Help for a friend

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jana
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Help for a friend

Post by jana » September 14th, 2005, 3:15 pm

My neighbor asked me yesterday if I had a certain piece of music, and when I asked her why, she said her hubby is convinced he's dying and she's planning his funeral!

Marvin is, I'm guessing, somewhere in his mid to late sixties. He was diagnosed 4 years ago with CHF, had pacemaker implanted 3 years ago. His heart races (110 last time they were at the doc), and an ablation has been suggested (by none other than Dr. Hwang!), but he says he "doesn't want to go through the pain". (I'll explain the procedure to him after I get other info for him.)

He has high blood pressure, which seems to be controlled with meds. High cholesterol (somewhere just over 200). He is not overweight (actually probably too skinny). He's not on oxygen (at least not when he's out and about -- don't know about at home).

He gets extremely tired (which I know CHF can do) and is obviously ready to give up. I'm going to list his meds and see if any of you (Don?) can notice any problems -- too much, too little, too many, etc. Just trying to find out if there are any suggestions/solutions to make him feel better!

Meds are:
coreg 3 mg/bid
diovan 40 mg/day
tricor 145 mg/day
coumadin 3 mg/day
digitek .25 mg/day
lotril 20 mg/day
lipitor 10 mg/day

I looked up interactions and am sending those to him.

Thanks.

Jana

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Shelby
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Post by Shelby » September 14th, 2005, 5:49 pm

Jana,
I don't know about the meds but a few thoughts come to mind. First, an ablation for what? Afib? Do you know what his EF is? How long has he been on the Coreg? Something that immediately comes to mind if he has a low EF and extreme fatigue is that he may be a candidate for a biventricular pacemaker. They have had amazing results with biv devices and CHF. He should definitely look into the option to see if he would be eligible.

Shelby
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"Some people think only intellect counts...but the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion and empathy." ~Dean Koontz

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don
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Post by don » September 15th, 2005, 3:18 pm

Hi Jana

I'm not going to comment on your friend's medications. I don't know enough about his condition to offer a suggestion. If his CHF is severe that could cause the fatigue.

There are a number of approaches that could be taken but it sounds as if he has given up. I will always remember a session I had with a hospital social worker when a good friend committed suicide. She told me it was his life and he had the choice when to end it. We, as people who care, want to prevent the death of folks we care about. But what about them? What about when they've had enough?

I would suggest giving him the love and support he deserves. If he should decide he wants to try to get better I'm sure everyone here will offer suggestions as to how that may be done. I'm exhausted every day, but I haven't given up yet. When and if I should I would like to be left alone to do what I have to do.

Let us know if there's any way we can help.

Namaste

don

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Shelby
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Post by Shelby » September 15th, 2005, 5:52 pm

I agree Don. As many of you know, my uncle, who recently passed away, had stopped his cancer treatment a few months before. It was difficult to accept his decision but it was certainly his decision to make and after a couple of weeks, we all were able to support him and be there for him.

But on another perspective--you and I can make a very informed decision about what "enough" is because we have done extensive research and truly learned about all of our options. I suspect--and these are just my suspicions--that Jana's friend is ignorant of some of the options available to treat his condition and improve his quality of life. He may not even know that there's a way to get better--for example, whether or not he's a candidate for a biv, or how to control his diet/salt intake to maximize his comfort (weighing every day, limiting his salt, adjusting his diuretic if he's one one). Now there may not be any options available or he may have exhausted them all--again, I don't know. But based on the general tone of Jana's post, that's the impression I'm getting. We won't know any more until Jana's able to talk to him and get some more information, so of course this is all blind speculation on my part.

I also am concerned that he's experiencing depression. It's normal in his circumstances, but are his fears of never getting better based on medical options or an emotional voice of depression? Jana, I might encourage him to seek some alternatives for treating depression--it doesn't have to be medicinal (although often that is the most effective), but talking to a professional might be of real value. If he's planning his own funeral he sounds like he may be suicidal. Of course, pure speculation on my part. Even if he has given up, some therapy with his wife might help her be able to support his decision.

This is such a tough situation. I'll be praying for him. Please keep us updated, Jana.

Shelby
Afraid to post here? Remember:
"Some people think only intellect counts...but the functions of intellect are insufficient without courage, love, friendship, compassion and empathy." ~Dean Koontz

jana
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Joined: August 30th, 2005, 1:50 pm

Post by jana » September 16th, 2005, 12:29 am

Thanks, Don & Shelby. In thinking more last night, I came to the conclusion that he may need something for depression. I also came to the conclusion that he's feeling sorry for himself (been there, done that!) and may need a kick in the pants (as you guys -- albeit unknowingly -- gave me).

In thinking of what my dad went through dying of CHF, Marvin is nowhere NEAR the condition he was in. He can still get out and drive, takes his dog on four-wheeler rides (we live right by a nice dirt hill -- mountain to those of you in the midwest :P ), goes camping, etc. Dad got to the point (before he became completely bedridden) that just walking to the bathroom and back took him several hours to recover from.

I was looking through stuff on my computer the other day, and found a letter to my hubby and kids. It starts off "I have decided I'm dying, so..." It was dated March of 2003 (after my last syncope episode; before finding Dr. Hwang and Sotalol). Things have changed just a little since then!

Marvin's wife says that he doesn't think I'm that sick because of all the stuff I do. He doesn't realize that it was you guys that made me brave enough to get back to life again. Better to have fun and drop dead while doing it that lay around and wait to die, right?

I'll try talking to him, and see if I can encourage him a little (or tell him enough horror stories to make him quit feeling sorry for himself -- like what it's like to get zapped w/o anesthesia!) (He's been cardioverted a couple of times.)

I'll keep you posted. Maybe I could talk him into posting here and reading about others (like Eloise) who have been through much more. I know it helps me to know that I'm not nearly as bad off as some others!

Jana

marian

Help for a friend

Post by marian » September 17th, 2005, 7:12 am

Jana,
you are right that he may be suffering from depression, and he needs as much help for that illness as any other.
Please keep us informed of his progress.

marian

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