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43 year old diabetic mum suffers from heart attk & strokes - help

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Old 03-14-2007, 10:15 PM   #1
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43 year old diabetic mum suffers from heart attk & strokes - help

My mum is a 43 year old diabetic who on Feb. 9th suffered from a massive heart attack, after about a week of sitting up and seeming normal she began to suffer from congestive heart failure, and she was than intubated and transferred to a hospital with better facilities. They took her off the vent after a couple days, but it only lasted for about a day and a half before they had to put her back on. Her condition worsened and she was soon rushed to emergency surgery where they put in an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) and a triple bypass was done. After surgery, they were unable to close her chest right away since she was such a small woman. During this time, as for when, the doctors 'dont know', but she suffered from multiple strokes, and her kidneys also failed.

Being on dialysis almost daily, on the LVAD, and still on a vent, it took her quite awhile to start waking up. As for her stroke, the neurologist told us she suffered most damage on the left side of her brain, she is unable to move the right side (although she recently started slightly moving her right fingers). I was also told that the frontal lobe was affected as well, affecting her cognitively as well - her personality, memory (short or long term was not specified), etc. For short periods of time my mum can focus her attention on someone who is talking to her, but her eyes dont take long to wander, she moves her left arm alot, holding the stuffed dog i gave her on valentines day, she never lets him go and sort of flails him around in the air when she moves her arm, she moves her left leg pretty often as well. For the most part she can swallow/cough,etc, but due to her having a trach, she cannot talk - if she wasnt on the trach, i dont know if shed be able to talk or not. She is mostly breathing on her own, the machine is there just "in case"... the LVAD pump is doing well, but due to her having the trach, LVAD and being in need of dyalisis finding any type of long term care facility is difficult, especially us being uninsured canadians (heh). She makes facial expressions; raises her eyebrows, scrunchy faces, and even sometimes bears her teeth like a bear, lol. She'll kiss her fiance back when he kisses her on the lips, but were told this is just a reflex... In all, my mums prognosis is poor.

my grandparents (my mums parents) and her sister all believe she is suffering, and brain dead, and wanted to pull the plug earlier this week. my grandparents arent even talking to me anymore because i didnt make the choice they wanted me to make (as im power of attorney). i dont believe any rash decision should be made until she is alotted enough time to heal herself. The woman has been through hell and back, and being diabetic, it takes her longer to heal usually anyways.
i really dont know what to do or think in regards to any of this, so if anyone has any words of advice, experience or anything, it would be greatly appreciated more than words could express.

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Old 03-14-2007, 10:25 PM   #2
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Re: 43 year old diabetic mum suffers from heart attk & strokes - help

I am so sorry that you are going through this horrible experience. I send you prayers and wishes. Is the responsibility for deciding this step of turning off the life support system up to you? If so, do not let anyone pressure you. I personally believe that you are right, give her a bit longer with the benefit of the doubt. People have come back from really dire predicaments and had a good quality of life afterwards. In any case, it seems to me that your heart is not ready to take this step. Listen to your heart. Be brave, have faith in yourself. Be strong for your mother.

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