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Please help


Registered User
Oct 24, 2015
I really hope I've found the right place and someone can tell me what's going on. Please bare with me, I've a feeling this will be long.

Bit of background, my dad is 77. He's had coronary heart disease and high blood pressure and worsening mobility due to circulation problems since diagnosis 18 years ago. In 2014 he had his last dose of radiotherapy for prostate cancer and thankfully now only requires hormone therapy. The radiotherapy left him with bowel problems mainly constipation, but recently this changed to loose stools with blood. A colonoscopy last week found a polyp but other results still need further investigation. He was also admitted as an inpatient for 5 days 8 weeks ago and was treated for low sodium levels and pneumonia. Whilst in hospital he developed delirium but this sorted itself as he recovered and when he came home he was pretty much back to 'normal'.

Normal for a while has been a little bit forgetful, nothing major. A GP assessment placed him as borderline for dementia and investigations were being planned for when we know more regarding his bowel issues as cancer is highly suspected. He's still independent for most things, he just doesn't cook and needs help in the shower as he's unsteady on his feet in there.

Fast forward to last night. The stubborn old fool likes the pub. He's cut down dramatically as he's got older, to 1 and a half pints of mild bitter every other day (hardly anything compared to the 7-8 pints he used to have daily). He went over as usual but when he wasn't home within 2 hours, he's usually 90 mins tops, and then didn't answer his mobile, my brother went to look for him. And found him surrounded by police, ambulance and fire as he'd flipped the car :( please don't lecture me on drink driving, I'm well aware of the consequences and have been begging him not to do it but he doesn't listen and is now paying the price, as even though he wasn't anywhere near the limit he still shouldn't do it. I'm super greatful and thankful no other vehicles were involved.

We knew it was bad when he was taken to hope hospital rather than our local one. He was very distressed when we arrived and was extremely confused and saying random things, very much like the delirium 8 weeks ago, but this was different, he was aggressive too and not very compliant with anyone let alone the doctors. I managed to calm him enough for them to do a ct scan, and though the images aren't the clearest they've shown a small bleed on his brain.

So he was transferred from resus to the trauma unit, as physically he's otherwise ok and got no other injuries in the crash besides bruising. We left at 1am for them to settle him.

Fast forward to today and I've no idea what's happened. Last night a blood count ruled out infection, but over night he's deteriorated to the point he has a severe chest infection, laboured breathing and a fast heart rate. This has put the bleed on the back burner, they won't entertain even rescanning til he's more stable. He's also lost the ability to swallow so is nil by mouth, yet just yesterday not hours before I had lunch with him and he had no problems.

So he has a tube up his nose to allow them to remove fluid from his lungs which they've done twice today with physio and suction. He's on oxygen, antibiotics and there's been numerous drips throughout the day including sodium and potassium.

My dad is totally out of it, his eyes are closed and he isn't speaking, I think he can hear us at least I hope he can but there's nothing coming back. He's also been catheterised.

I don't even know what I'm asking really, is it dementia what's accelerated due to trauma? Is it delirium again or rather was last night. How can he have got a chest infection what is literally killing him so quickly when last nights blood count showed no infections? Is he going to be able to swallow again? Can anyone help and tell me what I need to be doing? They've decided he doesn't have the capacity to make decisions anymore so a dosl?? Has been put in place, last night we were told due to the aggression and his insistence in leaving, now that's clearly not the case as he's half comatose and doesn't respond to anything


Registered User
Jun 20, 2013
I'm sure people with more experience will comment soon, but just wanted to say that I am thinking of you in this very stressful time and hope that you get the answers that will help.


Registered User
Feb 19, 2010
The Sweet North
I am so sorry you are faced with so much, all at once -- it must be so hard to take it all in.
I don't have any medical background at all, but I would imagine the trauma of flipping the car over could cause the symptoms you describe. The bleed on the brain, too. If he inhaled something into his lungs that could have caused the chest infection, but really, there is so much going on, you will have to question the doctors who are treating your dad, to get answers.
Sorry I can't be of any help, but I hope there is improvement soon.


Registered User
Jul 20, 2011
I am so sorry, this must be so incredibly traumatic for all of youxxxxxxxxx

It would be impossible to tell which came first the beginnings of an infection or the bleed but whatever it was the doctors are trying to get it under control and they have to tackle the massive infection first - which will cause confusion all on its own!!

He will be able to hear you, so keep talking to him no matter what, it will help him to stay calm and peaceful knowing that you are there. Rest and medication and the physio will all work together

Thinking of you at this difficult time and praying for improvement xx


Registered User
Apr 17, 2015
It made me laugh (sorry) when you termed your dad a 'stubborn old fool'. It actually sounds very affectionate. It seems there's so much going on with your dad's health that it's just a waiting game for now. As somebody above said, if you talk to him he'll probably be aware of it. I read somewhere a long time ago that hearing is the last sense to go (although how does that apply to deaf people :confused:, so perhaps ignore that and just carry on talking in the belief that he hears). Health problems can sometimes seem to come on very quickly, but we can't know what was happening underneath the surface. It does sound as if he's getting the right health care, which is something to be thankful for. Best wishes x


Registered User
Nov 29, 2015
My gpa

Does he require life support? Have a DNR?

My gpa died Xmas day 5 years ago.

Pneumonia, diabetic bowel rupture, coma.

Talk to the doctors. They can advise best. Second opinions are good.

God bless.


Registered User
Oct 24, 2015
So the breathing problems turn out they're being caused by broken ribs which have In turn caused his left lung to collapse. He's had a chest drain inserted to reinflate it. There is an infection somewhere but they don't know where. He's a little more alert today, his eyes are open etc. But he's very confused and can't speak, he can say his first name (one syllable) but not his surname (three syllables)

I don't know where we're heading, I just don't see how much more he can take :(