Nan taken to hospital

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by emscub, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. emscub

    emscub Registered User

    Dec 5, 2003
    124
    Bath
    Hi all,

    My Nan had a fall last night and was taken into hospital. They have kept her in under observation and as far as we're aware they want to let her home tonight, although her OT has advised my parents to state that there will be no one home to care for her, and, as she can't walk this will not be practical. The hospital were meant to ring my Mum this afternoon to update her on what ward my Nan's now on and what their plan is but no-one's heard a thing!

    When my Dad arrived at the hospital this morning before he started work, they stated that although they didn't mistrust him, they thought that my Nan's dosage of insulin for diabetes and tablets was very high, so my Dad travelled the eight miles home to take the packets in, which backed up what he had written in the first place. They then contacted the surgery , who phoned us as they were "concerned that her dosage was too high"!! They seem to have real problem monitoring my Nan but then decide it's time to interfere once she has an unrelated fall!

    My parents are on their way to the hospital now to find my Nan and practice their best assertiveness skills! We all want what's best for my Nan, and I really don't think she should be at home alone when she cannot walk.
     
  2. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hi Emma

    it doesn't give much confidence does it? Clearly 'joined-up' is not something that lends itself as a phrase for the NHS round your parts.

    If they insist on discharging her and sending her home, then I would insist on their first signing a letter providing full details of the situation, where the hospital consultant accepts full responsibility for whatever may happen to her, as she will be on her own. I'd also make it clear that I would sue in the event of an accident. I'd also have the ambulance crew sign that they are leaving her on her own. Get a signed note from the OT as well.

    Oh I know that this all takes mental, nervous and physical energy, but perhaps it is time we began to take back from these people the National Health Service we have all paid for?
     
  3. emscub

    emscub Registered User

    Dec 5, 2003
    124
    Bath
    My parents have just returned from the hospital - alone - my Dad mentioned that unless my Nan was able to go to the toilet and cope alone then she wouldn't be able to come home and they left it at that.

    My Nan is still in an observation ward - which I thought was meant for only short-term stay. My Mum mentioned that no one who was in there last night was still in there today. They just don't seem to know what to do with my Nan and she hasn't been seen by a doctor yet today. Her leg also has no dressing on it at all. They also haven't given her ANY insulin for her diabetes at all today. They are monitoring her blood sugar levels every two hours, but my parents said she was extremely confused (more so that usual) and unusually aggressive.

    The nurse also shouted at her at one point, and then apologised afterwards!

    What to do?!
     
  4. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hi Emma

    good news that your Nan stayed at the hospital - at least there she will have nurses and doctors available, and will be seen constantly.

    The problem with hospitals is that there is simply too much demand for their services. If an hospital kept lots of beds free, we'd be complaining that money was being wasted. When hospitals have no beds free, we complain that they don't have enough funding.

    There will be times when demand for beds exceeds supply, so we hear stories of people being left on trolleys in corridors.

    In your Nan's case, at least they had a bed in the observation ward where she can stay. And she is still under observation - they are checking her blood sugar levels on a very regular basis.

    Anyone being admitted to hospital unexpectedly will be worried or confused. When we are confused we either go very quiet, or we declare war. Actually, I'd prefer the war option because it shows spirit. I wouldn't worry too much about the confusion and aggression short term.

    Finally, the nurse shouting. Well, I'd cut her some slack. She may have been on duty for a long time, or it may have been a very busy day. Also, nurses are only human, and not all of them have hands-on knowledge of caring for patients with dementia - the same goes for doctors, by the way, and 90% of the human race. She probably felt really bad afterwards, and she did apologise.

    If it happens again with the same nurse, then I'd be more concerned. The 'good' thing is that patients with dementia don't remember these things, usually.

    What to do? First of all, be thankful that your Nan is receiving help and that she has not been dumped home on her own. Then, use the time she is away to review things - your Mum and Dad, too. Keep an eye on how she is being cared for at the hospital. And don't worry TOO much.

    Best wishes,
     
  5. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Em,

    Do hope that your Nan is okay. Give yourselves a bit of time whilst she's in hospital to regroup and plan ahead. Hang in there.

    I've just received the Inca trek info today - have you got yours and do you think that you can do it?

    Jude
     
  6. emscub

    emscub Registered User

    Dec 5, 2003
    124
    Bath
    Hi Jude,

    Thanks for your reply. My Nan's now been moved from the observation ward, and has been given some insulin so hopefully she'll be a bit calmer this evening. Apparently she's been up and about today so she could be coming home either tonight or in the next couple of days.

