I am a the main caregiver for my 91 yo mother and do her home PD. She has been claustrophobic all her life but the last two nights she woke with claustrophobic anxiety. I am wondering if anyone else has encountered this situation.
Sdcaregiver, your mom is fortunate to have you helping her. I’m curious why you attribute her anxiety to claustrophobia, specifically? Kidney failure is anxiety-provoking all by itself! It can certainly feel confining to be connected to a machine, and it may be that manual exchanges where she can disconnect might make her feel less “tethered.”
She is 91 and has had claustrophobia all her life. She attributes the anxiety to claustrophobia, not me. She has been on dialysis for 15 months and has never had these closed-in feelings before. She is on the Amnia machine and I do ALL her hook ups because she cannot remember how to do it.
Last night, on advice from PD nurse, I unhooked her for an hour so she could sit in the living room.
Hi, being a PD patient myself that wakes at night feeling “claustrophobic and anxious” maybe I can shed some light. I have sleep apnea which starves my brain of oxygen thus I wake feeling closed in and my heart is racing and I’m hyperventilating trying to catch up. I don’t wish sleep apnea on anyone but if the shoe fits I wish her many restful nights.
Sdcaregiver, has your mother had a sleep study to see if she might have sleep apnea? Then again, I’ve read that some people report that using a CPAP can contribute to claustrophobia and it’s apparently not the mask according to this research study.
Thank you Beth and all who have shared their thoughts. My mom has had claustrophobia most of her 91 years. She has done sleep apnea tests and that is not the problem. She lost her brother and best friend within a month of each other and then my dad died. I think sadness was part of it. She has started THC edibles and CBD and she now sleeps through the night. Only once did I have to put machine on hold and unhook her (PD nurse recommendation). She walked around, sat in different parts of the house until her anxiety waned and slept through the rest of the night. She is not verbal, let alone proactive, about her health, mental or physical and her dementia/forgetfulness is getting worse every week.
So we are both sleeping better. Thank you again.
Thank you for the update. I’m glad to hear that you found that THC edibles and CBD help her anxiety and that both of you are able to sleep better. It sounds like she had several major losses that could be expected to affect her mental wellbeing.
Have you and she talked about what triggers her anxiety? Being elderly myself, I have found that I have started thinking more about the end of my life and how my life might end. Some people become anxious and others overcome their anxiety by end of life planning. Does she have a spiritual advisor or anyone else she can talk with if she has concerns about death and dying? The Coalition for Supportive Care of Kidney Patients has information that might be helpful to you and her. https://www.kidneysupportivecare.org/
Thank you for the link. Something’s I’ve learned about THC edibles: even though I was very careful about dosing she was very tired during the day. After some research I believe the THC was building up so she stopped taking (about 2 weeks ago) and still sleeping through the night. If her insomnia returns I’ll give a 1/2 dose and go from there.
She is not one to discuss her feelings but we did have her talk to a therapist. She hasn’t had the clostraphobia or anxiety for a while.
Thank you all
That is great news. Thanks for the update!