Caring for a parent with dementia and alzheimers takes a lot more thinking ahead and vigilance then one with just a physical affliction. They can’t think for themselves, nor keep track when doctors decide to give them a new medication to take. I just found out my dad was prescribed a medication two weeks ago, for the last two weeks of him falling, loss of appetite, increased shakes and spasms are now finally explained. They are now clearly side affects of a drug he really should not have been prescribed when it heightens all of his problematic physical challenges. I’m simply flabberghasted by what seemingly is so obviously inappropriate could have come to pass. Two of the nurses who are truly good at what they do, also agreed, after I asked further questions and told them of my findings and concerns and my second opinion. They were also baffled as to how the doctors, GP of the home and the geriatric Psychologist could have missed this and crossed drugs that can heighten a patients conditions, esp when on another drug that is listed as ‘warning, should not be mixed’. I had to write a detailed email with my findings and quoting drug side effects facts to show them that I have grounds to request stoppage of this drug for my father. How can doctors be so careless and not think and ask family what might be going on for the patient?! They decided my dad was very depressed, but did they bother to ask what went on for the patient, just days before? Such as being overwhelmed by visiting family members he couldn’t care for and having just gone through suffering over 20hrs with fractured wrist, no sleep at the emerg and a cast put on. Can you imagine how you would feel, as a healthy adult, let alone having dementia and alzheimer’s??
I find these days, I can deal with the issue on hand calmly until it is resolved, like a survival mode, then I process and deal with all the emotional stress post incident. I already most often feel that it’s pointless to feel angry, but perhaps I shouldn’t try to diminish that feeling. It seems to be the only way though, in order to make sure my father is taken care of first, I must put all my other feelings aside… tho I’m starting to feel the toll it takes on me sometimes. Is there a better way? It’s hard when a caregiver is on their own as the sole provider.
However, there is one good news today, my dad has finally been submitted to the waitlist for the Little Mountain Place Care Home in Vancouver. This doesn’t guarantee him, but at least the process has been started, this too was a frustrating battle. The waitlist is currently 6 to 8 months, for a possible bed/room to open up. I made requests months ago, never hearing back, then this home I had requested almost 2 months ago, and due to short staff or other, it was never taken care of. Had I not called repeated and emailed to follow up, it was have fell through the cracks yet again. *Sigh* Today I simply feel frustrated and emotional, as I’m processing what has taken place, and feeling bad for my father having suffered for 2 weeks due to an inappropriate medicaiton that is weakening him and making him feel off (but he couldn’t tell me).
Maybe I need to take up boxing or scream therapy 😛
– I apologize for the lack of good writing. I had to write quickly before loosing my window of opportunity to write for the evening. Too tired. –
Today I had a very infuriating phone call with a sibling of my father’s. They are known to be chauvinistic and condescending, and I experienced it at full brunt for the first time. Basically he was trying to bully me into letting him take care of my father, since he knows better, insinuating that I as a female couldn’t possibly take charge properly. He actually went as far as to referring my father as a burden. This angered me so much. If you love someone, they can’t possibly be a burden. I don’t feel that my father is a burden. He is my kin, I chose to take care of him, not because there was no choice, but because I care and I love him.
I’ve learn to distinguish his needs within the limitations due to his condition, from my own needs and ‘wants’. I try to be pragmatic and practical. They cannot see this no matter how much I try to be patient and educate them. All of what I have done came under attack today, and I have to say, I found it very hard to deal with. It broke me down post phone call, esp. after the very long week I’ve had.
Long distance relatives showed up on last Friday eve., coming to visit, but they don’t otherwise call to inquire of my dad’s condition. Despite my sending them detailed updates and links to help them understand and be better informed, they don’t bother to be educated. They don’t really care deeply enough. They showed up and wreaked havoc. Then to have them also disregard my guidance and requests for them to respect visitation guidelines, which ultimately caused my father’s change in behaviour with depression and added fatigue.
Unfortunately, there was only so much I could do. Their lack of regard and respect resulted in my dad’s weaker state, and him falling due to being dizzier than norm. Nurses found him to be agitated post visits and he would pace to try to gain some peace, but since he was weaker and dizzy, he tripped and fell. They choose to not disclose the facts of my dad’s fall and condition when asking for my authorization to take him out that day, even when I asked my dad’s condition, they said ’ oh he’s fine’. I found out when I showed up at the dinner that my dad looked rather shockingly unwell, that he had fell and maybe just sprang his wrist and had a few scrapes. I immediately examined dad’s wrists, and discovered that he likely had a fracture or broken bone in his wrist. How could they do this?! They knew and they saw how he looked, yet for their own selfish reasons, they lied to me, and dragged my poor dad, who now had a very painful wrist out to dinner so they can have their planned dinner. and pour their guilt out by overbearingly not letting my dad do a thing. This has a detrimental affect on my dad. It made him feel old and useless, depressed by it, he gave up and just let them do whatever and stopped trying to express himself at all. Just b/c one has alzheimers and dementia, it doesn’t mean they don’t still have a sense of pride and want to be self sufficient.
I made the assessment on dad’s condition and decided that was enough. I took him back to his home. and after talking to the nurses and reprimanding them for missing the protocol in informing me of his fall, it was decided that the paramedics would come to take him to emergency. Unfortunately it was a busy night, and a full moon that seemed to bring out more mentally unstable folks out, I waited with my dad for 6.5 hours on and off before a diagnosis was made. Luckily it was only a med. fracture and so no surgery was needed. The paramedics took him back and had him tucked in bed, while I made it home before falling asleep at the wheel. I feel bad that my father had to suffer due to the ignorant, but am thankful he’s doing fine, b/c of the dementia, he isn’t as acutely bothered by the a pain in the wrist and can sometimes be unaware of the cast too. Since they have left, he’s in a much better mood again. Also the results of the medication reduction has also shown some improvement to his persona which started last week right be his siblings showed up, he is less withdrawn, and I’m seeing him able to engage a bit more, though the downside is that he’s delusional dementia is a bit stronger again and he’s sleeping less through the nights. Hope we can find the right balance for him soon.