    After much thinking about the trek, I really don't think I could fit it all in, as I'm going into my final year at Uni and will have my dissertation to complete, plus piano, work and voluntary employment. Don't think I could fit the fundraising commitments without something suffering! It sounds like an amazing trip though and I would have loved to have been able to do it - maybe sometime in the future. I'm sure you'll have a fantastic time - go for it!
     
  7. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Emma,

    I'm really glad to hear that your Nan's is better and will be coming home shortly. Must be a big weight off your mind.

    The trek - firstly I'm sorry that I didn't reply to your private message. I just can't work out how to reply to them yet. I'm a bit of a computer dummy but am hoping that somebody will give me the ABC on this shortly.

    Well, I've decided to go on the trek. I read all the blurb today about 100 times and thought, why not..! []This will mean losing 3 stone and giving up smoking, but I need to do that anyway.] More importantly, I need to set some new goals. My life at present revolves around spending 6 months with the oldies and 6 months in Bali.

    I know it sounds all very exotic living on a tropical island, but aafter 15 years, it's not exactly a challenge for me. This hit home very strongly on the way back from Oz to Bali, this time. I boarded a Garuda flight and there were a group of Indonesians sitting close to me. They all greeted me in Bahasa Indonesia before I'd even opened my mouth. Obviously my body language is so geared to them, that they didn't even consider that I couldn't speak their language. They just knew that I did! It happens all the time but it was the first time that I'd really thought about it.

    So - the challenge of going somewhere new and where I don't speak the language has great appeal. It will give me a chance to learn a new language, albeit a very small amount. Additionally, Peru has always been on my 'to do' list although a 40 hour uphill hike is pretty far down my list of desirable activities. I think I'm basically lazy really, although I have managed to walk around a fair amount of the globe in my life. One of the best times I had was trekking in Nepal - but that was 25 years ago when I was fitter and younger.

    Still - I've decided to do it and will now have to suffer the consequences. I've tried to talk myself out of this for the past fortnight and unfortunately, haven't come up with a single valid reason why I shouldn't go. Despite all of my attempts - I'm too old, too fat, too out of condition, I find myself walking up that trail. God knows why....!!!

    I'm sad that you've decided not to go, but I totally understand. You have so much to finish at the moment. And all in good time. There will be other treks and opportunities. I've written to the events coordinator here and suggested that perhaps a trip to Bali could be organised as a later event. If they take up my offer of staying at Flamboyant, then I would really look forward to hosting a group of AD supporters at my guesthouse - that's if I survive the Inca Trail...

    Best wishes, Jude
     
  8. emscub

    emscub Registered User

    Dec 5, 2003
    124
    Bath
    It sounds as though you should definitely go for it Jude - you have nothing to lose!

    My sister and I went in to visit my Nan yesterday and I'm still not sure how to describe what we saw. The only way I can think to sum it up is that the person we went to visit was not my Nan - not the person who left here on Monday night with a bad leg.

    Both of us were completely shocked by the way she was behaving and my sister spent about half the time we were there sitting in my Nan's room as my Nan was sitting in a corridor talking to another patient.

    My Mum was also very upset when she came home last night and we're not sure whether my Nan's had another stroke causing her to be like this, or whether she wasn't given insulin yesterday or whether her medication has been mixed up generally. None of us can believe that general disorientation due to being in a different place has caused her whole personality to change and for her to slip downhill so much. I just want to hear that this is temporary because I'm not sure that we can have her home if she is in this state.
     
  9. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Hi Emma

    I suggest you ask the hospital exactly what medications they have given her, the frequency and timing. Also when insulin was given.

    They have to keep records of these things.

    You can then check on anything new they may have given her against Internet resources to check out side effects.

    How has her personality changed?
     
  10. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Emma,

    Thanks for your post.

    Last year when my parents where living in close care, my father apparently decided that he needed a break from Mum. She was sent off to respite care at a Nursing Home for a week. I wasn't happy about it but my father was getting rather stroppy. Anyway I asked the SS to monitor the situation and if my mother was becoming upset, to send her home after 2 days. Well, they didn't. She stayed for a week in respite and both she and my father were frantic! He couldn't remember asking for a break and she didn't understand why she had been moved. It was simply awful for them!

    As a result, Mum had a mini stroke, which was brought on by the stress of being parted from my father. My father was almost hysterical and telephoning me in Bali, which he's never been able to manage to do before. I had to come back to England immediately to sort it out.

    I would think that your Nan has been severely upset emotionally about being in hospital and away from you and your family and her familiar environment. It's quite possible that she's had a mini stroke. One way to see this is to look and see if the left side of her mouth is drooping - that's usually a good indication that something's gone wrong. Get your family Doctor to check her over asap anyway.

