So, my mom had an arrhythmia before her shoulder surgery - which went well, by the way, her new shoulder joint is in! - but the cardiologist cleared her for the surgery, said it was all from pain. Sounded reasonable, figured he did some tests to confirm that. She was very altered after the surgery, kept saying the room looked like a spaceship and everything was sparkly. Could have been from the drugs or because she just had major surgery.
When my sister came in Mom’s hospital room the next day though, there was a throng of people standing around her, rushing in and out of the room, alarms blaring and whatnot. Sis said Mom was dripping sweat, barely able to breathe, no color at all in her face. Her blood pressure was through the roof, her heart rate was completely out of whack. Sis asked Mom how she felt and Mom said, “I think I’m dying. I think I’m about to die.” Sis was freaked the fuck out. They found Mom had pneumonia - not a surprise for an elderly woman laid up in bed for days - and they started draining the fluid from her lungs. I went up that afternoon and Sis said Mom looked a ton better, but I thought she looked awful. Her skin was completely grey, she looked like a zombie. She was still altered, convinced my sister had taken her to a gas station for lunch. And she told me three times about her scary sparkly spaceship room.
The next day Sis went to work and halfway through the day, she got a phone call that the cardiologist had declared that Mom had had a heart attack the day before. So that thing my sister witnessed that seemed like a scene from the TV show ER? Was actually our mom having a heart attack. The nurse wanted Sis to come to the hospital, because they were going to sedate Mom for a cath test and they might need consent for other tests afterwards. Plus, Mom was really scared and kept asking for her. The test showed that Mom had three major blockages and advanced heart disease.
How often Mom goes to the doctor, how many issues they screen her for, how many tests they do...and yet, somehow, they missed all this. I mean, she has major circulation issues, wouldn’t they constantly be testing the heart because of this? The cardiologist said she probably has had several little heart attacks over time and not known it. So all those days Mom would call us and say she didn’t feel good and something wasn’t right and she could barely breathe and all that? Probably her having a heart attack. I just…I don’t know how they missed all this!!
Anyways, the cardio surgeon says she is too weak for open heart surgery, we should put stents in. The cardiologist who does the stents, says her blockages are too big for that, we should do open heart surgery. The solution? Do nothing. They are going to try to get her blood pressure down, send her to in-patient rehab for her shoulder, get her strength back up, get her more stable and then do open heart surgery. How long are we talking here - 2 weeks, 2 months, 6 months? No idea. Literally, right now, they don’t even know how long it will take to right her blood pressure, they can’t say timelines at all. So we wait. And hope she doesn’t have a heart attack that kills her in the meantime.
She is a lot less altered now, seems aware of what is happening, says she understands she may not make it through this and that if she does, there is a good chance she may not get to go home again. I guess there is nothing more to do. I am not sure waiting is the best option, but I am also not sure there is a best option. So…we wait.