Don't grieve alone.
My Mum passed away just over 3 months ago. She had spent 2 months in hospital due to an aneurysm and was on her way to recovery. I saw her every day of her stay, right through to when she was communicating and smiling.
Alas, she suffered a cardiac arrest and the damage to her beautiful brain was too much. She died a few days later.
What I'm most troubled by, of all things that are just horrible about this situation, is that I have memory flashbacks of her in hospital.
If I see hospital scenes on TV (and I swear every bad soap and sitcom has to have a hospital scene in it every episode), I recall shocking and disturbing parts of what Mum went through.
I remember the smell, blood and tubes and her struggling. All the awful things she had to go through.
It usually guarantees that night I will have high anxiety and will not sleep.
Does anyone have any good techniques I can use to work through this? Any type of meditation or change of thinking? It is happening several times a week and I'm not keen on getting hooked on sleeping pills just to cope.
Sorry to hear about your loss.First thing I would do is change the way you think!.I don't know about your religious background,so PLEASE don't get tied up in dogma!!!..The most important thing you need to know is your mom is fine!How do I know?Because on 12/26/06 I had a near death experience, and I went the most gorgeous place!!And believe me,I did not want to come back.It's now been proven using scientific method!!
Please,go to the internet,and watch this movie It's called "Warning,this show will change your life."It's a true story about a man who lost is wife in an accident,and the young girl next door,who i determined to give him peace of mind.I know this is TRUTH,because I had the very same experience,only difference is with me,it was an older man!!This is a must see,watch it all the way to the very last word!!
You may want to talk to your doctor about your anxiety.I'm sure he will get you the help you need.
I am not a doctor but have lots of experience with sleepingn problems and panic attacks. I have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and live with it.
I really don't think there is any magic solution to make it much better for you since it is so recent but, here is what i've done in the past and also now for myself. I know it is so hard to get motivated to try but, maybe something below will help you.
First, there are anti depression drugs that will help your symptoms and probably help you sleep - there are many famililies of these drugs - they take about 3 weeks to kick in. Example, I use Paxil and have also used Zoloft but Zoloft worked too well on me and made me extremely sleepy and sluggish. You could use these for a year or so if you want to. ? Everyone is different aobut how the drugs react to them.
Join an anxiety support group or panic attack group - I was very skeptical about it but, saw how others cope or try to cope and it helped me immensely with the panic attacks, some had relaxation tapes that I copied for my own.
there are many relaxation/breathing tapes you can buy that help me before i sleep, I use them more than once a day if I am really anxious.
I am so sorry about your mom and your hospital experience (my mom was in the hospital for 2 long terrible weeks and her heart gave out with an infection because of the chemotherapy). Just keep trying things! We are here.
Hi Liz Ann:
I am very sorry to hear of the loss of your mom. Like you, the in-hospital experiences of my mom's last days were traumatic for me to observe. For my mom, it was about 48 hours from her admittance to the time she breathed her last after we removed her from life support. (She had a massive stroke following emergency surgery to stop a colon bleed-out.) Her last words to me, "I'm afraid." My stupid response was something like "Under the circumstances, I would be as well". Not exactly comforting as they wheeled her off to surgery. When she returned several hours later, she was unconscious and writhing in pain. Eventually they changed her pain meds, but 12 hours later she had the stroke which left her brain dead.
About 3 months (delayed memorial service with family) after her passing, I began to experience flashbacks. I've had to give up watching anything hospital or forensic related. It was and is just good mental health care for me right now. I will breathe through anxiety attacks and get actively engaged in something else--often something physical. Most of the TV I watch these days is sitcoms. I joined a church choir and so added some additional new structure to my life where people expect me to be somewhere. I thought about going to see my former shrink or talking to one of the counselors at the employee assistance program, but I guess I've decided against it for the moment.
