A tiring few days, these last days of the week. The fall on Sunday, even without anything fractured or broken, has led to a noticeable change for the worse in Dad. It’s been strenuous, and tough.
Certainly transporting him by ambulance was the first major change after the fall, but not the only major change. Prior to the fall, he was able to get up at times and walk with the walker and help — but no more. Now he needs help. Now he has muscle spasms — even with the muscle relaxers I got on Wednesday.
And his mental state has really shown a decline. He is more confused, wandering in time and space more. He calls for his mother, or my mother (Irene), or his sister (Mildred). He gets more agitated, is more restless. He’s more like he was in the hospital when he was hallucinating. He tries to climb out of the bed.
And he succeeds in that, too. He has gotten out of bed and fallen twice in the last two days. Yesterday morning about 8:30 I heard a small thump — got up — and found him sitting on the floor, the walker turned over on its side and him sitting with his back to the bed. I had checked him not 10 minutes before. I was in the next room. I was awake. He insisted he’d called, but he hadn’t, and he managed to get out of the bed. I got Charles to help me get him off the floor and back into bed. He had no noticeable injury.
Just after 11, he was off to dialysis. I went to bed, too tired to do anything else. I’d been up all Thursday night, basically, checking on him every two hours or so. By Friday morning, I was just out of any energy at all.
He came home from dialysis — had slept through it — and my sister got here shortly afterwards. He slept for a while, but then woke up and was highly agitated, despite pain pills and muscle relaxers. I slept through the night, while Kay stayed up checking every couple of hours. At 6:30 a.m. this morning, though, I heard another thump and we both got there at the same time. Once more, he’d managed to get out of bed — without the walker — and fallen, though again, very luckily, not hurting himself. He’d managed to get out of bed despite the side rails.
It reminds me of how he was when he was in the hospital with hallucinations earlier this spring, after the kyphoplasty for the L1 compression fracture. He was stronger than I’d thought possible, and I stayed awake for 48 hours watching him. This has been very similar.
Since he fell on Sunday almost a week ago, his downward slide has been noticeable. Physically, he can no longer walk with the walker for the physical therapists. Yet he has managed twice to get out of bed and try to walk. His pain is greater because of muscle spasms, and even with the Flexeril I got on Wednesday for him, he has had problems. Today, we got the Ambien refilled — maybe that will help him sleep through the night. It’s not that we want to medicate him into Never-Never Land; it’s that we want him to sleep without disturbance, and we need to as well
I stayed in Egan this weekend after Kay came — just too exhausted to drive even 45 miles. Yet that was fortuitous. Certainly the second fall this morning required both of us. Last night, though, was the time when it took both of us to work.
We’d fed him supper. We were lying him back in bed — and at the same time Kay and I noticed that his left arm — where the dialysis graft/shunt is — was bleeding. It was spurting, in fact. I grabbed a towel and immediately applied pressure. She called 911. We got him to the hospital, and the arm had pretty much stopped bleeding by then, but they called his surgeon anyway. They kept us until the ambulance could return to take us home — and it was nearly 10 before that happened. His shunt has been problematic, and now it is again.
Today when the home health nurse came to check it, it began to bleed again as she unwrapped the pressure bandage. A nurse will come tomorrow to check it as well.
In the meantime, he has been quite restless. He has talked a lot — most of it not understandable. He has been agitated and restless. He ate supper though and then slept for a while. Just now, Kay and I gave him the Ambien and a pain pill and now we’re waiting to see how that works tonight.
Our friend Billie has been shocked today, I think, because she’s seen for the first time how disoriented he is, heard him talk and seen how out of it he is. For her, Dad is the last friend of the Sun Oil group still with it. Now he’s slipping away from us. I know that has to really hurt her.
Kay and I are surprisingly calm about it all. We have talked a lot today and tonight about what we want and don’t want, about what we will do. It’s a sad time, certainly, a heart-breaking time, but a time when the two of us are able to be together and on the same page regarding everything. That’s a comfort, truly. If we weren’t, that would be a problem.
So here it is, a Saturday night in Egan. I slept a few hours this afternoon. I needed that. I got up while Billie was still here, sat and talked with her and Kay. Since she’s been gone, Kay and I have shared a bottle of Prosecco and talked.
Now it’s a bit after 10 p.m. I think I’ll grab a snack and read for a while.
And hope that the Ambien helps Dad to sleep through the night.
My generation was right: Better living through chemistry.