Saturday, September 3, 2011

I Know It's Been Awhile, But I Have an Excuse

My father-in-law had a stroke two weeks ago. It wasn't a severe stroke, but enough that he was a bit befuddled and had trouble walking upright. He was listing to the left both walking and while sitting. So Hubby and his mother took fil to the VA hospital where they did a bunch of tests, determined he had a small stroke, a heart arrhythmia, and was having trouble with his memory. They admitted him for observation and more tests and kept him for four days. I don't know if I've mentioned it lately, but he also has Parkinson's. All those things together made him a real treat for the staff there. He was hallucinating almost all the time he was there, and they decided to put him in a room with a 24 hour attendant. There was another man in the same room, who seemed to be either heavily drugged or who just slept a lot.

Fil saw things that weren't there, like yellow jackets crawling out of hole in the ceiling, an airplane that he was on, and even in moments when he was fairly lucid, he thought he was in jail there. He kept his house shoes on so he could make a jail break when he had a chance, and he pulled out his IV twice. He finally got a chance to make his break but the attendant caught him, so fil took a swing at him. The attendant probably weighed 240 and fil weighs 160. It wasn't much of a jail break. Later, when Hubby and I were there, fil said he had called the police and they brought us there. Luckily, there wasn't a phone in his room or he probably would have called the police.

Finally, on the fourth day, he was lucid enough to answer questions correctly, and he even knew that something was really wrong. He told the social worker there that he felt he was at a crossroads. They determined he was ready to be discharged, and they gave mother-in-law the option of putting him in a rehab hospital, or taking him home. Of course he wanted to go home, and mil didn't think rehab would do him any good, so she turned it down.

Father-in-law could walk pretty well with a walker, get up and down by himself, but still had trouble with his balance. Then he fell backwards into the shower. Mil was right there, but the walker was between them and she couldn't catch him, and he probably would have pulled her down too if she had tried. He said he was okay, and he didn't hit his head, so even though mil got Hubby out of bed at 10 p.m. to drive to town and get him out of the shower, they finally decided he didn't need to go back to the hospital. A couple of days later, fil couldn't get out of bed to go to the bathroom, and mil called Hubby at 5 a.m. to come get him up. He was in severe pain and couldn't walk by himself, and they finally got him dressed and took him back to the VA.

There, he had x-rays and a prescription for pain medication, and they sent him home. They had to go back the next day to find out the results of the x-ray. He had a fractured vertebrae. Yeah, that would hurt. The pain meds work, but they make him really groggy and mil can't seem to understand that she needs to give them to him every 12 hours like the doctor prescribed. She only wants to give them to him when he says he is in pain, but then he is in severe pain by the time they kick in.

By then, mil had run out of what little patience she had left, and wanted Hubby to spend the night at their apartment to get up with fil at night so she could get some sleep. She is really impatient with fil, even after hearing about the fracture. And she told the social worker at the VA that she couldn't take it anymore, all the waking up at night to go to the bathroom, his sleeping all day, and not being able to leave him alone to go anywhere. She's suffering caregiver fatigue, and her focus is pretty much on herself right now.

So they made the decision to put him in a nursing home with rehab. But mil didn't want to find one, she just wanted it done. The social worker told her she needed to go to a lawyer who specialized in elder law. She didn't want to do that, and thought it would just be done for her. Basically, she just wanted to put her head in the sand and pull it out when everything was okay again.

So I called on my friends to find out what to look for, then called a bunch of homes, and narrowed it down to a couple, and took mil to see them. She thought the second one was great, and so did I. They do rehab for stroke patients, but with him being on pain meds that keep him loopy all day, I'm not sure what they can do to help him regain his balance. He is being admitted tomorrow, or at least he will be admitted if he is approved after an evaluation. So now Hubby is trying to decide whether to give him his pain med so the ride over there won't be so painful, and have him loopy at the evaluation, or keep him off the pain med so he is somewhat alert and lucid when they do the evaluation.

So wish us luck tomorrow that he is admitted, and that they can help him. We all need him to be there, and he needs to do what they say so he can get better and come home. Otherwise, we have to put him in long term care. He needs a break from mil and she needs a break from him, though the facility we found is 20 minutes from her apartment and that drive everyday will get old. And Hubby just needs a break. He hasn't worked a full day in two weeks, and sleeping on an air mattress, getting up all night, and then trying to go to work is wearing him out. Brother Bear took his turn on the air mattress too, and his father-in-law has also been in the hospital, so he was already exhausted.

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5 comments:

thea said...

Sonds like a rough road .. hang in there.

Kate said...

Hope that every thing works out for FIL, MIL and your guy.

A Pretty Pastime said...

Oh Marti~I am so sorry to hear you're having such troubles. Please take good care of yourself and your husband and I am sending all the positive energy I can your way. I hope FIL gets the help he needs.

FlowerLady said...

Dear Marti ~ Sorry to hear about your FIL. Hope that all goes well for him your MIL and your husband and yourself.

FlowerLady

MulticoloredPieces said...

May you and your family be granted the strength and patience to get through all this.
best, nadia