In November, my doctor did prescribe Xanax for the anxiety if I wanted to take it. So far I've taken 1 tablet when I needed badly to get some sleep. What seems to have made a difference was being able to describe the experience in detail to her and have her validate that the experience was indeed traumatic. Find a good listener who will validate, not judge.
It's been 7 months for me now--and I would have to say that I am less anxious and less guilty. But I still won't watch hospital dramas at present.
Hope this may help. Please keep us posted.
To Liz and Kris,
I have regrets about how I reacted to the hospital situation. If I had known mom was going to die there I would have been there 24 hours a day but, I was not. She cried and said she didn't feel good the first week she was there and I should have held her more and talked to her more while she was conscious.
I have guilt but, I truly think our moms know how we feel about them and all is ok with what we said or didn't say. All of these great moms have to have a practical streak. :) I know mom would have said, "try to save my life" even though the hospital was such a terrible situation with all the tubes, feeding tubes, liquids, and then a ventilator.
I'm not watching any medical movies or even any intense things right now. I watch comedy movies and sitcoms if I watch tv. Mostly, I just read a good book in the evening and then go to sleep - no tv and sometimes just taking a slow walk around the block helps me too.
Thank you guys! it is a small comfort I'm not alone in feeling traumatised by the whole hospital experience. Tho I am sorry as well that you had to go through the same, too. I thought the grieving alone was the hard part, but you never know how shocking hospital can be. In Scrubs it seems so damn happy, real hospitals are nothing like that!
I think at the time I put up with the ghastly things that were done to her, because it would all be worth it when she got better. Since she died, it feels like she was just being tortured til she couldn't take it any more.
She never once complained tho, and smiled hugely whenever I'd go and see her.
I wish I had gone in early, on the day of her cardiac arrest. I feel like I could have warned the nurses early and they could have acted quickly. I did go through a lot of anger towards to nurses and doctors.
For once, I wished the doctors would just say "It is really effing horrible what has happened", but I guess they have to have some composure.
I have to find a doctor, but will keep posted on progress when I find one. I've downloaded some soothing noises for my phone for when I sleep. Hopefully they work!
Like you, I also lost my mother in the hospital. In the emergency room for that matter. By the sounds of your story, it sounds like your mom went through a lot. I'm a nurse at a hospital, so I have experience with the flashbacks - when my patient is dying, gasping for air, I automatically think of my mother her struggle.
I can tell you this much.. they will soon go away. Your mom is in such a better place, free of pain and agony. If you try to seek the positives in your mothers passing, I think that your anxiety will soon settle down.
I find that exercise, yoga and cooking helps my grief. I wouldn't recommend sleeping pills because people easily get addicted..
Hi Ashley, thanks for the advice. I've started a regular exercise routine, and its doing well with the endorphins n all.
Mum went through a lot. First she had to survive the aneurysm. She started to recover then her brain became dangerously swollen and she came down with meningitis and pneumonia. She had the worst fevers! Then she had blood clotting. It was just one nightmare after another!
I believe Mum is ok now, but I'm in constant turmoil. I admire the nurses a lot! They put up with everything so well.
I know what you are going through. I also used to like shows about different medical conditions, and was interested in getting into the medical field. Now I cannot even stand watching anything that is medical related and I've stopped going to the doctor since I get exposed to medical equipment;which makes me get into panic mode. There really is no easy way to erase or prevent these thoughts, it just gets a little easier with time. The first three months were the worst for me and I couldn't go to sleep without first replaying all the horrific things mom went through. My doctor has prescribed Mirtazapine for me. It helps relax me some, but its not a permanent fix. I think you can try something to help these first few months. I too don't believe in medication but was going insane with dark thoughts every night. This medication and time has made it easier for me to cope. Hope this helps
Thank you for your reply. I have something called Restavit which puts me to sleep, but gives me incredibly vivid dreams. I'm seeing a doctor soon. I feel like it isn't getting easier to handle the memories and I'm experiencing new guilt. One day at a time, I suppose