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Share your Story: Inel Lewis

by Jason H. on Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Inel Lewis Michigan

My mother.


On April 11, 2010, three days after celebrating my mother’s 80th birthday, I arrived home from Bible Study only to find my mother sitting on the chaise in her bedroom and wheezing.   She said “Inel, I don’t feel well.”  I said “Mom do you want to go to the emergency room,” which was approximately 15 minutes away.  She responded “yes.”  My heart was breaking because for the first time in my life, my mother truly needed me for support.  I drove her to the University of Michigan Emergency Room, and where she was given a series of tests.  Her diagnosis was congestive heart failure which was due to prolonged elevated hypertension.  All I can remember was seeing my 80 year old mother laying on a guerney saying “I’m sorry,” as well as feeling as though I may very well lose my mother. As an only child, I wasn’t ready for my mother to leave me.   

My mother was admitted to the hospital on the cardiology floor, and I stayed with her for the duration of her stay.  Her cardiologist informed us that she had a leakage in her valve that could either be repaired by surgery or medication.  The cardiologist felt that in my mother’s case her illness could be medically managed, but she would have to being an exercise regimen as well as a salt/fatty/fried food restrictive diet, and stress reduction.  Additionally, she would have to have regular visits to see her cardiologist and primary care provider.  Initially maintaining a salt/fatty/fried food restrictive diet was difficult because my mother is originally from Alabama where almost everything is fried.  I remember hearing her say “I would love to have some fried chicken,” and for me to tell her “not today.” Eventually, she would be allowed to have a piece of chicken every so often.  We discovered how to season food without salt, and how to substitute a piece of fruit for more caloric piece of pie.  We would go for walks together at the Arboretum, or around our condominium complex.  She would be compliant with taking her medications.  Two years later, my mother had her visit with her cardiologist.  She has lost weight, and was given a clean bill of health.  I am grateful that the emergency room was nearby, and that we were able to take the small steps in order for mom to regain her health.