    Unfortunately or fortunately [don't know which really] the fact that she's got AD will mean that she will very quickly forget about being away from home and her mentality should stablise very quickly.

    Hope all will be well again soon.

    Kind regards, Jude
     
  11. emscub

    emscub Registered User

    Dec 5, 2003
    124
    Bath
    Thanks for your replies.

    To answer your question about how her personality had changed Bruce, she was pretty much incoherent yesterday. She was being aggressive, swearing (which she never does) and being rude to the staff. Her sentences made no sense, she thinks she's in Blackpool in a hotel but also making references to being in the tower - she's making things up constantly about the place she's in being closed down and everyone moving out and them having a 'do' there and her not being invited. She had no idea who I was - asked me if I was Stephen (my Dad's name) twice. She was acting as though she was drunk really. It was really upsetting and it was the first time I've properly cried about the situation. She was pretty much unrecognisable as the person that left here on Monday.

    My Mum's telephoned and spoken to the nurse on this morning's shift who confessed she hadn't actually met my Nan at all. She tried to tell us that the move into hospital could have done this but my Mum stated that this isn't just confusion - she was downright hyperactive and out of character. The nurse has said that she will inform the doctor of our concerns and my Mum said that she will be in to visit later so hopefully we might get some answers then. I've decided to go in again today - just hoping that she'll either be a little more stable or that I'll learn to deal with it a little better.
     
  12. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Emma,

    The situation you describe is very similar to when my mother returned from respite. All I can suggest is that you show her some old photos to help her calm down again. Does she have a toy or a doll that you can give her to hold on to? Something that she relates to? Also somebody needs to sit and hold her hand and cuddle her a lot now. I really don't know what else to suggest until the Doctor arrives.

    Jude
     
  13. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    Emma

    if you are going in then make sure you find out what medication they may have given her.

    The personality changes and perceptions you describe are absolutely common with dementia, but it is unusual for them all to happen so suddenly [though not impossible - you'll find that the only thing that is impossible is a cure for the dementia!].

    Most likely your Nan became understandably confused [especially being in hospital with so many sick strangers - as she will see it]. She may have believed you had dumped her.

    Now she is back, she is confused again, and though she knows your face, she is having difficulty remembering which name goes with the face. She may be angry with you for 'dumping her'.

    Try to speak to doctors - not nurses - and be firm and forthright with them in making clear that something is wrong, and that it has happened since Nan was in hospital. Make it clear that you want to know the situation regarding medications and anything else that happened to her in hospital. Don't let them put you off.

    I have to say that Jan has days when she is like you describe [maybe when I've missed a day visiting, or she has been asleep all of my visit] and I find that I can bring her to be more her normal self by sitting with her, holding her hand, talking normaly, giving her food she likes, etc. Takes time and attention. As Jude says, cuddle her. That is the best treatment she can have, assuming she will permit it.

    Take it slowly, make no assumptions as to what has happened, keep notes of her condition on a regular basis. Then you will be in a better position to assess her situation and to advise the medics.

    Final thought; there does come a point when, after caring for someone at home for an extended period, something happens and that is a final straw. It may be a mini stroke, it may simply be that one brain cell too many has gone.

    Best wishes
     
  14. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Emma,

    Hang in there and let us know how you are getting on later this afternoon. I'm thinking about you if that helps.

    Jude
     
  15. Geraldine

    Geraldine Registered User

    Oct 17, 2003
    143
    Nottingham
    Hi Emma

    Difficult times. What is happenning to your Nan seems very similar to what happenned to my Mum. During last summer her general mobility deteriorated rapidly and her health was not helped by the extreme heat in August. We went on a long planned holiday, a real mistake in retrospect, but at the time I thought it might help as Mum would not have to cope with stairs in the caravan. Although for 3 weeks before we went Mum would ask, why we were not in a van like last year with no stairs and why Chris was not playing on the slots everynight. Clearly something was not right, but I was hanging on until early September when Mum was due to visit the day hospital twice a week for two months for help with mobility etc. We had a stairlift on order for our house, which as due to be put in on our return. However the change proved disastrous for the whole family, Mum could not even cope with the 3 steps into the an yet only 2 weeks before she had managed stairs, albiet with a great deal of help. She became virtually immobile, the sundowning became full blown panic attacks each afternoon, she was not sleeping and insisting on rising each day at 5.am. It sounds similar to what many list members have described as happenning in respite care. Yet I know Mum was not being neglected, or over sedated or just left to sit and vegetate she was literally recieving 24 hour care which just about finished me off. It was simply the change of scene together with what Brucie described as one brain cell too many going. Eventually it all became too much I think me and my Mum cracked together, she ended up in Exeter hospital to be trasferred back to Nottingham in an ambulance. In the hospital they did their best but she never really calmed down and was very agressive , she moved into an EMI home as I could not cope anymore with a 10 year old to look after. It must have taken about 3 months for her to become calmer, but becuase she has Lewy Body Dementia they have to be careful with her meds. I don't know if any of this helps, but I remember when we were on holiday some afternoons we would sit in the sun and the only thing that seemed to calm her down was to get her to talk about the old days and her family and I would do this for hours, while Steve took Chris out.

