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Witness to what looks like coming back from the dead to me.   

Posted by helenofjoy - Nov 19, 2013 - 2:43pm
My long time friend has suffered from depression for a long time, years, and been treated for it on and off and I'm sure has self-medicated from time to time as we do sometimes when it's needed.  She had what is thought to have been a TIA a couple of months ago and was hospitalized for five days.  Just prior to the event, she was apparently not always making much sense at a birthday party she attended, but she seemed to have a good time.  No one thought much of it.  After she was released from the hospital, she had some short term, long term, medium term memory problems and appeared to be kind of shaky on her feet from time to time.  She has also been experiencing a resurgence of hot flashes, which she has not had for years.  Her speech seemed a little slurry to me, but her bridgework doesn't fit the best and she has trouble talking around it.  Besides, she has always had a little bit of speech impediment, so it's really hard to tell when she is having trouble.

Last week she was on her way over to my house for dinner and she crashed her car after becoming confused about where she was and where she was going.  She turned into a familiar grocery store parking lot and hit a parked car head on, possibly totaling her car and messing the other one up pretty good too.  The police drove her home and gave her a ticket and some paperwork to keep her out of court.

It also seems that over the last couple of weeks her condition is worsening.  Then Sunday we drove out to the farm to see the boys and find out what they were up to.  I thought some fresh air might be good for her and she agreed.    We hadn't been there too long when she started feeling feint and shocky and needed to go lay down.  She had a massive hot flash and got her shirts off and I let her rest for a bit and attempted to get her to drink some water.  She wouldn't touch the water, could not muster enough energy to get up and finally I said we needed to go to the ER.

I drove her to the closest ER where they hooked up some IV fluids and got them going and took a lot of blood and had it all run to find out what was going on.  I gave them the low down on what had been happening up to that point.  I went to her apartment and picked up her meds to take back to the hospital so they could get them all entered to see about drug interactions, etc.  They x-rayed her head a ct scanned it too!  Her temperature was 93 degrees which seems pretty low to me, she could not walk unassisted and could not have a conversation because she couldn't remember what we were talking about.  Even with the doc.  The doc came to the conclusion that it was all just symptoms of marijuana abuse and was set on discharging her until I pitched a fit with him.  I wanted it on the record that this was not her ordinary condition and there was something here going on, whether he knew what it was or not!  After the marijuana comment, I had lost all respect for him as a medical professional.  It appears to me she was severely dehydrated to the point of almost going into shock, but I am not a doctor.  She improved drastically after the IV bag was done.  
I called her boyfriend to tell him what was happening and see what he thought about either taking her home or having her admitted to the hospital overnight.  We decided to take her home with promises from her that she would keep drinking water and would eat something.

The next day I stopped in because she was not answering the phone and I was worried.  Her phone had just lost its charge.  But she had not had anything to eat or drink since the night before - even after having been told how serious it was for her to be so dehydrated.  I don't think she can care for herself anymore.  I took her in to her docs office today and took all her meds and had her evaluated.  I called her sister to come and her boyfriend came too.  The doctor had to deal with us because she could no longer converse in a way that accurately conveyed what she was experiencing.  She has no insurance or money (maybe her 401k from her old job which has not been touched).  I don't know how that is treated as far as eligibility for some services, which she sorely needs.  Her living income is ridiculous.

This doc also doesn't seem to think she will improve very much, if at all, even with treatment.  I'm so sad.  I am doing the best I can but its not enough.  Not nearly enough.  I don't have the financial resources to continue with the expenses I'm incurring while all this is happening.  I'm so worried about her.  I'm worried that I can't fix this.  That no one can.     
19 comments on this journal entry.
Being Norwegian is over-rated.
NoEnzLefttoSplit Avatar

Posted: Dec 23, 2013 - 1:49am

Stories like this always make me think how organic we are.

When I was a kid I often used to bike past the agricultural research facility and they had rows of  different kinds of grasses that were given different combinations of nutrients (or lack thereof). There were some pretty sickly looking plants there.

People are just the same. It's not just a question of getting enough food and water (though, my, what a difference that makes!) but also being in an environment where we as individuals can flourish and feel good about ourselves. When the world denies you opportunity you end up struggling like one of those grasses I used to bike past. I know the question of what nutrients a soul actually needs can be awfully complicated and it is not easy to find the mix, if at all.

But while we might not all have a right to a million bucks and ivy league education facilities but we sure as hell all have a right to the basics to lead a normal life where at least have a chance to feel good about ourselves. It is really not asking for much.

I wish your friend all the best and feel assured, you are probably one of her vital nutrients right now. Good on you.
We're all riders on this train
ScottN Avatar

Location: Half inch above the K/T boundary

Posted: Dec 10, 2013 - 8:44am

Let's hope.  {#Good-vibes}
What Day Is This?
helenofjoy Avatar

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Posted: Nov 23, 2013 - 7:08am

So far so good!  Yesterday was promising.  I went and looked at totaled car and looks like it may be able to be fixed for less than $500 if it's only the radiator and the grill thingy.  But I'm not a car mechanic.  I'm going to try to drive it from the place it is sitting to the car fixit people this morning.  Hopefully it will start.

