well it wasn’t a heart attack….
Evidently I had unwittingly performed the Valsalva maneuver on myself. I won’t go into the details of just how it occurred but suffice it to say it wasn’t pleasant. I thought I was having a heart attack or a stroke. I was hot, dizzy, nauseous, clammy, ears ringing, crawled from bathroom to bedroom where I just lay on the floor thinking I better not close my eyes because I might never open them again. DH found me in the floor, conscious but too weak to move. He got me to the bed and took my blood pressure which was 98/51 with a pulse of 59. By this time I was feeling a little better and just wanted to go to sleep. It crossed my mind and I am sure it crossed his too that maybe we should call the ambulance, but we didn’t. He stayed awake most of the night making sure I was still breathing. By morning my blood pressure was back to normal and I felt ok, just a little tired. We both were unsure what exactly had happened but neither one of us voiced our thoughts. We just began preparing to go pick up Mom for our daily trek to the cancer center for her treatment.
However, the day was just not going to be the normal routine. Mom had taken a fall, was uninjured but too weak to travel and too confused to tell us exactly what happened. It was ice-cold in her house even though the thermostat was on 80 degrees. She told me that she hadn’t taken her morning meds but the pill sorter compartment for her morning dose was empty and she hadn’t had her supplement or anything else to drink. My gut was telling me to stop the madness. I called her doctor and laid out exactly our situation. I wanted to know what stopping the treatments would mean. I really already knew but guess I needed to hear it out loud. Of course the doctor wants to complete the last four treatments but cannot say with any certainty that the outcome will be any better if we do. The cancer has definitely retreated but isn’t gone. When the cancer recovers from it’s setback it may come back with a vengeance. Since it isn’t close to any vital organs the physical damage to her face could be devastating before it does the inevitable…..can’t put that into words. The doctor said there isn’t a clear-cut right or wrong answer. I felt as though my insides were just vibrating and my mind was swirling with all the possible or maybe impossible scenarios.
DH fixed Mom’s heater and the house was warm once again. Mom was in her chair, snuggled under her blanket, drinking her supplement. I decided to go see my doctor because I couldn’t get last night’s episode out of my mind. DH went with me and immediately after laying out the events from the night before the doctor knew exactly what it was. I will provide links for Valsalva maneuver if you want to know more. I was sure glad we hadn’t called the ambulance for the unusual and somewhat embarrassing occurrence, but it really was scary! It was however, definitely worth the price of an office visit to find out that I didn’t have a heart attack! My doctor also knows the situation with my Mom and the level of my mental stress. She told me that I can’t let it break me.
I did agree to take Mom back to the cancer center on Monday but still don’t know what the final decision will be. DH and I checked out the possibility of moving her to a new assisted living facility about to open here but found out that neither she nor we can afford it. I don’t think Mom is ready for the nursing home but does need assistance. We have to figure out how we will deal with that………………the only thing that is clear right now is that nothing is clear.
When I got up this morning the first thing I saw in my email was a post dedicated to me from my friend.
Grace and Peace to deal with life’s daily challenges!
- Heart attack risk increases by 21 times when a loved one dies (mirror.co.uk)
- Grief May Boost Heart Attack Risk (webmd.com)
- A ‘broken heart’ hikes risk of heart attack – London Free Press (lfpress.com)