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6/15/10

Long Time Coming

Looking back much of it seems obvious. Ye old hindsight.

The phone calls asking me how to work her remote, or telling me she'd screwed up her cable TV - again.
The repeating of something she'd just told me.
The frantic calling and asking where I'd been because it had been so long since I'd talked to her, when in reality, it had been two days.
The personality changes, both subtle WTF? moments and bigger things, as in the dating of completely inappropriate men (a.k.a. married).

I urged her to get her meds checked, maybe some combo was not working. She said she would. She didn't.

All this happened after she had bypass surgery. She never had a heart attack - she did poorly on a stress test, but what non-exercising smoker wouldn't?

Instead of taking a different tack with her, like seriously working on her to stop smoking for one, her doctor encouraged a bypass. My mother, being from a generation that idolized the almighty doctor (unless he's telling her to quit smoking), just took the pill(s) or the surgery without question.

Recently I came across this article from a book that advocates a medicinal alternative to coronary surgery (pssst, "...there appears to be no advantage in terms of preventing heart attack or death by performing either angioplasty or bypass surgery.")
"...the true frequency of complications after bypass surgery such as stroke and loss of cognitive function is as high as 30%."
"Cognitive decline complicates early recovery from coronary artery bypass surgery and may be evident in as many as 75% of patients at the time of discharge from the hospital and a third of the patients after 6 months. These results confirm the relatively high prevalence and persistence of cognitive decline after coronary artery bypass surgery."

http://www.heartprotect.com/do-you-really-need-bypass-surgery.shtml

I totally believe this is what happened to my mom; for her, bypass surgery was completely unnecessary. She had just turned 64 - the memory loss was immediate, then came strokes and the very not well thought out decision to stop taking all her meds for over a year. Now, a mere ten years later at 74, she's living in a room and doesn't remember her life.

I'm not saying a bypass isn't the right thing to do - I AM NOT A DOCTOR. Surely it is the right thing to do sometimes.

What I am saying is this - don't be bullied or intimidated into a drastic medical procedure. Just because they do them every day doesn't mean it's not seriously major surgery. That could change your life.

Wait. Take a breath. Gather some research. Get an advocate to go with back with you.

Be well.

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