Two of her other friends have stepped up, so we are getting duties assigned and the help is most welcome!  She is doing so much better - but still has to be prodded to drink fluids and eat.  The difference is astounding - if she does not stay hydrated, she falls apart pretty quickly.  Brain doesn't work well at all!  Once she has been drinking water for a couple of hours she recovers remarkably. 
If we can get her to change some habits - just a few - and get her on some anti-depressants that actually work for her, maybe she will recover to a point where she can and will take care of herself!  {#Good-vibes}    
Living with passion
Alexandra Avatar

Location: PNW

Posted: Nov 22, 2013 - 6:31pm

Wow, Helen. This must be incredibly hard to face....when friends start faltering, and trying to find ways to help with such limited resources. You are such a good friend to have done as much as you did already. I hope she finds some swift solutions and is well cared for. Glad to hear she has improved since you first wrote this.

kurtster Avatar

Location: drifting

Posted: Nov 21, 2013 - 10:47am

Railroad pensions have a separate and distinct classification in the tax code and social security legislation.

I do believe that one can withdraw from 401's due to medical hardship as with IRA's, without penalty.

Medicaid does have an asset component which is unique to every state.  That will require some checking as well on your local level.

I'm guessing she is under 65 cuz you mentioned she was turned down for Social Security Disability.  I do know that one is entitled to widows (er) benefits once the survivor is past the age of 60.  But again, the railroad thing may have some affect on that.

Keep up the good work.  You're an angel.

What Day Is This?
helenofjoy Avatar

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Posted: Nov 21, 2013 - 5:39am

Yesterday she was so much better! Her sister is going over there with me today to work on getting her paperwork sorted, bills, medical stuff, appointments, and finances so we can see what kind of help she is eligible for.  Anyone know if she has to cash in a 401K and spend it all before she is eligible for services?  I would hope not.  But surely she should begin distribution of her 401K in monthly payments to live on?  She hasn't worked for over 4 years and is trying to live on something like $500 a month from her ex-husband's railroad pension.  If she is getting railroad pension money is she still eligible for social security disability?  She's been turned down once already.  I think she needs someone to be over there taking care of her a couple of times a day until she improves, if she will improve.

Thank you so much for all your prayers and positive thoughts!  I told her how many people were thinking of her and it brought tears to her eyes.  I'm going to attempt to clean out her refrigerator today.  Her cupboards and fridge are overflowing with food, but she only eats a smattering daily.  (I'm scared to get in that fridge!).
She knew it was time to exceed herself.
MsJudi Avatar

Location: Houston, TX

Posted: Nov 20, 2013 - 7:33pm


miamizsun Avatar

Location: (3261.3 Miles SE of RP)

Posted: Nov 20, 2013 - 5:47pm

Living with passion
Alexandra Avatar

Location: PNW

Posted: Nov 20, 2013 - 4:00pm

I'm going to sit down (after my novel proofing is over) and really digest this. Until then...

twilajane Avatar

Posted: Nov 20, 2013 - 9:04am

{#Good-vibes}Hang in there, I could mail you the prayer cloth that I believed helped my mother.{#Pray}
ab origine
oldviolin Avatar

Location: esse quam videri

Posted: Nov 20, 2013 - 6:57am


meower Avatar

Location: i believe, i believe, it's silly, but I believe

Posted: Nov 20, 2013 - 6:04am

What a friend you are.  Thinking about you and her and holding you to the light

Antigone Avatar

Location: A house, in a Virginian Valley

Posted: Nov 20, 2013 - 4:50am

swell_sailor Avatar

Location: The Gorge

Posted: Nov 19, 2013 - 9:32pm

i need a bogle for my glotch.
lily34 Avatar

Location: GTFO

Posted: Nov 19, 2013 - 7:10pm

you are awesome. so glad you're here.

BlueHeronDruid Avatar

Location: planting flowers

Posted: Nov 19, 2013 - 6:43pm

You are many kinds of awesome.
What Day Is This?
helenofjoy Avatar

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Posted: Nov 19, 2013 - 6:30pm

I am seeing improvement tonight.  Keeping all my fingers crossed!  She seems to be rallying somewhat and sounds like her old self!  I'm a firm believer in prayers being answered.  Seen it so many times I can't have a doubt. {#Good-vibes}{#Meditate}{#Pray}
Shine On.
Coaxial Avatar

Location: 543 miles west of Paradis,1491 miles east of Paradise

Posted: Nov 19, 2013 - 6:25pm

So sorry to see this, Helen. Sending quick healing vibes to your friend.{#Pray}

kurtster Avatar

Location: drifting

Posted: Nov 19, 2013 - 3:39pm

Marijuana abuse, WTF ?

Looks like your gonna be reaching pretty deep on this one.

Courage and strength to you and you friend.