Searching for Answers About Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

photo credit: womenshealth.gov

When you’re caring for someone with a deteriorating health condition, you can often feel alone. It’s up to you to stay on top of symptoms, reach out to doctors, and try to make sense of information that is unlike anything we’ve ever tried to understand. It seems that congestive heart failure is one of the diagnoses that is most frustrating for health care professionals and caregivers to manage. It can proceed in so many different ways.

A few minutes ago, a woman named Karen commented on a blog post where I shared – in detail – my journal of my Dad’s 10+ year experience with congestive heart failure, as well as his last month of life. She wrote, “I was so lost with questions that couldn’t be found.”

Unfortunately I don’t have answers, but I put my Dad’s experience “out there” in the public view so that caregivers like Karen could see one example of how CHF developed and what happened during the rapidly-changing period that Dad was in hospice. I’m glad it was helpful to her in some way.

Curious, I looked at the statistics for The Henry Chronicles and was astounded to see that 20 people who found this blog in the past 30 days were searching for information about CHF.

Some of the queries were obviously clinical, like, “end stage congestive heart failure,” but others spoke to the painful and powerful experience of a caregiver trying to understand what to expect, how to prepare — emotionally if nothing else: “congestive heart failure journey.”

My Dad’s journey is over, but I am with you in spirit, fellow caregivers, as you try your hardest to make sure that your loved one has the best possible quality of life.

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4 Comments

Filed under CHF and Other Medical Problems, Uncategorized

4 responses to “Searching for Answers About Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

  1. Liz Hall

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your blog. I searched endlessly for information and everything was clinical, ranging from redirect this, or expect something else. Very little information detailed the human side of living with CHF. My adored, 92 year old, feisty, strong willed and determined motherinlaw has been battling CHF for a year. Doctors think it went undiagnosed for a decade. It was a blessing it wasn’t found and she was able to live her life without intervention and unknowing of how the disease would end her determination to fight her body in not becoming frail. Very much like your Dad, this is what the older generation was made of, survival at all costs. My beautiful motherinlaw is close to the end with her CHF and her brain wills her to continue eating, fight to get your legs out of the bed that has become the new normal. Her skinny, frail body is difficult to imagine and it has turned on her, lashing out and torturing every bone. As the end is only weeks away, we find comfort in knowing this horrible disease cannot cause her to have great days and then end up further down a step ladder to become her new level. Today, after three days of not moving from bed and experiencing visions of her deceased husband, she willed herself up to sit in a wheelchair. She stopped eating three months ago and takes one teaspoon bites of food. Her money paid for Assisted Living with skilled nursing and we were lucky to have endless care for her. God bless you for sharing and helping both me and family members see a glimpse of the human side of a clinical disease.

    • Dear Liz,

      I know we caregivers dismiss the people who think we’re being heroic. We don’t have the hardest part, after all. Our loved ones do. But I can’t help but think you are a hero for your diligence and support. You are writing a story of love through your care, and by sharing your experience.
      Question: Your post struck me so. May I share it on the blog as a post? I can just identify you as LH.

  2. Hey there are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and
    create my own. Do you require any html coding knowledge to make your own blog?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

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