Monday, 5 September 2011

Caring For My Mother

After caring for a number of elderly people, I'm now caring for my mother.

I've been living here since January due to not having anywhere else to go and have been planning to move on throughout the spring and summer. However all my plans came to nought and I came to the conclusion that somehow I was not meant to leave. I realised that my mother at least needed me to be near but now she actually needs me to be living with her.

She visited her doctor about a sore leg at the beginning of August and he whisked her into hospital having found that her heart rate was 3 times faster than normal and her blood pressure was 'in her boots'.

Since she's been home she has deteriorated almost daily and now officially concedes to being old and infirm. I find my tasks are multiplying. I now choose and prepare her clothes each day, supervise her shower, help her get dressed, apply cream to her legs and back, and help her get out of the chair and move around the flat. I've been shopping, cooking and cleaning since I've been here but now I supervise her medication and if I find that if I'm away for more than a few hours she forgets to drink water, take her pills and eat the food I left for her.

My mother told me she was very lucky that she does not suffer any side effects from the many prescribed drugs she takes. Over the years of taking statins she has had two cataracts removed, has weakened heart muscles, and her breathing has become so laboured that she is now seriously frightened at least once a day because she cannot get her breath. (All are symptoms described in the long list of side effects. Coincidence?) Her doctor does not think the statins are the cause of her breathing problems yet he cannot find the cause and is stumped as to how to help her. My mother has great faith in her doctor and wanted to get his permission to stop taking the statins. I find it amazing that she felt she needed his permission in order to take charge of her own health. Amazingly she has come up with the idea of stopping the statins for a week or two to see what difference it makes.

If any of my readers are persuaded that she should keep taking those statins let me know and I'll give you a raft of articles and studies showing not only how dangerous they are to health but how they don't even do what they purport to do except in a tiny percentage of people.

She is slowly, by means of education, shifting the paradigm from expecting her doctor to 'fix' her, to taking responsibility for her own well being.

Post Script 6th September: She passed away this evening. Her heart gave out after an evening of extreme difficulty in breathing.