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Saturday, September 10, 2011

It Has Been a Tumultuous Week

On my last post, I told you that the nurse told us that Fil couldn't stay at the center if he had another combative episode, and they wanted one of the sons to stay with him every minute until the methadone wore off (48 hours). Hubby took the first shift and didn't get any sleep that night. Fil managed to get the bed alarm off and stand up before Hubby could get to him, so the rest of the night Hubby would doze off, jerk awake, make sure his dad was okay, try to stay awake, doze off, and do it all over again.

The doctor was supposed to be at the center between 8 and 9 a.m. I was going to pick up Mil so we could be there before 8:00, but a weekend of eating junk food got to me and she had to go on without me. I got there about 8:15 and the doctor still hadn't arrived. So we all sat in Fil's room and watched him sleep. The doctor finally arrived at the center at 11:00 and started his rounds. We didn't think it would take long, since he knew we were waiting on him, so we opted not to eat lunch, but to have Fil eat in the room while we waited for the doctor. And we waited. And waited. Brother Bear arrived at 11:30 for his shift with Fil, and waited with us. Finally, at 1:00, Hubby asked the nurse when the doctor would be by and she said it shouldn't be long. So we waited some more. At 2:00 there was a shift change, and at 2:30 Hubby went to a different nurse and explained that we had been waiting for the doctor since 8:00 a.m. She took action, went to the doctor and told him to interrupt his schedule and come talk to us. Bless her heart.

The doctor came in about 15 minutes later and was very nice and apologetic. Fil was awake and alert, and even knew what year it was when asked. He was able to swing his legs out and over the bed, sit up, and all without much pain. So that was the end of pain medication for Fil. He has done fine without any since then. The doctor was very optimistic about getting Fil up and around again and said they would start physical therapy the next day.

After that, Hubby and I left, and Brother Bear stretched out on the spare bed to get some rest before Mil left and his shift began. Brother Bear is a chain smoker and he was NOT looking forward to the long night without a break. Everything went fine for him until the next morning when he got Fil into the bathroom. Then, for some reason, Fil decided that the emergency alarm cord shouldn't be there, and he wrapped it around his fist and tried to pull it off the wall. Brother Bear tried to stop him by giving him a towel to pull instead, but Fil just wrapped the towel around his hand and then the cord around that, and pulled harder. A quick thinking nurse came in with a pair of scissors, snipped the cord in half and helped calm down Fil. Even though there are alarms sounding all the time, I'm sure that continuous alarm was driving them crazy. Then, Fil decided the soap dispenser shouldn't be on the wall and he tried to tear that off. Brother Bear did stop him though.

Hubby and I had talked about finding a backup nursing home in case Fil did pull something else and they kicked him out, and I said I would look Tuesday. After hearing about Fil's morning, I figured they would tell Mil that morning that she had to move him. I started calling, first local homes, and then further out, and found that NO ONE will take him if he is aggressive, even those with secure units. He would have to go to a psychiatric hospital, and I got several names from the homes I called. I found that only one psychiatric hospital would take him, and they could take him that day if needed. Mil's meeting with the admissions director was at noon, and I needed all my ducks in a row before her meeting.

Luckily, the admissions director told Mil that Fil could stay. She said the weekend nurse spoke out of turn when telling us that Fil would have to leave if he had another aggressive outburst. She said they had dealt with much worse before and they wouldn't make that kind of decision without a staff meeting. So whew! He can stay, at least for now.

Fil did really well at PT that Tuesday, then again Wednesday and Thursday. He was cooperative, fairly with it, and was making enough progress that he was walking on his own, and they quit using the adult diapers. Then Friday, Mil decided not to go to PT with him, but to stay in the room and rest. That's when things began to fall apart. He wouldn't cooperate with the therapist, wouldn't get out of the wheelchair, and finally they called Mil back there. Fil was in a mood, said he didn't see why he had to do anything, he wasn't getting better, he would never get better, and he was never going to get to leave.

So three steps forward, and one step back for Fil. It's still progress.

