Sunday, 30 January 2011

Three bad nights

We have had three bad nights.

In the evenings Dr Ph was not able to get to his feet. Getting him upright, upstairs and into bed was very difficult.

Perhaps his last fall caused some deep muscle bruising. Although during the day he was able to stand, in the evenings it was too painful.

The first night somehow we managed, but he was distressed, confused and irrational, and kept wanting to take painkillers. He has no memory of what he has taken, did not understand that it takes time for the drugs to work, and altogether was very difficult.

It was sufficiently alarming for me to ring our medical practice next morning to ask for a home visit. It did not seem possible that I could get Dr P up the steps to the garage, and to the surgery. That evening one of the general practitioners, the doctor I usually see, made a house call. She made some recommendations about when and what medicine he should take, and we decided to simplify toilet arrangements, to minimise the amount of walking needed. It was again very difficult to get him to bed, but eventually we managed it.

On Friday night he could not get up from his chair from the dining table. I kept trying different things, like tilting his chair forwards, but he was in too much pain to get to his feet.

After about 45 minutes I decided to use his panic button - a service we have subscribed to since his spinal surgery in 2005. It has been used only a couple of times. After waiting a little longer to see whether his painkillers would enable him to get to his feet, I pressed the panic button and asked them to send an ambulance. Two hefty blokes were what we needed, In my view.

The ambulance arrived, without any hefty males. Both paramedics were female, nice young women. I should not have been surprised, as one of my nieces is a paramedic. They managed to get Dr P to his feet, pursed their lips at the difficulties our house presents to the infirm, and helped get him upstairs, and settled into bed. Having checked him over, they realised that the physical weakness was the major problem. In their view it would have been sensible to take him to hospital, but what would have happened, most likely, is that he would have been kept there overnight, and then sent home next day. I decided to keep him home but that if further problems arose during the night I would get the ambulance back and he could go into hospital.

Friday night, or indeed the whole weekend, is not the best time to need to go to hospital, as the emergency services are in all probability overloaded with drunks, people injured in fights, or accident victims. And it would have been uncertain whether he could have been admitted to a place for respite care, as naturally the administrative staff are not on duty at weekends.

By the time I went to bed I was so fraught I could not sleep, so wrote instead. When I got up, I let Dr P sleep, and a friend came to be watch over Dr P while I walked up the the surgery - which is just around the corner,  and asked for further advice and help. I was really upset, and used up quite a few of their tissues.

Another doctor rang some time later, and gave me further advice.

Last night it was difficult to get Dr P to bed but eventually we managed it. I have asked for Dr P's regular GP, who has been on holiday, to make a house visit, and I will talk to Sandra, the service provider, to try and arrange respite care, and probably permanent care too. She has already organised for a carer to come on Wednesday evenings so I can go to choir, and we had planned to discuss respite care. Of course, it is uncertain whether any will be available. We are not the only ones who need it.

Dr P's rate of deterioration seems to be accelerating. The stress on me, both physical and mental,  is also increasing, and I don't think we can keep going like this for very much longer.


Frogdancer said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. I have no useful words, but send you my love.

Relatively Retiring said...

So sorry to read this, which triggers many memories for me. Thinking of you.

SoulDragon said...

What a trial for you to endure - sending my best wishes...

molly said...

Oh dear! It does sound like Dr. P is deteriorating hard on you. Take all the help you can get!

VioletSky said...

Oh dear.
I still have that lump in my throat.
I hope you get all the help you need and deserve.

Anonymous said...

So deeply sorry, sending you my thoughts and wishes.