Heart ‘n Home makes it a habit to jump on board the patient’s bus and we allow them to drive. I fondly remember a patient who drove me to a territory that I was not very familiar with. As her journey continued it was my honor to assist her on the expedition as I learned about the effects of many herbal remedies and supplements. This is a story about a little lady who initially I thought was peculiar, a bit quirky, and had traits I had never really experienced. I will call her Little Lady.
Little Lady was 87 years old when she was admitted to Heart ‘n Home Hospice with the diagnosis of heart disease, heart failure, HTN, and physical debility. Her husband had passed many years before I met her, she did not have children and her closest relative lived out of state. Hospice would be her support in many ways.
The reason I thought Little Lady was peculiar at first was because she did not believe in traditional medicine! Throughout her 87 years, she had only taken vitamins, supplements, herbal remedies, and applied oils and creams to cure or control her aliments. Those ailments included high blood pressure, pain, circulation problems, edema, stomach disorders, and infections. She had a windowsill full of various herbs flourishing in the sunshine and it was common to enter her home to the smell of lemongrass simmering on the stovetop.
But now her heart disease had debilitated her to the point that her recliner and the immediate 2 feet around her recliner had become her world. She was not able to ambulate without experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, and extreme fatigue. Her walker placed in front of her was used as a closet and had at least twenty grocery bags hung from it full of all sorts of things like her toothbrush and basin, personal care items, books to read, and anything you could think of. The end tables on either side of the recliner were stacked high with items as well. Her recliner was where she slept, ate her meals, performed a chair bath, and provided education to her hospice team on how to use herbs and supplements to control her symptoms.
After suffering a fall, Little Lady came to the point in her life when she needed an electric bed to rest in and morphine to control her pain and labored breathing. Her family came to assist her in the last two weeks of her life. Little Lady gave me one last lesson about Morphine Sulfate. She provided education the opioid was derived from the plant Papaver Somniferum. Little Lady passed peacefully at age 91 with her family at her bedside and her herbs growing on her windowsill.
At Heart ‘n Home we will always respect your beliefs and wishes. As teachers, we will also offer education on disease processes and how medications can help or hurt you during the end of life process, but we will always let you make the decisions. You are in charge of your care. We will meet you where you are at in your journey and we will assist and support you throughout that journey, and beyond.
If you or a loved one has congestive heart failure or other heart terminal heart conditions we can help. If you are aging and are experiencing symptoms such as these below, you may have heart disease.
• Shortness of Breath
• Feeling Tired or Run Down
• Swelling in Legs, Feet, Ankles, or Abdomen
• Weight Gain from Fluid Build-up
• Racing or Slow Heartbeat
• Fluid in Lungs
• Loss of Appetite
• Using Multiple Pillows to Sleep Well
Call Heart ‘n Home Hospice to receive more information about assistance with heart disease. We can help reduce ER visits and hospital readmissions, manage your symptoms at home, supply and refill your heart medications, provide education to you and your caregivers, and we have nurses available night or day if you have any questions or need assistance. Heart ‘n Home will jump on board your bus and assist you on your journey! (208) 452-2663.