Back Again – #4

It’s unbelievable.  I’m sure you won’t believe it.  I don’t believe it.  We’re back in the hospital for the 4th time in 5 weeks.  We brought Bo back last night after just two days at home because he has a fever,  is very unresponsive,  unable to stand,  weak and so much worse overall than he was before.

Earlier yesterday Jon got him down the stairs to the living room sofa by supporting and almost carrying him.  Jon said Bo didn’t understand what his shoes were or how to get his feet into them.   He ate his poached eggs by being fed, but his eyes were shut.  By dinner, he didn’t want to eat and would have to be repeatedly prodded to stay awake long enough to chew food he was fed.  He couldn’t drink from a glass and chewed on the end of the straw instead of sucking.

Later in the evening we realized that the only way he could be put to bed was by Jon carrying him upstairs,  but then we discovered he had a fever and considering how he was overall, decided to take him back to the hospital.   Jon had to pick him up and carry him to the car; he couldn’t  hold his head up in the seat.

His decline is so sudden but the doctor said this isn’t unusual for alzheimer’s patients; a hospital stay or sickness can cause cognitive and/or physical deterioration.  Sometimes something much smaller than  a kidney stone can trigger it.

Our issue now is to decide what to do and how to do it.  I know the hospital will want to send him home quickly, especially since they have a shortage of beds (There were 10 of us waiting for a room last night.)  Can we continue to care for him?  Will he improve any in the days ahead?    Do we need a third person to help us? Going to a rehab isn’t an option with an illness that cannot improve (unlike a broken hip, for example.)

The social worker will meet with me, perhaps today.  I also expect a palliative medical doctor.  A speech pathologist was already here in the room making an assessment of his swallowing/eating ability.  He couldn’t answer most questions that she asked (his last name, whether he lives in California, how to count to 10) but when asked where his wife is, he pointed to me, and on the way up here to the room, he called me by my name. Mostly, he sleeps.

The sadness of all of this is overwhelming.



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14 Responses to Back Again – #4

  1. Jo Ann Kohler says:

    May God give you the added strength to get through these days Nancy. Thinking of you so much.

  2. Maureen says:

    OMG unbelievable! It will be interesting to see what everyone says. Hang in there!

  3. Cheryl Simone says:

    Nancy these are tough decisions. You and Bo are always in my thoughts and prayers. I know you will get through this because of your strength and convictions. Bo is fortunate to have you and Jon as his advocates. I hope you gain reinforcement with the knowledge that we are all sending you and Bo positive and strong good wishes and prayers.

  4. Arleen Mildred Stolzenberger says:

    OMG. I can’t believe this. I think a third person will be needed. Maybe a day nurse or night nurse. you and Jon have to be able to get rest! I’m assured you and Jon will work it out. You all continue to be in our thoughts and prayers.

  5. I’m only a recent follower of your blog, but I do know that overwhelming feeling you have right now and the decisions ahead of you for Bo. You will find the strength and your son, Jon will be a huge support.

  6. Mary Smith says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry to hear your latest news. We’ve been through this several times with dad. Any physical health problem seems to increase the dementia – in fact very often we could tell he was going down with something because his confusion would worsen. Can your social worker arrange for you to have more help at home?
    The swallowing problem isn’t nice. Today dad was sitting with an entire biscuit in his mouth which he couldn’t swallow and couldn’t spit out. Evenbtually I gace him a small chocolate ice cream bar and that did the trick. Sometimes, giving the person something cold or hot will trigger the swallow mechanism. Sometimes yawning works because the person automatically yawns back and the swallow reflex kicks in again.
    Thinking of you all.

  7. Thank you for the tips about hot and cold and yawning. I hadn’t heard them. I did meet with the palliative doctor this morning, and will sign on to hospice care so we can stop this merry-go-round of trips to the hospital.

  8. Lisa M says:

    I am so sorry about this. I’m surprised they didn’t offer rehab off the kidney stone stays at the hospital. How it was presented to me was that with an older person – especially someone with dementia – every day bedridden in the hospital = one week of necessary rehab. Their physical health declines so quickly, it takes the professionals (with us there riding them all the time) to get our loved ones back to normal. Find the social worker at the hospital and press, press, press to see what you can get for Bo. I’ll be praying for you all!

  9. Mary Smith says:

    Lisa M, I hadn’t heard that figure before about one day in a hospital bed = a week of necessary rehab. It makes so much sense. I will remember in future. Unfortuantely, the mental decline when people with dementia can’t be reversed. At least, dad never quite reached back to where he’d been before going into hospital.

  10. Pauline Koch says:

    Nancy, how sad and how hard this is! Thank goodness that you have Jon to help – continue to have strength as you deal with this phase of Bo’s illness! My thoughts and prayers are with all of you!

  11. Joan K. says:

    Nancy, You have always been a problem solver. I know you will make the right decisions for Bo. Thinking of you often.

  12. Pamela Fisk says:

    Love and hugs. Always in my thoughts. Let me know if I can do anything, Nancy.

  13. Paula Kaye says:

    I am so sorry for what you are going through. Have you considered asking for Hospice. It is completely part of Medicare and will cost you nothing….it was my lifesaver with Richard.

  14. MCI Alice says:

    I know this must be an incredibly hard time, filled with all kind of emotions. My mother has been in and out of hospice and it has been a Godsend, both for the patient and the caregiver….my thoughts are with you.

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