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Backed into a corner

Posted by markdohle , 01 November 2006 · 50 views

Well I jumped right into the saddle yesterday when I got back.  It started when I was about two hours from Atlanta, when I got a phone call from Francis, that they had to take Tom into the ER.  He was having trouble breathing, and was having serious chest pains when they called.  Francis told me that he will go in and stay with Tom until he was admitted.  I said that I would like to come in, after I get home and unpacked, since I have been taking care of Tom for so long, I would like to be there with him.  Francis said fine, and so about four hours later there I was in ER sitting with Tom.  

He has been having some serious issues with his weight the last few years.  Being bed ridden it does not take much to gain weight, which he has been doing steadily until now. I guess he weighs about 300 pounds.  He is only about 5 feet 8 inches tall, so that is a lot of weight.  His weight causes him to have a lot of distress when sleeping, so I am not surprised that his main problem is his heart, he puts a lot of strain on it with his nightly struggles.

He was very anxious when I got there.  One way he has in showing that to me is by getting very gruff, and it would not be an understatement to say he was that.  I told him that I would stay, and not leave him alone that night, and for that he was relieved.  We waited another two hours, and then we got a room.  

It was a good idea for me to be there, since I got about 7 hours of being witness to his nightly struggles in trying to breathe while sleeping.  It was not a pleasant experience, but of course Tom was not conscious of the fact.  Many people are not aware of the micro-awakenings they may have when they are having sleep apnea problems.

Early in the morning Tom started asking me questions about his condition, and what he could do to help himself.  He already knew the answer, but I guess he wanted to hear them from me, so went over an already old conversation, just this time I had his attention.

We talked about his weight, and how if he wanted to live for any foreseeable time, he had to loose some weight.  And because of his enforced inactivity, everything he ate over certain calorie requirements would go into fat, which would compound his problems with breathing, and also affect his heart.  We talked about how difficult that will be since his diet will be much curtailed to what he was used to.   The prospect of getting a machine specifically developed for his problems was also discussed, and he was open to it.  So perhaps we will be able to make some progress.

He is slowly being backed into a corner, and it makes me a little sad.

Before I left, Rose the RN came in, now she is the expert and will be able to help Tom much more than I can.