Posts Tagged ‘congestive heart failure’

All it can take is one day to change life in a dramatic way.  Sometimes what seems like the worst change can turn out to be beneficial.  But it is hard to see any change as good when it involves being forced by financial woes, a new job, a divorce, or ill health to leave a beautiful garden behind.

On August 19th we went up to Laurie’s mid-Peninsula garden where we weeded and deadheaded.  Not a huge amount had to be done because the garden was still holding up well from having been on the garden tour.  I wafted about for a bit taking photos of the lilies, then got down to the business of light weeding.

Laurie’s health was on the upswing again and she had been able to enjoy the garden a bit more.  As soon as we had finished our light workday, we planned to spend some time visiting with her.

Lily and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’

Lily and orange montbretia

white lily with pink freckles

And then….my cell phone rang.  The sunshine and lilies and the view of the bay fell away as my mother told me that she could not catch her breath and the pain in her shoulder was much worse…and had been since a few hours after we’d had our usual evening phone call the night before.  How long had this been going on?  All night and into this next afternoon.  She kept hoping to feel better but did not.  She did not want us to call 911, so we flung our tools into the car, bade a quick goodbye to Laurie and took the fifteen minute drive back down the Peninsula to mom’s house in Long Beach.

Ocean Beach Hospital

There she sat on her bed, dressed and ready to go, still refusing to have us call 911.  We helped her to the car and on down to the emergency room in Ilwaco.

By the time I had finished the paperwork, she had been given some medication to relieve fluid build up and had been diagnosed with congestive heart failure and a mild heart attack.

We sat with her for hours in the room, refusing her suggestion that we just leave her there and go back to work.  Finally they checked her into a nice room with a window and said they would keep her in for a few days to monitor her condition and decide what steps to take next.  We assured her we would feed her feral feline friends and finally went home, heads full of worries, unable to visualize what would happen in the immediate future.  At least we had been assured that the heart attack was not life-threatening.  Had it been, she would have been taken to Portland, Oregon, on the Life Flight helicopter.  The pilot had been at the ready but was advised that he could stand down.

The pain in mom’s shoulder, and the fact that it had been worse at night when she lay down, was a strong symptom of congestive heart failure’s fluid build up, if only we had known.

The next five days found us visiting the hospital every day, before and after work.  Mom, being such a night owl, found it difficult to shift her sleep time and usually napped during the hospital days.  In the evenings when we fed the wild cats I would take a walk through mom’s garden and wonder what would happen next.

We took a couple of breaks from work and worry and walked down to the beach from our Long Beach job to take pictures at the Kite Festival (next entry).  Planters had to be watered in Ilwaco and Long Beach, public gardens needed grooming and deadheading, but other than necessary watering, our private jobs simply fell away for awhile.

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