Day 6, Weak Heart, Strong Spirit

Day 6/46 of my daily Lenten blog entries

I sent 39 yr old Daphne (not her real name) home, today, from the hospital.  She was admitted to the ward for 3 days, for Heart Failure.  Yes, she seems too young to have this condition, but unfortunately she does.

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is an infirmity where the heart muscles become weak and aren’t able to pump the blood efficiently.  Eventually, the heart becomes congested with too much blood, becomes floppy, and fluid leaks back into the lungs.  These exacerbations cause a person to become very short of breath, weak, and usually they have very swollen legs.  Eventually they can have complications such as strokes, heart rhythm problems, and eventually death.

We don’t exactly know how Daphne developed this problem.  She actually sustained a stroke because of it, and now we have to keep her anti-coagulated all the time (on blood thinners) to prevent clots.  One of our theories is that she contracted Chagas Disease, which is an interesting insect borne, tropical infection that can affect the heart and esophagus (I’ve mentioned it before...).

She has permanent deficits from the stroke, including hemiplegia (weakness on one half of her body) and speech impairment.  Also, her heart is just so weak now that she can hardly walk without getting short of breath.

The reality is that if she lived in the states she would probably be a good candidate for a heart transplant.  In the very least, there are some other interventions we could offer to improve her comfort and survival.  However, in light of our limited resources we do the best we can.  Unfortunately, it would not be shocking to any of the doctors here if Daphne passed away in the next year.

Our prayer is that the Lord would continue to sustain her, so she can be there for her family as long as possible.  Also, that she would grow in her faith and have courage to face the tough times ahead.

Photo of the day:

People wear shirts that are ‘hand-me-down’s’ from the States.  Since they are in English, they often don’t know what they say.  I’m kinda hoping this guy didn’t know what his shirt said…


6 down, 40 to go…

4 thoughts on “Day 6, Weak Heart, Strong Spirit

  1. Anne hofer says:

    We’ve blogged about her before when she kept going into Afib during her last pregnancy. I delivered the baby praying that her heart would withstand the increased work, and it went very smoothly. She ended up sending the baby to live with an aunt because she couldn’t care for it with her degree of heart failure. Wish we could do heart transplants …


  2. Pingback: Day 16, Lady Sybil

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