PLEASE NOTE: Even though this blog is now dormant there are many useful, insightful posts. Scroll back from the end or forward from the beginning. Also, check out my writer's blog. Periodically I will add posts here if they provide additional information about living well with Dementia / Alzheimer's Disease.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Settling In - Not Always A Good Thing

I hope the title of this post confused you. Settling in should sound like a good thing. But they say it takes a while for a new resident to settle into new surroundings on a dementia ward.

It takes time for the workers and nurses to get to know the residents routines and needs, rhythms and patterns. As you know, we have had two Care Conferences dealing with these things. Everyone on the floor is friendly, helpful, and wanting to do the best for Gregory.

So why is it not always a good thing. Would you believe two falls and one fright so far? The day after he was at Lieberman, the nurse called me around 8:00 pm to say Gregory had been sitting on the sofa in front of the TV and when he got up he fell on his knees. No great damage. No broken skin. A little pink. Nothing more. But wanted me to know. I thanked her and it felt good that they were keeping me informed.

Last week, I noticed that Gregory's ankles were swollen and I told the nurse. Later that week I notice that his ankles were very very swollen and mentioned it to the nurse again. At midnight she called at home and told me that she checked and sure enough they were so swollen that she called the doctor. He told her that Gregory could go to the emergency room for a workup or she could order a blood clot scan the next morning.

She and I talked about the implications and I decided that we could wait until morning for the test that would take place at Lieberman instead of putting Gregory though the trauma of a middle of the night emergency room visit. One possibility in waiting was that if he had indeed thrown a blood clot, it could travel to his brain or heart.

I told the nurse that while I hoped that wouldn't happen, we were not afraid of death. It was a hard decision for me to make and I had a hard time falling asleep. Finally, I said out loud, "Universe, if you are ready to take Gregory, please go ahead, I am ready, he is ready, and you have our permission." That said, I fell asleep easily.

Next day the clot scan showed no clots, they put him in special stockings to help with the swelling, and the ankles have looked better each day.

Finally, at seven AM this morning, I got a call from Lieberman that Gregory, after being up and dressed, fell backwards in his room (there by himself) and was found on the floor with a gash in his head, a bruse on his forehead, and in a lot of pain. They had called 911 and the ambulance had just arrived to take him to the hospital (which by the way is just across the parking lot.)

I had my clothes on and was out of the door (without any breakfast and not even one cup of coffee) in five minutes and got to the emergency room less than 10 minutes later. I am grateful that Lieberman Center and the hospital are so close to the condo.

Gregory looked terrible and was moaning with pain but had been able to remain calm throughout the ordeal. He was happy to see me and I soothed, stroked his hand, etc. They did a CAT scan and several X-Rays and found no additional damage. After the blood was cleaned up he didn't look quite so bad (head wounds bleed profusely.) Eight stitches later and a breakfast of oatmeal and pancakes the ambulance picked him up for the trip across the parking lot back to Lieberman.

Gregory after napping on and off in his own bed in his own room back at Lieberman and after a hearty lunch is with Alaksh (who I called for support right away, not knowing how severe the injury had been.) I am at home getting ready for a 90 minute massage and then will go back to sit with Gregory.

While this all might seem difficult, it has been surprisingly easy to get through and to make decisions about. In my role of Secondary Care Giver, which you have already heard about and will probably hear about again, it is good to have so many resources and people supporting me and caring for Gregory.

Besides the people that got him ready for the first ambulance trip, so many people have checked in since our return to his room: head nurse, day nurse, the social worker, his day caregiver, the lunch lady, and various higher level supervisors. Gregory is indeed being well taken care of.

Sorry for the pix but in an effort to fully document ... PS later I will post a photo of  how GOOD Gregory looks after the episode.

1 comment:

Comments are always welcome. You are appreciated! If you do not have a sign-in on any of the accounts below ... use ANONYMOUS. All comments are moderated and will appear as appropriate. Thanks. Please, keep commenting!