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04 Sep 2011

Yes it''s been a while!

What happened to Dr Bets? I haven''t been around here for various reasons, one of which I am about to ask you for advice on.

A while ago I mentioned to you about my step-dad being diagnosed with chronic emphysema. He struggled with his treatment and this on its own was difficult enough for my mom to deal with. His conditiion got worse in March last year and he had to be admitted to hospital by ambulance with bad breathing problems. He was initially in the medical ward but was moved to icu the next day because he couldn''t manage his oxygen. He had to be sedated because he wasn''t coping and subsequently developed kidney failure. It was just awful to deal with, especially for my mom. The specialist told my mom on the Sunday (he was admitted on the Thursday) that he wouldn''t make Tuesday - he died 01-45 Monday morning. My mom didn''t have our gp for support (we have been patients of his for over 35 years) - he was away and it was devastating for everyione especially for her. On top of this, she has had to deal with selling the house, living temporarily with my oldest brother and sister-in-law (both of whom we could never have managed without, they were and still are both wonderful) whi e we found somewhere to live. My momshe had a mild stroke in March this year and was admitted to hospital for 2 nights. I was really sick in January with serious liver trouble, my gp didnt know what was wrong with me - I had liver levels up to 10 times normal levels - it turned out to be my high doses of Lipitor I was taking for my cholesterol - we had to move into an apartment in April this year in a retirement estate where they are still in the process of completing building of houses, so we get constant trucks, dumpsters, etc going past the apartment all day every day, not to mention all the dust we keep getting! She had a bad dose of flu last month, despite having a flu injection. I have been so stressed out, am finding it difficult to look after her. At the moment we are in East London visiting my one brother - she had her eye op here - she has glaucoma and had no choice but to do it - she should have done it years ago her visition kept deteriorating the longer she left it - but she finally decided she had to do it - she had consulted this opthalmologist here in East London earlier this year for an opinion and liked him - where the sudden change in deciding to do the op came from I am not sure - but I was so relieved - she was at risk of losing her sight completely - she had very high pressure in her good eye and had already lost sight in her other eye due to permanently damaged optical nerve in that eye. I try to get her to go for walks at home in JHB - its a very safe place to go for nice walks because the security is tops - and have been relatively successful until she got sick and then everything started going backwards again. So now I start again! She has type 2 diabetes which is under good control by our gp with medication, is on 2 bp pills, eglonol 50mg 3x a day and sleeping pills. I want to take her to somewhere like Mauritius to get away from all this, but am not sure whether she would be able to cope with this. She loves the sea and I thik something like this would be good for her, away from this routine - someting different. She was 100% dependant on my step-dad for literally everything - transport, admin, you name it. Sometimes I feel so desperate and helpless, but I am trying my best. My brothers have been great and my sister (who lives in Cape Town) has also kept in touch, but at the end of the day I am the one who is left looking after. Yes, she is very important to me and I want to and have to look after her as she has no one else to do so, but it is difficult.

Any tips to helping her would be greatly appreciated.


Answer 414 views

01 Jan 0001

The end stages of emphysema can indeed be horrible - and make another powerful reason for not smoking, as smoking is a common cause of it. But oh dear, what a sequence of unhappy events and challenges !
I hope your mom's eye op goes well. Sad, as it sounds as though the results could have been so much better for both eyes, if the op had been done earlier. But we're all wiser after the event, aren't we ? Good to hear that others in the family have been so supportive and helpful, too.
From my own experience, an important and helpful thing to do, and one so very easy to overlook or forget, is simply to keep tabs on what she is able to do for herself, and encourage her to do it and praise her for doing it well. Its so easy for us to get caught up in being helpful, and doing not only what must be done for her, but to make her feel redundant by doing everything. Indeed, if you can find some things she can do form you, however small, that camn be so encouraging

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