I haven't been back to the center since Monday. I was on the phone for Fil Tuesday morning, and on the phone trying to get a dental appointment for me Tuesday afternoon. And then I needed a break. Wednesday morning I woke up with a little pain at the top of my upper lip. I thought at first it was a little cut, but as the day progressed, it felt more like a zit that was about to break through. That afternoon, I was leaving to run some errands and the next door neighbor was standing in front of her car with the hood up. She said it wouldn't go in reverse and she was late for work. So against my better judgment, I let her drive our pickup. I dreaded telling Hubby, but he agreed it was the right thing to do in an emergency.

Wednesday night, Hubby came home from work, dropped into his chair and went right to sleep. By then, I had a spot on my cheek that felt like a splinter. When I woke up Thursday morning, my lip didn't hurt as much, the place on my cheek still felt like a splinter was sticking out, and my eyelids were burning a little and felt like stys were forming on them. My ear was also beginning to ache and I was feeling tired and dizzy. I had signed up for a class in north Dallas, and had to leave by 8:30 am to get to it by 10:00. I got there ten minutes early, only to find that it had been cancelled. To say I was ticked was an understatement. I stopped at a Central Market on my way home so the trip wasn't a total loss, and when I got home, the pickup was gone again. This time Hubby wasn't very happy about it because he needed to get it ready to go to the lease on Friday. He thought she should have rented a car Thursday morning. By the time I got home Thursday, I really didn't care about anything. I was exhausted and the vibration on my face was driving me nuts.

My first thought was shingles, but I had never heard how it started, just that it was a pox like rash that formed along nerves. And whatever this was felt like it was following a nerve. Friday morning, there was a bump on my lip, my eye felt better, but the place on my cheek felt like an electrode had been attached and turned on low. I had called my neighbor and told her Hubby needed the truck Friday afternoon, and she said she would rent a car. She knocked on my door about 11:00 a.m. Friday asking me to drive her to another town to pick up the car. I felt really crummy by then, but I did it since there wasn't anyone else around to take her.

After my last experience at the GP's office, I swore I would never go back there, and my gynecologist suggested I use an internist at their office. So I called and tried to make an appointment. I had to leave a message for them to call back even to make an appointment, and when they hadn't called back by noon, I called my sister-in-law to see if her shingles started out this way, and she said it did. She told me to go to the doctor now. Immediately. Don't wait. So I went to an urgent care clinic, a doc in a box. At first he didn't think it was shingles because I only had one erruption and it was on my lip. He thought it might be a cold sore, or did, until I told him that a line from my lip to my eye was vibrating. He prescribed an anti-viral medication and I went to get it filled. By the time it was filled, I had four more bumps on my lip, two inside, and two on my cheek. The doctor had said it might not progress since I caught it so early, but now I'm not so sure. I have several more bumps on my cheek and the ones on my lip have burst. Of all the places to have shingles, why my face?!!!

So that's how my week ended. Hope yours was better.



  1. Dear Marti ~ I hope things work out for you FIL and I hope you are soon feeling much better.


  2. You know they say that our Maker never gives us more than we can handle, but, when we are in the middle of something like you are going through, you have to wonder. Humbly would suggest that your outbreak is stress related. DUHHH, why would you be stressed??

    Good luck, try to find a way to de-stress. Adding you to my prayer list, praying for FIL healing, and less stress for ALL of you.

  3. Oh Marti! Goodness you have been through it I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and send you all the positive vibes I can muster. I hope you're on the mend very soon!

  4. Wow! what a week! Kind of puts mine in perspective. The FIL stuff is so difficult. Glad you have a slight reprieve .. and know where you can go if you need to.

    Hope the shingles get better and you get some relief. Are they brought on by extreme stress?

  5. Gosh, I got tired reading your post. Or maybe frustrated is a better word. Ihave gone through a lot of stuff like that in the past and glad it's behind me. When I got shingles it never made it to my face, thank goodness. I suffered through them and never did go to the doctor but I told him about it on my next visit and he just shook his head. There are shots for shingles but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I don't get them again. They are not fun at all. And I hope you did catch yours early enough so that they don't spread.

  6. Oh, Marti -you have really been through the mill.

    I can only hope this week gets some better.

    It is really rough having to deal with assisted living places and the loved one that is a resident there. Sometimes it feels like only one step forward with three back.

    Hugs and prayers.

  7. Hope you've been able to rest and that the medication is working for you. Sounds like one long stressful week. Take care of you.


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