Sunday, November 10, 2013

No sleep. No dialysis. No problem?

In our previous episode of As The Amyloid Turns, Mom and I had just arrived at DFW Airport on Sunday, October 27, after attending the 2013 Familial Support Meeting in Chicago. Mom was exhausted due to not having her CPAP machine for three nights, her blood pressure was high, her most recent dialysis was three days ago, and now she was throwing up. She said she felt a little better after throwing up, and she suspected it was the tuna sandwich she had for dinner at the Cincinnati airport. Since she and I split that sandwich and I felt fine, I had my doubts as to whether it was indeed food related. The shuttle van for the parking lot came to pick us up, and we made the trip to my truck without incident.

On the drive home Mom threw up just a little more (in a plastic bag, thank goodness.) She said she was not having any chest pains or shortness of breath, so I did not feel like it was an emergency room situation at that point. We got to her house and she still said she was not having any chest pains or shortness of breath, and we felt like she was just very tired and needed a good night of sleep with the CPAP machine. So she was going straight to bed, and I went on home, more than a little worried that she might not be able to drive herself to dialysis Monday morning.

My sister Laura called me Monday morning a little before 9:00 AM and said she had been unable to reach Mom on her cell phone. I knew Mom was going to try to get into dialysis early, so I called the dialysis clinic to see if she was there. They said she was not, which got me a little worried. I called her home number first and she answered. She said she had thrown up some more overnight and just did not feel like getting up and going to dialysis. So I started making phone calls to find out who could take Mom to dialysis and when could the clinic take her. In the meantime we found out that she had a mild fever, so the clinic recommended we take her to the emergency room given the fever and the nausea. My sister Laura took Mom to Plano Presbyterian hospital around 11:30 AM.

Laura called my home phone and spoke to my wife a little after noon and said Mom was really incoherent in the ER and her blood pressure was 236/114. So I left work (home) and headed to the hospital. When I got to Mom's room in the ER both my sisters were there, and I saw on the monitor that Mom's blood pressure was just a little over 200. Mom seemed tired but somewhat coherent, so things appeared to be under control. An ER doctor came in and said they were still waiting on the results of the blood tests, but Mom likely just needed dialysis. He said they would be giving her some clonidine intravenously to help bring the blood pressure down. Laura left shortly after the ER doc did, and I stayed a little longer. While I was there a nurse walked in, looked at me and Mom, and said, "Hey, I remember you guys." I recognized her, too. She was Mom's ER nurse on her June 3 visit to the ER, described in the June 18, 2013 blog post. I filled her in on what was going on and I stayed a little longer. Not much was happening in the ER, and Mom's blood pressure was slowly going down, so I went back home.

I had been home less than an hour when my sister Amy called and said the blood work showed Mom's potassium was high. The doctor suggested she have dialysis at the clinic today if possible, because she would have to be admitted in order to have dialysis at the hospital, and she probably would not have dialysis until the following morning (Tuesday). So I called the clinic to see if they could take her, and they said they could. My sister Amy could not take Mom to dialysis due to something she had to do, so I went back to the hospital and took Mom to dialysis after she was finally discharged. I could tell she was simply exhausted on the way there, and not altogether there, especially when I received a phone call from Laura on the way and Mom did not even ask me who called or anything about the phone call.

My sister Amy took Mom home after dialysis, and Laura and Amy were both there to help her eat a little food, take her evening medicine, and get to bed with her CPAP machine. They said she was really exhausted and incoherent. So for the second night in a row, Mom went to bed not doing too well. Hopefully getting a full night of sleep with the CPAP machine will get her a little closer to normal. Well . . .

She felt much better Tuesday morning after a good night's sleep. Maybe not as good as new, but definitely better than she felt on Monday. She happened to already have an appointment Tuesday with her internist for a routine checkup, and my sister Amy took her to that. We will cover that appointment in the next post.

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