Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A bad fall; a trip to the hospital; restraints

After a week of not seeing my dad due to so many factors, one of which being the distance I live from the assisted living home, I find out on the way there this morning, via a phone call from my step mom, that he had fallen last night. She wasn't there when it happened, they called her not long after she had been home and she immediately went back to the assisted living home, and he wound up going to the hospital for x-rays.

He was very combative, however, even after sedation. They wound up having to use restraints to pin his arms down so that they could perform the x-rays. By the time it was over, they had to give him a total of four shots to try and sedate him enough. To their surprise, even after the four shots, he continued to fight, though at a much lesser, and manageable, degree. Not once did it put him completely out, and he stayed awake the entire night. Thankfully, the x-rays showed no broken bones and no concussion.

My step mom cautioned me on the phone that he was in bad shape, but I figured she just meant bruises and such. So I was a little surprised when I arrived at the assisted living home to find him in bed with his head arched back and mouth open, breathing only through his mouth, eyes half-closed.

It was not what you would expect to see from someone who had been sedated. He was still fighting, fidgeting with his hands and arms, legs half off the bed because he was trying to get up. Thankfully, he couldn't move his legs very far. My step mom was trying to make sure he didn't fall off the bed and make him comfortable with a blanket, which my dad was bunching up in his hands and lifting up into the air. She seemed to think he was trying to use the blanket -- in his extremely medicated state -- to pull himself up.

He did seem to know I was there when I spoke to him and tried to reach out and give me a hug, but I was the one who did the hugging; he was grasping at imaginary things in the air. He tried to talk a couple of times, but we couldn't understand his slurred speech, especially since he wasn't closing his mouth much. But from his tone of voice, it did appear that he was trying to say something coherent.

I wish I knew why my dad had resisted them so much at the hospital, and why he was fighting a simple thing like going to sleep. Is it just a normal thing for those with Alzheimer's to be so combative? (Note to self to go back and re-read the information on the stages of Alzheimer's disease). Maybe he is now entering the 3rd stage, if he hasn't already.

I am also curious as to why he isn't sleeping at night. The workers at the assisted living home said he doesn't sleep much at all during the night, and last night even with sedation, four different medications no less, he still didn't sleep. My step mom said the no-sleep thing started while he was still at home, so it's something that's been going on for quite some time. I worry about that. It can't be good for him to have gone so long now without getting the sleep he needs.

In my next Blog, I plan to talk about the stigma that seems to be attached to Alzheimer's disease and dementia in general.

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