckily she's already had a routine ECG (heart monitor) that showed up that she has already had one heart attack, so she has this spray stuff for when things are being worrying, that she's supposed to try first. A squirt of that under her tongue, and a few moments later a tiny bit of colour was starting to come back and I think we both relaxed a bit.

The worst problem is not knowing what the exact problem is or what is to be done about it.

My parents called an ambulance one morning, a few days after mum was told that she'd already had one heart attack and could well have another, on an occasion when the spray didn't help matters. The ambulance turned up, checked her over, established that she wasn't exactly having a heart attack, but her heart was doing something very wrong, scooped her up and took her to the nearest A&E, at the James Paget, where she had a pulse monitor put on her finger, was given a bunch of forms to fill out and was left to it.

Six hours later, she still hadn't seen a doctor, but my stepdad was finally advised that there was no need to get an overnight bag as she wouldn't need to stay in overnight. That was a load of rubbish, mum did end up staying in the A&E overnight - not because of how poorly she was, just because the doctor they wanted to check her over wasn't going to be in until the following morning.

The following morning she did get to see a doctor for a few minutes, who gave her another prescription and a note for her GP and sent her off home. Frankly I wish the ambulance boys had been able to just tell her to make an appointment with her GP - she'd have seen a doctor sooner and been a lot more comfortable in the meantime.

So much for accident and emergency. I think they pretty much guaranteed that mum won't be calling an ambulance for heart attack symptoms again.

Now we're waiting for an outpatient appointment from Papworth, supposedly one of the best heart places in the UK. It's been over a month now and we still don't have so much as a letter saying when the appointment might be, so mum still doesn't know exactly *what* is wrong with her heart, and therefore can't have the most appropriate treatment...

Across the water in Germany, my grandfather (mum's dad) had his tenth angioplasty this week. Apparently there isn't a frequent flyer plan. But my GP has redefined "family history of heart trouble".

All this makes me wonder how it is that my own heart gives the sort of ECG reading that makes the technicians jealous?

7 comments:

Roxanne Hartson said...

eep. I hope it gets sorted. I find myself worrying about my dad for much the same reason. He has that little spray thing ever since he started suffering from angina pains. He's very cavalier about it (ex squaddie won't admit to pain) He worried my mum when he takes the dog for a walk and is out for longer than usual and never takes his mobile.
I do hope they pull their finger out and get your mum and appointment

Mary said...

That at least is where I'm onto a winner. There was an occasion just before Christmas where I went to the cinema with a friend without telling anyone. Obviously I wasn't answering my home phone and my mobile was off. After a couple of hours mum was *really* worried about me, so she came to my flat, I wasn't there.

The fret she had about what might have happened to her sick daughter gave me a strong bargaining chip when it came to persuading her to keep her own mobile phone turned on and handy (we tend to text each other to say if we're turning off for a reason).

My mum tries to be cavalier ("I've survived one already" and so on) but I think under that she's as worried as anyone else.

Parents, eh?

Deana said...

I found your Blog via Wandering Scribes BLOG. It makes me feel terrible complaining about the tinest things, like the pain I get in my knees (I just blogged about it today infact).

I hope you get an appointment soon, but you should try complaining to your local MP or dropping into their 'surgery' if you haven't already. That often tends to speed things up a little. Also some genuninely do want to help and if there is a problem with your local NHS they wont know about it until told...

My mum suffers hyper-tension and even that worries me, but she has it under control for now. It's a weird transition when the kids start to look after the parents.. mentally or phsically!

I hope you are feeling well today and I think I'll be checking back in to read your blog from time to time. :-)

Mary said...

Just because I have "a lot" of pain, doesn't mean that suddenly everybody else's pain stops.

That'd be like saying that because people in the third world are dying of famine, no one here in the UK has a right to say "cor, I'm getting really hungry!"

squarecircle said...

I know you're intelligent enough not to fall for miracles. Just want to say... don't fall for Wandering Scribe's lies, either. She's a con artist.

Mary said...

This is my blog, not the Wandering Scribe debate board.

It is entirely possible that Wandering Scribe is a con artist of the highest order, using the plight of homeless people for his/her own means.

But I'm a person whose own life has suddenly and unexpectedly gone right down the tubes.

And before that, I worked for a charitable organisation where I met all sorts of people in all sorts of situations and I can categorically state that the situation Wandering Scribe describes herself as being in is by no means unusual in the slightest. The only unusual part is having been interviewed by the newspapers who, this being 2006, were able to include links to her blog.

I know how I would feel if people started saying that I wasn't really who I said I was or in the situation I was in. To sit in my wheelchair longing to have my life and job back while people who've never met me shout "don't believe her! She has a life and a job and goes running five miles every morning!"

IF Wandering Scribe is genuine, can you imagine being shivering and hungry in a cold damp car having got back from the library, where you read a few more job rejections and some blog commenters shouting "don't believe her! She has a house and money and plenty to eat and is laughing at you all!"

And even if she IS making it all up... so what? What have I lost by taking it at face value and offering a few supportive comments? A few minutes here and there. A hell of a lot less than I've lost than if I'd been harrassing and abusing someone who turned out to be a genuinely vulnerable, homeless person. Then I'd have lost my humanity.

TooUnfazed said...

I agree with your comment about acceptance. If someone tells me they are homeless who am I to argue? If someone shares online that they are in a wheelchair and having difficulties then it hurts nobody if I accept it at face value and any comment I make should hopefully be helpful, not hurtful. Someone who reads the comment may be helped by it. But it takes all kinds and all we can do is ignore the naysayers. It would be lovely if just one of them actually spouted a teeny bit of content. I think I will go out and buy that book "Abandoned".