My dad has been in congestive heart failure since a massive stroke he had 5 years ago. The stroke caused an atrial fib in his heart, so the bottom half of his heart quit working. After 3 years of CHF, they installed a pacemaker and defibrillator to regulate his heart. The defibrillator shocked him b/c his heart rate got too high--it went off every few months for over a year, until I finally bought him a runner's heart rate watch and so no he monitors his heart rate to keep it from getting over 200, which is the shock point.
One month ago, after a routine ECG they do quarterly to check on his heart function, they found that he has a large blood clot in the left side of his heart, and his heart function had dropped to 10%. They put him on blood thinner to dissolve the clot, but they said if it gets too thin and dislodges and moves into the blood stream, it could potentially be fatal. His heart DR said only clots in the right side of the heart can flow to the brain and cause stroke, but that's not to say that a left side clot can not be dangerous or fatal.
Meanwhile he's got symptoms of colon cancer, but his heart DR won't even let him proceed with a colonoscopy b/c of the risk of being put under any anesthesia. So he deals with chronic pain, diarrhea, etc but they can't do anything to help him.
Of course the heart DR won't give me any timeline on how long he might have to live. I do understand that each individual is unique and therefore its undetermined, but it would be nice to have an idea of what I'm dealing with here. I'm all over the place mentally, sometimes obsessing constantly over him dying, sometimes flipping out if I can't reach him by phone b/c I'm envisioning lying in his house dead or unable to reach the phone. This is part of what exacerabates my worry b/c he still lives on his own and refuses to live with me or stay in a care facility or anything. He is still driving his own truck to town several times a week (20 miles one way) and driving fence posts with his buddies!!
I'm consumed with worry and guilt. He acts as if he is as fine as always....and I'm going crazy wondering how much longer I have with my dad. I know everyone says "just enjoy the time you have" and I'm trying to do that, but I'm kinda tired of him acting like it's nothing and his heart DR carries the attitude of 'this is to be expected, he's a heart failure patient.' Comments and advice obviously welcome!!
Dad In Chf, 10% Function
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