View Full Version : New Term - Congestive Heart Failure

02-24-2007, 06:42 PM
Yup, you guessed it. I got a call from my mom yesterday saying something was wrong but she didn't know what. Of course the nurses at the facility have so many people to take care of that it's hard for them to hear what she's saying. So I go leave work (hoping to only be gone for my lunch hour) and probe enough to find out what's going on with my mom.

Confused, hard to breath, pale as a sheet, headache, sleepy - all of the same things we were dealing with before. So I'm thinking that maybe we have issues with high C02 again...we get to the E.R. and spend 8 hours there - running tests, trying to convince mom to stay, waiting, etc.

They come back with a confirmed diagnoses of Congestive Heart Failure. I learn this from the nurse. The attending doctor NEVER came in to talk to me and my mom refused to be admitted. Oh and she also has pneumonia developing again so they gave her a dose of IV antibiotics. Leviquin (sp?). Nothing I can say is making a difference. I mean, I can't blame her for not wanting to stay, but she's sick. Flluid in lungs, CHF, pneumonia...nope, not having it. So we sign a release, they call the transport and we are waiting again....we get booted out of the room into a hallway (cuz we aren't being treated anymore) and my mom is complaining about waiting.

Today, she is still pale as a sheet, running a low grade fever (which also for my mom is a big thing), confused and sleepy. I'm not sure what to do. She's refusing medical treatment, but continuing dialysis and is still a full code (which means they will all measures to save her life if it comes to that). Her BNP was 420 which by what the ER nurse said isn't extremely high, but coupled with all of her other conditions, is just one more straw on the camel's back.

It's the weekend and all the people that I need to talk to are off so I am making a list of 1000 questions to ask on Monday.

02-25-2007, 11:58 AM
My dad was diagnosed with CHF about five years ago - it's a hard disease to deal with, especially in someone on dialysis. One of the goals of treatment is to get the excess fluid away from the heart so the person can breath better, so diuretics are one of the first treatments usually prescribed. That obviously won't help your mom, so she may need to be dialyzed more often - that's something to bring up with her doctors. CHF is like lupus in that there is no cure, but there are treatments that can make your mom a lot more comfortable, so she doesn't feel so acutely ill. Supplemental oxygen might make it easier for her to breath, and you also want to make sure the head of her bed is raised so she is sitting partly upright - if she tries to lie flat she will probably feel like she is drowning. Pillows help some but it is better if you have a hospital bed where you can raise the head of the bed. There are medications that can help her heart pump more efficiently and relieve some of the distress, but getting her to take them may be more of an issue. If she doesn't want to take more pills, some of the medicatons like nitroglycerin come in a long-acting patch form that might be easier on her. But the big thing right now is probably the dialysis - I hope you are able to reach her doctors soon.

02-26-2007, 06:29 AM
Hi MaryCain,

More medications wouldn't be a problem. They give her the meds that she needs, so it's not really a burden for her to take anymore.

The extra dialysis, now that will be a problem. She won't agree to that. She was on 4 sessions a week for a long time and then she finally got down to her dry weight and was able to maintain and now she won't even enterain the thought of extra sessions....even if it's just one extra session.

I asked her if she was giving in to all of this and if she was tired of fighting. She said no, she wasn't giving in to it, but she's refusing medical care. It's all very frustrating. I'll keep you posted.

02-26-2007, 09:23 AM
Hi Kokopelli

I'm SO sorry to hear about all of this...

Please know that I will be praying for both you and your mother.

Keep well and God bless.