    I hope you don't have too difficult a weekend but perhaps your family could use the time to see what would be the best wasy forward fopr you all,

    take care

    Geraldine
     
  16. Jude

    Jude Registered User

    Dear Geraldine,

    I felt really sad to read your post. Life does get impossibly difficult sometimes doesn't it?

    After watching the Panorama programme last Sunday I felt really depressed and wondered how I will ever cope if and when my parents reach that stage of AD. To be totally honest, I don't think I could handle it. I remember Barbara saying that she absolutely hated her husband at one point. I can emphathise with that totally. Sometimes I just hope that since the oldies are 86, they will actually die well before they get to the last point of terminal AD. Sounds a very brutal statement, but I don't think I could bear to see them that way and in so much suffering.

    Jude
     
  17. emscub

    emscub Registered User

    Dec 5, 2003
    124
    Bath
    Hi again,

    Thanks to everyone who replied for being so thoughtful and caring. I've been at work for the last three days so today is the first day I could get on to reply.

    We went in to see my Nan on Friday, when she seemed much calmer. She definitely wasn't back to her usual self but she was better than Thursday. By Saturday and Sunday my parents have said that she seemed more stable again, although she still doesn't know where she is, but I guess we expected that much.

    I totally agree with what you said Jude, and don't think its brutal at all, after all who would really want to be alive and in that state? I definitely wouldn't.

    My Nan's coming home tonight. We got a phone call from a doctor at the hospital at just gone nine this morning (which we noted was the only phone call we'd had thus far and at such an early hour - it could only have meant that they wanted her out!). We're just waiting to see whether she recognises our house now or not. My parents were trying to get her to remember it over the weekend but she says she has no recollection of anything they mention. Hopefully instinct will just kick in and she'll just 'know' otherwise we're in serious trouble and looking at needing constant care whilst my parents are out at work all day.

    Will let you know how it goes...
     
  18. Brucie

    Brucie Registered User

    Jan 31, 2004
    12,413
    near London
    On the subject of brutal

    Hi Emma and Jude

    I have to say that anyone who believes Jude to be brutal in what she said - well, they would be a person who has no knowledge of the ravages of dementia.

    There isn't a day goes by when I visit Jan that I don't think "I WISH you were not so strong physically, so you could be more easily out of your anguish". There isn't a day goes by that I don't think myself a bast*** for thinking it.

    The knowledge that it could be ten years before her ordeal is over is too awful to keep at the front of my mind.

    Emma, take it slowly when Nan returns. It IS possible to get a response, but that rarely happens quickly.

    Today on my visit, Jan could not fully get on her hands and knees and was face down, but on her knees, on the mattress that covers the floor. She seemed drowsy, but she is strong as iron and just won't sleep even when exhausted.

    I thought I might have had a wasted trip.

    But for my position with her today I used the mechanic's one [as in examining the underside of a car], laying on my back, looking up at her face, which loomed so close that often it touched. But I kept talking to her for the hour and smoothing her arm and was rewarded by many beautiful smiles and expressions of "oh, yes!"

    The reward is to see one is making a difference. Winners of the Lotto.... eat your hearts out!
     
  19. Geraldine

    Geraldine Registered User

    Oct 17, 2003
    143
    Nottingham
    Dear Jude

    Than you for your kind words. I was terribly sad for a long time we all were including my son whom his Mamma's illness hit more than we we realised. it was a long time before I stopped feeling guilty about enjoying my husband's and son's company without having to worry about Mum. It is now almost a year since she took really ill and had to move to the home and only now is my life getting back to normal. Like you Jude I wished my Mum had died before this awful illness had done its worst. I am honest with friends and say she would have been better dying 5 years ago. She had enjoyed a few years living with us and my with my wonderful son (I make no apologies- he is lovely!) and was still fit and healthy. I cannot let myself thing about the thoughts that happen in her head i find it too awful to contemplate,

    Geraldine
     
  20. emscub

    emscub Registered User

    Dec 5, 2003
    124
    Bath
    Just to update you, my Nan was extremely confused when she got home last night and we were all very worried, however she fell asleep in her armchair and then seemed to wake up and realise where she was!

    All seems to be back to normal at the moment which is very good news.
     

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