This is the person whose Autonomic Nervous System has not been able to maintain a consistent level of blood pressure for the last few years.  It has vacillated up and down and down and up again.  Now the pressure gauge in her body seems to be stuck on high.

After consistently high blood pressure readings yesterday (see last night’s post), this morning at 2am I decided to take her blood pressure.  We spent a couple of hours up most of the time between 1am and 3am.  At 2am it was 200/105.  I decided to take a reading this morning when she first got up so that I could decide whether or not to give her the morning dose of Midodrine.  The Midodine raises her blood pressure to keep her from fainting from the Orthostatic Hypotension — sudden drop in blood pressure when standing, resulting in fainting, what the doctors call syncope.

Her blood pressure reading at 8:45am was 220/120.  Needless to say, I chose not to give her this morning’s dose of Midodrine.  I will keep track of her blood pressure and phone the Cardiologist tomorrow if it is still stuck at such a high level.  Actually, I will call no matter what to report this long stretch of high BP and ask if there is something that would be safe for me to give her to lower it when it is this high.  I also need to try to take her BP when she is standing to see if it lowers then or remains high.  At the Cardiologist’s office last Thursday, her BP was consistently measuring higher than yesterday and today’s numbers here at home even when we stood her up and ARNP Angela measured it.

Last night was not an easy one at least for part of the night.  I went to bed very early for me.  By around midnight or a little later, she started getting up, disturbed by the people.  At one point she wanted to get up and out of bed for a while to get rid of the people in her head.  I was encouraged by the way she said that, realizing (or saying for my benefit) that they were in her head, not actually in the house.

I reacted differently from the past when I have gotten irritated and insistent with her.  I encouraged her and helped her lie down, reminding her that staying awake would make them worse instead of better.  Each time she lay down, I returned to my bed but stayed awake, listening intently to her.  Whenever I heard her mumbling or moving around, I asked if I could help.  In some cases I went over at talked with her a bit.  At one point when I was in bed, she asked what the man was doing in my bed, meaning me.  I reminded her who I was.  It was odd that she seemed to be talking to me but at the same time about me as if I was someone else.  I assume it is a version of the Capgras Delusion I have talked about in earlier posts — the perception that a person has been substituted for another (as in the body snatcher movies).

I stayed awake most of the time for about an hour and a half as we interacted off and on.  Then she settled and slept through until morning, other than the usual commode trips.

I got up earlier than usual this morning so that I could get ready for going to the 11am worship service.  When Mary Ann got up, she asked what we were doing today.  I helped her tune in to the fact that it was Sunday, and that I was planning for us to go to the 11am service, then out to eat at the Brick Oven, and watch the Super Bowl later in the day.

When eating the yogurt, drinking juice and taking pills, she was in eyes-tightly-shut mode.  I needed to feed her again this morning.  When I offered the usual options for cereal, instead of picking one, she said she was tired and wanted to lie down.  She was pretty unstable from the time she got out of bed.

I did make a point of weighing her to see if she is retaining fluid.  Her feet have been swollen the last couple of days, including this morning. Her weight was almost exactly the same as it had been the last time she weighed herself on that scale.  I will continue to monitor that as long as her feet remain swollen.

After she made a trip to the bathroom, when I asked her if she still wanted to lie down, she said her stomach hurt and, yes, she wanted to lie down.  She was concerned about lying down, knowing that I wanted to go to church.  Those words and actions, stomach hurting and wanting to lie down, usually asssociate with intestinal activity at some point. I knew that major intestinal activity would be far easier to deal with here at home than at church.  There would have been no way to manipulate her into going at that point, nor would it have made sense to try given those circumstances.  It is now well past the time church would have started and she is still sleeping.  I am sitting here at the computer with my suit pants on.  I guess it is time to change into stay at home clothes.

She slept for about four hours.  I should have gotten her up at some point to go to the bathroom.  Even though she had a night time disposable, it leaked. The bedding needed changing anyway.  The PJ’s and bedding are in the washer. I waited a little longer than I should have to give her a pill and get her up since I had ended up sitting down and reading, listening to the waterfall and birds in the back yard through the speaker made to bring outdoor sounds in.  Last night’s time up with Mary Ann caught up with me and I wanted to have some extra time just to rest.  She called for me soon after the time her med timer had gone off.

I took her blood pressure when she got up.  The reading was 165/105, not good but better than earlier in the day.  I cooked a bratwurst at her request.  Bratwurst and chips sounds like good Super Bowl Sunday food.  She handled the bite-sized slices of bratwurst on her own, as well as the dish of ice cream from the supply we bought at the store yesterday.

After lunch I asked her if she was willing to let me check her blood pressure while she was standing.  It was considerably lower, 130/80.  It was a little harder to hear clearly through the stethoscope since she was moving some.  It may have been a little higher than that, but certainly not lower.  When she has had problems with fainting, her BP has been very much lower than that when standing, and sometimes sitting.  Both numbers have been under a hundred.  The time she took the Tilt Table test at the hospital to verify that she had Orthostatic Hypotension, as soon as the table moved her from a lying position to 70% of a standing position, her BP dropped from a high reading, to 50/30.  A few minutes later she fainted.  I will keep checking her BP, but I would rather have a little fainting than allow it to stay as high as it has been the last few days.

A few minutes ago she showed me her glasses.  The ear piece on one side had come out of the hinge completely.  It will need to be reglued — hopefully possible.  We will take it in tomorrow.  I can only guess that spending so much time with her head down on the dining room table or the little table in front of her chair has resulted in loosening that ear piece.  I finally found an old pair of glasses she could use in the mean time.  It was almost comical in a sad sort of way that I found two old pairs that were not useable since she had fallen on them, in each case scratching one of the lenses so that it is completely useless. One of those falls took her to the Emergency Room with a giant hematoma on her forehead the size of her fist.

At suppertime Mary Ann’s blood pressure measured 165/95, again, too high, but not as high as this morning.  She struggled to eat supper and refused to allow me to help.  The last time I offered and she refused, I asked her why she wouldn’t let me help.  She was completely shut down, her face almost in the plate, getting nothing into her mouth.  Her answer was, “It is all I have left.”

She went to bed at about 7pm, watched the game from there, took her pills.  It was not long after that that she needed a snack — no surprise since she had eaten very little at supper.  She seems to be sleeping at the moment.  That, of course, can change at any time.

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