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Scared about my dad. Please help.
I’ve posted here in June before and received good feedback. My dad is 58 diagnosed with systolic heart failure in May with ef of 20-25% he also has dialated cardiomyopathy, he also has an ICD. For the past 2 weeks he has flu like symptoms. He has taken off work this whole week. I told him to go to the cardiologist last week but he is stubborn. He went to his primary doctor today, got a X-ray done and they’re saying it’s fluid around his heart. His cardiologist has moved his echo from October 23rd to the 14th. His eyes look dark. He lost 10 pounds in these past 2 weeks, but he hasn’t been eating much. I’m scared does this mean something bad? I don’t think I can go through this again.
jerzeycate, October 11, 2019 9:54pm EST
It's normal to be afraid when someone you love has an increase in the symptoms of Heart Failure. First, let me say that it's not time to panic. It's great that he has been staying at home and taking care of himself. Also good that he has seen his doctors. If they felt he needed to have his Echo sooner they would have done it immediately. So that is some comfort. I can say that at times the fluid has increased around my heart. Most times I am only aware after it shows up in the interrogation of my cardiac device. Though it usually explains symptoms I've been having. When you are carrying extra fluid, it's normal to not feel well, have no appetite and lose weight. While it is always a reason for concern if it was time to panic the doctor would have put him into the hospital. Let's see what happens with the Echo on Monday and go from there.
Please take care of yourself. I'll have you in y thoughts over the weekend...
It's a great day to be alive...
JamesPL, October 12, 2019 1:19pm EST
I can only echo what jerseycate has stated. He is seeing his doctors and that's a good thing. Let them diagnose and go from there. Follow their direction closely. Whatever treatments they prescribe will help toward his recovery. Take comfort in the fact that heart care these days is so good. With the heart as with most things in life, it is always good to take it one day at a time. Give him your support and be there for him as that will go a long way.
I wish you both all the best!
Milkyway, October 12, 2019 9:08pm EST
Thank you guys for feedback.
This just happened earlier
He just got his blood work back and his iron is low. He now have to take 325 mg iron. They told him to go to the ER if he feels worse. I want him to go but he is being stubborn and will only go Monday for his echo. Does this mean something bad?
jerzeycate, October 12, 2019 10:55pm EST
Glad to hear from you tonight.
Iron supplements are common in cardiac patients. He may wind up on other supplements, including Potassium and magnesium. That will all depend upon his doctor and may change at various times in his life.
While I'm a bit older than you, I'm a daughter and my Dad is still as stubborn as a rock when it comes to health issues. Though I must say he does go for his annual checkups now. You'll have to get used to nagging him. Just tell him that you love him or you wouldn't worry about him so much. You might also suggest he get used to the nagging as he's in for a long life with nagging from you about his health at every turn. That's what daughters are for after all.
We made it another day, and you are that much closer to Monday. Hopefully, he will have an eventful Sunday (healthwise) and Monday will be here in a flash. Though if he does feel worse, or exhibit increased symptoms your family needs to insist that he go to the ER. One thing I often have to remind group members (who are being stubborn about seeking medical care (especially when it's outside of appointments and regular office hours is that we aren't dealing with ingrown toenails here--this is the heart. If it stops working it's all over. I know that's one of the main reasons people so fear a cardiac disease or disorder.
Believe it or not, it scares patients too. Even when they hesitate to admit it. Many times a person with a cardiac problem will hold off emergency treatment because they are afraid that if they admit that they feel bad enough to go to the ER it will all become too real. Another reason they minimize their health needs is because of their family. They don't want family members and close friends to worry. so sometimes they think if they just limp along and keep things as stable as possible, no one will have to worry. Ass patients with cardiac problems and people who love people with cardiac problems we join a group where (often way too early) we have to face the reality of the fact that "none of us is promised tomorrow." I know we all know that. But most people, who haven't had to deal with a serious illness or injury n themselves or a family member or close friend, mostly pay that lip service. We, you and I, can't d that. My mother developed heart problems early in life (as did all of her sisters and brothers). I was surrounded by relatives in one stage or another of Coronary Artery Disease, having this or that emergency surgery for as long as I can remember. Two of my uncles never made it to diagnosis or treatment. They each died during their first heart attack before they ever knew there was a problem.
So as you can imagine, that protecting each other by not talking about what's actually happening can become an always frustrating and sometimes dangerous place for a cardiac family to be stuck.
One thing I can say that may reassure Dad is that there can be a "benefit" to winding up admitted to the hospital. I know that probably sounds weird, but hear me out.
If a patient has an Echo, or another basic cardiac test, on a Monday and the doctor is concerned enough to want more tests, but not concerned enough to admit the patient to the hospital, it can be weeks before all of the tests are done and the patient has a complete diagnosis. That doesn't mean they aren't receiving care and treatment because that is usually begun as soon as the doctor is comfortable that the symptoms fit what he thinks the patient's problem is. Testing pulls all the pieces together with symptoms and other health issues into a determined treatment plan where the doctor and patient work together to stabilize, and if possible improve the cardiac issues. On the other hand, when a patient winds up in the ER, the testing process happens boom, boom boom. There is no waiting for appointments. No waiting for time off to go to the test. No waiting to go back to the doctor after al the tests to get the findings.
So, while I know it feels like nothing is happening, Dad has actually made it quite far. He has seen the doctor, started some medications, had labs (and most likely an EKG) and is scheduled for an ECHO in less than 48 hours. There may need to be more testing after the Echo, but you may also have a good idea what is going on once he has the Echo. And, just in case it happens, Don't worry if he comes home from the Echo without a lot more information. I assure you, those who do Echos know what they are doing. If something is seriously awry the doctor is called and/or the patient wheeled to the ER.
So, I hope this helps you somewhat. But remember that if Dad is feeling worse or Especially if he has Chest Pain--any at all--He needs to go to the ER. He should not be trying to diagnose and treat himself... Not at this point. Remind him that he will have years to practice that being the doctor once he is stabilized Right now it's just too dangerous and not smart to take chances. Tell him he's beaten the odds so far. We want to keep it that way...
It's A Great Day To Be Alive...
AHAASAKatie, October 14, 2019 9:07am EST
Please let us know how things go today. Best Katie
Milkyway, October 14, 2019 3:56pm EST
Hi everyone. My dad got his echo done, they found fluid buildup which is causing trouble breathing but his heart is stronger. He has to take a lasix plus spirolactone for 7 days and potassium. His hemoglobin is 8.5 so he has to take iron. Cardiologist said check back in week or two to see how things are going. Thank you jerzycate you were right about the supplements you’ve been helpful I appreciate your posts.
jerzeycate, October 14, 2019 4:39pm EST
What wonderful news...
Dad is going to have these ups and downs over the course of his life.
Here is what you need to remember...
Bravery doesn’t have to mean cliff diving out of your comfort zone.
It's about being brave enough—for yourself, for your family, for your tasks.
You are strong.
You are powerful. ‘
There are no limits to what you can overcome.
What you can live through.
Who you can win over.
You are stronger than you think.
You are forceful.
You are a champion in this life.
You play on a very strong team.
We are your teammates.
Together we are unbeatable.
Milkyway, We will always be here. Let us know how you all are doing...
It's A Great Day To Be Alive...