A cautionary tale

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Cwalker935

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I spent most of last week taking care of my elderly parents. Dad needs a lot care since his stroke several years ago. My mother who is his primary care taker has fallen a couple of times in the past year ago breaking her hip last fall. She could never explain why she had fallen. Last week she was feeling fine and was working in the kitchen and suddenly passed out. Initially, they thought she had had a heart attack but eventually ruled that out. They now think she has orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure when standing). Blood collects in the lower extremities when you stand without moving very much and causes a drop in blood pressure. Dehydration exacerbates this problem. We have been encouraging mom to drink more water for a couple of years now but she has not listened. Perhaps this latest incidence and greater awareness of what may be causing her to pass out will help to avoid future reoccurrences.

As many of us are getting older and spend time standing at a lathe, I thought that I would pass this on. Falling in the shop around a spinning lathe and sharp tools is a recipe for disaster so please move around more and stay hydrated while working in the shop.
 
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Shock me

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Hope she's doing better!
Make sure she sees a cardiologist if she hasn't already because figuring out why somebody passes out can be a tricky business and the explanations range from trivial to potentially very dangerous
 

mark james

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Excellent thread Cody. As a community of Penturners, I suspect the average age is getting older, so we need to have an appropriate view of additional "age-related" safety issues. I will add another consideration - overconfidence. With experience comes confidence in our familiarity with our machines, tool control, procedures, etc. But we also really need to be mindful of the basics with safety.

Muscle memory and memory in general is not as sharp as it used to be. When I go back to a technique I have done many times, but not for the last 2-3 months, I find it helpful to simply practice for a bit to remind me of the lessons I went through previously but had gotten rusty with.

About 6 weeks ago I needed to turn a Chevron Finial - (3/8" x 1/8" with 24 joints). I've done maybe 20 previously, but not for about 3 months. I splattered the first 2 attempts. My tool control with a small spindle gouge and parting tool was rusty. I practiced on a scrap spindle, then was able to turn the finial.

On a personal note - Your situation with your parents is very familiar to me and my wife. My mother passed 10 weeks ago at 87, my in-laws are 93 and 94. I retired just in time to take care of my mother for the last 3 years, my wife retired 2 weeks ago to do the same with her parents. The time spent with them is precious, but also "challenging". Be well Cody.
 

mark james

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Hope she's doing better!
Make sure she sees a cardiologist if she hasn't already because figuring out why somebody passes out can be a tricky business and the explanations range from trivial to potentially very dangerous
I will second Greg's suggestion.

My mother-in-law was on a "weight-based pain medication (for spinal bone spurs)." She lost 25 lbs over several years, but the dosage was never re-adjusted. After this was noticed, she went from sleeping 18 hrs a day, to be more physically active and awake 6-8 hrs a day longer.

I have great respect for those in the medical professions, but we also need to be mindful to double-check matters.
 

leehljp

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I hate drinking "just water" except when really sweating doing manual labor in the hot sun. I used to drink lots of colas daily but stopped that about a year ago and went to drinking tea, half a gallon or more a day plus 2 to 3 (12 oz) cups of coffee before noon. I have been noticing lately dryer skin and tendency towards leg and hand cramps. My hands will lock up if I don't get enough liquid, not when I am working but shortly after I stop to rest.

We get set in our ways and it is hard to change as our bodies age.

Take care of your family. I left Japan in the middle of a major work to come home and take care of my hospitalized mom back in 2005. AS soon as I got home, she started getting better and they were about to release her when she passed. My sisters said that she was very happy those last two weeks of her life.

My wife's mom is 91 and in "fair" health. She stays with each daughter for about 3 months, so she moves from FL to MS to TX and back to MS to stay with a different daughter. I tell my wife - "Go see her at your sisters, she doesn't have much longer. You will regret later it if you don't." My sister in laws are the greatest and so is my MIL!
 
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PenPal

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Hey I represent that soon I will be 85. I am an infrequent faller. About a year ago I freefell three steps up at the front sliding door onto the giant rear vision mirror of my all wheel drive 1999 Mercedes 320,this buried in as far as the spleen. It took what seemed like forever to untangle standing on my tippytoes. I walked back to the kitchen where my wife was and said I think I just took out a couple of ribs,then out to the garden to finish welding a three metre stand for my plants. This I did but next morning pow called the ambulance making strange noises,sure enough two broken ribs and thank heaven the spleen suffered no damage.

THere is a stamp on my hospital file Frequent Falls.

For me when you get there in my case I am aware and take precautions. I am banned from working on ladders and the roof. Bought some steel tubing yesterday to make a roof in clear poly sheeting over that plant stand.My son who turns 57 in a week has moved back to Canberra and has offered to help me fix the roof in position.Our eldest just turned 63.

Yes I know the feeling wish you all well,we love our independance living in our own home.

Peter.
 
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Woodchipper

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Tea and diet drinks are diuretics. This was in a golf magazine dealing with playing in hot weather. Leg cramps can be due to low potassium. My wife has this- doctor said bananas have vitamin K; a quality sport drink will work. Her doctor said plain water, alcoholic drinks or soft drinks don't replace the salts and minerals you lose through sweating.
Cwalker, sorry to hear of the situation with family. Been there.
 

pshrynk

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Another venue of aging that we should also be watching for: If people start telling you that you are "slipping" in your faculties, don't do the usual thing of getting angry and storming off. Pay attention! There are so many things as we age that can cause the brain to not hit on all cylinders. Even something as simple as a urinary tract infection can cause delirium and look like a dementive process! Most of the time that there is a cognitive slippage there is a potentially treatable physical cause.
 

WriteON

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Excellent thread Cody. As a community of Penturners, I suspect the average age is getting older, so we need to have an appropriate view of additional "age-related" safety issues.
I heard few horror stories about people slipping in the garage.... greasy floor, trip over something on the floor. Hit their head. Was the last time they fell.
For myself I have a stool on wheels I have to remember sometimes it is behind me.

Water is our best friend. Diet water for me:biggrin:
 

pshrynk

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Unlike the high calorie water in the Great Northern Wasteland. I mean, there's so much calcium in it that there has to be some weight gain when you drink it, right? A few rocks in your belly...
 
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