Mary Ann lay down after lunch for a nap.  The moment she is settled in bed, I start doing tasks inside or outside, confident that she is very likely to sleep for a couple of hours without stirring.  Not so this afternoon.

When I came back in, her eyes were open.  She said that her esophagus hurt and she needed a Tums.  It seemed to be hurting more than usual.  She used the bathroom and had a fainting spell immediately after I put the Tums in her mouth.

The pattern we use is that Tums comes first.  If it does not help, a Nitro pill comes next.  If that hasn’t eliminated the pain in five to ten minutes, another Nitro pill is taken.  She has to be lying down for that since Nitro pills lower blood pressure dramatically.  Since she had just fainted, it was apparent that her BP was already fairly low.

Hospice Nurse Emily came to the door for her weekly visit as we were waiting for the Tums to work.  Mary Ann said that it seemed to be helping.  The new twist was that when Emily checked her oxygen saturation level (98%, very good) and heart rate with the finger monitor, Mary Ann’s heart rate was 111, almost double her normal, which is about 59 or 60.  Nurse Emily took her blood pressure, which was in a reasonable range for Mary Ann, 150/96.  It is always a puzzle that it can be that high just minutes after she has fainted from a drop in blood pressure.  She had stood up and sat down when the fainting happened, but she was lying down when Emily took her BP. Blood pressure usually measures higher when lying down than when sitting or standing for anyone..

Nurse Emily measured her heart rate a second time, and it had come down to 85.  After Emily left, Mary Ann said it was hurting again.  I gave her a nitro pill.  Her heart rate was over a hundred.  After a little less than ten minutes, her chest/esophagus was still hurting.  I gave her a second Nitro pill.  About ten minutes later I checked again.  By that time she said the pain had subsided.  I took her blood pressure at that time and it was 110/50.  As expected, the nitroglycerin had lowered her BP.

The concern, of course, is an unexplained increase in her resting heart rate.  I just pulled out the three pages of information on Cipro.  One of the bullet points under “Other serious side effects of Cipro include” is “Serious heart rhythm changes”.   The next sentence is, “Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have a change in your heart beat (a fast or irregular heartbeat), or if you faint.”  Okay, Nurse Emily was here when the heartrate was almost double her normal.  It did not seem to strike her as significant.  As is so with anyone who has been a Caregiver for a while, I never give away responsibilty for Mary Ann’s medical care.  I will check with Mary Ann periodically tomorrow.  If there is any discomfort I will check her pulse.  If it is racing, I will call Hospice to check with their doctor about how to proceed.  Since Mary Ann’s and our intention is that she not be resuscitated (those words are hard to see appear on this page as I write), we have to be thoughtful in how we proceed.  (Mary Ann has not yet had a chance to sign the DNR form in front of a non-family witness yet — not sure whether procrastination or denial on my part.)

She has been fine the rest of the day and is now in bed, hopefully, for the night.  She went to Bible study this morning and, according to her report, stayed awake.  She had lamented when she first got up this morning that she sleeps so much during the group time, that it seemed fruitless to attend.  She then admitted that getting out with people was good, and that was the only regular time with others she had.

I had an especially good time during the Bible Study,  I had a chance to talk for a time with a cluster of the staff with whom I worked at the church from which I retired.  I realize just how much I miss having those folks to talk with.  When there was some experience or encounter, one of little consequence in the grand scheme of things, it was nice to have some place to report whatever it was.

I headed over to the coffee shop (of course, PT’s) and ran into one of the owners I have known for many years.  As usual, he had just returned from another part of the world where coffee is grown, this time somewhere on the continent of Africa.  He is always entertaining.  I followed that with a visit to the Wild Bird House.  There I could review the experience with the Mallards yesterday and hear some stories about rahabbing ducks.  I didn’t realize that bullfrogs ate ducklings — not a pleasant thought, but interesting to know. Melody rehabs the birds, and Todd is a sort of Renaissance man, who plays in a group and teaches guitar, creates websites from scratch, and builds decks, as well as running the store with Melody. He and I talked deck issues — my bowing crosspiece.

We headed for the store, loaded the car with gas and the back seat with half gallons of ice cream, as well as Mary Ann’s Sesame Chicken dinner.  That is the lunch following which the problems began.  She had the same for supper without any discomfort, at least yet.

This afternoon, while Mary Ann was having problems and then napped, I took on the task of taking up the Snap-Lock mesh flooring in the bathroom to spread out on the driveway, spray with a fungicide, clean with a broom and bathroom cleaner wih bleach in it.  It is  a dreaded job.  The ceramic tile in the bathroom beneath the mesh gets the same treatment.  Tomorrow, Kristie will come and do her monthly cleaning.  This time she will also clean the ceramic tile now that it is uncovered. (The mesh is on the floor to avoid Mary Ann being hurt badly when she falls.)

This evening, Volunteer Jolene came to stay with Mary Ann.  I used the time to do a few things here at the house and then headed to Dairy Queen to take advantage of this week’s special — buy any size Blizzard at full price and get the same or smaller sized second Blizzard for 25 cents.  They are celebrating the 25th birthday of the Blizzard.  We are happy to help them celebrate.  After eating the Blizzards, I headed out again to check on getting a roll shade for the east end of the deck.

It was a full day for both of us. The central concern is Mary Ann’s heart rate.  Since she had a number of silent heart attacks that we missed seven or eight years ago, I do not take this lightly.  Those heart attacks were masked by what we thought was esophagus pain.  It certainly never gets dull around here.

If you want to write a comment about this or any of the posts on this blog, look to the column on the right side of this page, titled “Recent Posts,”  click on the name of a post and you will find a box at the end of that article in which you can write a comment.  Clicking on the title of the post you are reading will accomplish the same thing.  Comments are appreciated.

Advertisements