March 21, 2014 at 12:14 pm (end stage congestive heart failure, heart failure and exhaustion, how does it feel to die, living with dying, no more tests, the dr. says)

most of us have them, distractions that is.  i am about average when dealing with distractions.  i seem to be able to focus on what needs to be dealt with and in an orderly fashion.  this is most likely due to my nurses training, being in the military and being a mom.

if we let them, distractions will drown out the cries of more important tasks.  being human, we the average, will set goals again and again with the desired outcome to be fewer distractions.  some, like chris, thanks to ADD are in an almost constant state of distraction.

pain can be a great distraction.  just day-to-day life when you are in chronic pain can be a distraction.  add to that the recent events in our life, chris having cataract surgery, my own hospitalization and some extensive business demands.  babies being born, birthdays, daily eye drops for him and decisions for some resolution to my own situation must be attended to.

i mentioned in a previous blog that my hemoglobin is now at 7.0 when the norm is 12-15.  my number had been 7.2 when i was admitted then declined a bit further.  at this point my own dr is saying i have internal bleeding and it has come time to take action.  the first step of course is an endoscopy and colonoscopy.  this seems like a no-brainer to some, however, i made the decision a few years ago to not have any further tests that were invasive.  the g.i. dr who spoke to me in hospital wanted to do further testing of my liver.  bottom line he would be able to possibly tell more about the extent of the  actual liver disease while offering no relief.

liver disease is part of congestive heart failure.  there is nothing that can be done to repair or even stop what is happening. further tests just feel like a violation.  despite the chronic pain and effects of congestive heart failure my quality of life is quite good. so the question became do i have these other tests? do i let the dr’s explore what may be causing the internal bleeding?

more importantly if i do this then where is the line? these are questions i wanted to ask myself in the quiet of the mountains.  these are the questions i wanted to ask chris.  we needed a couple of days without distraction and that is what we did last sunday.  we drove to the mountains of north carolina.  a few years ago we stayed at the inn on the biltmore estate and it was so serene and just lovely.  it is only a 3-4 hour drive from our home. we wind through wooded lanes, off the beaten path.

monday i will be calling to set up an appt with the dr my primary care dr has recommended.  we will take it one step at a time.  i only hope at this point that it will be productive.  since our return i have been experiencing such a level of abdominal pain not before experienced.  this could just be a distraction. we will find out.

inn on biltmorethe inn on the biltmore estate where we stayed.





lobby of inn









even on an over-cast day the sun managed to shine in one the lobby full of comfy old couches that provided private nooks for reading or conversation.


  1. Julia Sweeney said,

    I only want to say, Your life, your decisions. I will be there for you when you need me.to be there.

    • s blake callahan said,

      julia i so appreciate your offer and i believe now is the time. i do need you, it would be helpful to talk to you.

  2. prenin said,

    Hi Sandy! 🙂

    Yes they do seem to like poking and prodding around! 😦

    Knowing the inevitable doesn’t make it easier to live with I know, but you have the medical background to understand your condition so you are better off than most! 🙂

    Love and hugs always my wonderful friend!!! 🙂


    P.S: Give Chris a hug from me!!! 🙂

    • s blake callahan said,

      it does help to have more information than the average person.

      it makes such a difference to have a friend like you who stays supportive and has a sense of humor!

      i will def pass on the hug to chris. he needs it:)

  3. Laurie said,

    To me, it seems pointless to have invasive, uncomfortable tests for no reason other than that of
    … what IS the reason?
    The Biltmore looks lovely.

    • s blake callahan said,

      thanks laurie, knowing that other’s i respect feel the same way as i do is re-assuring. the biltmore was so peaceful. just being away from all the daily demands was helpful. i think of you and hope you are doing well.

  4. jmgoyder said,

    I think your decision is wise.

  5. Jackie said,

    Whatever you decide, it’ll be what is right for you. I’m thinking of you!

    • s blake callahan said,

      i am always glad to see a post from you but worry about the making yourself be inflammed. i am sure you are doing what is right for you and i look forward to hearing what is new. i too will be thinking of you!

  6. Al & Alice said,

    Alice and I finally made it to the Biltmore 2 years ago. Unfortunately it takes us about 12 hours. Had been hoping to get there during Xmas season to see decorations, but couldn’t do it. So glad you have a place like that to escape to within a few hours of home. Have you ever gone to the tea room restaurant in Blitmore Village to have one their English high teas? It was really great.
    Al & Alice

    • s blake callahan said,

      we love a high tea and did not see a place there for that purpose. of course we were very off season. may i ask what state you live in? 12 hours is such a long trip!! after 3 hours i am ready to stop and get my feet up. have you found a place close by that you can escape to? i think we need a change of scenary as well when we can get away.

  7. appletonavenue said,

    It’s hard not to be distracted. My son has ADHD and I see how easily we can become distracted from the real issue.

    I agree with your thinking. At what point do you stop medical intervention. I ask the same question with my Mom in law. It’s hard to know when that time is. But I figure as long as there is a question as to the value to certain tests and procedures would be helpful, it means you haven’t given up. You will know when the time is right to refuse.

    Sending you thought of peace.

    • s blake callahan said,

      for now i think we are ok with our decision, thank you for sharing and caring enough to do so.

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