Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tuesday update

Another night in the hospital; another call from the doctor; another morning filled with concern and impatience for information but dreading any bad news.
I had picked Ian up at school yesterday and met Jeanette so they could come home together while I got our groceries; I felt exhausted, positively as if someone had cut off a corner at my bottom and drained all the energy and will out of me. I was choosing what kind of soup to buy and having to fight back tears and sleepiness.
After I'd gotten home and put groceries away, Jeanette drove Ian and me to Wellsville, where we had supper at "The Texas Hot'. Then we went to the hospital, and up to Dad's room, where they were waiting for him to pee so he would not have to be re-catheterized, so we spent part of the evening talking about bodily functions, which I'm sure suited Dad to a T. Carol, you'd be pleased to know, I think, that through having to use a chamber pot before I took him to the hospital, the Foley catheter installation and all of yesterday's exercises, Dad was unabashed, whereas even the nurses were more concerned with modesty than he was. It was the same when Jeanette went to have her ankle checked: the nurse closed the curtain around her and asked Ian to wait outside while J. got her clothes back on, but Jeanette told the nurse to let him in.
I read Mike Ellis' short account of how he and Sue had done in the Can Am 250 (sled dog) race this year, and that swelled up Dad's pride and spirits a bit. Then Ian and he looked at the happy birthday card that Carol and Barb had sent, and Jeanette rubbed his back and washed his face while I consulted with the nurses. He seemed to cheer up with all that, but he was on a deadline to produce some urine by midnight.
Sherm called while we were there, and Carol had called me first and then talked with Dad, earlier in the day. I know that helped his spirits, too.
Anyway, we spent some good time with him and wished him well, but I figured he wouldn't be home for a couple days, at least. We headed home to get some sleep, and hoped he would rest well.

After Jeanette and Ian got off to work and school this morning, I got a call from the discharge planner at the hospital. She told me they had found a nursing home bed for him.
I said "huh?" and then she told me that they automatically start making arrangements to see if a nursing home has an opening for patients. But when I questioned her she confirmed that no doctor had actually put in orders for that. As we talked I learned more about what the doctors have prescribed for him, and that he had not produced urine by the deadline. I told her that I'm unemployed and could stay home with him until he gets stronger, but she said he would get more physical therapy if he were in a nursing facility, even though they would send someone to the house if he were there.
We tried to get Dr. Coch on the line at that time, but he didn't answer his page at the hospital, so I left word at his office, asking him to call me.
Dr. Coch did call back a little later and told me that Dad's heart is strong but all the valves leak. He repeated that he does not believe that our use of potassium chloride caused his potassium imbalance and weakness; it may be adrenal insufficiency but we won't know anything for several days, since the test results take some time to get back. He said he wants to figure out why Dad's sodium was low and potassium high, and that will take a little time. He said he will order rehabilitation in a nursing home, which is covered by Medicare Part A., but that it could be done at home. He figures Dad will be in the hospital at least through Thursday, but we will talk more over the next couple days and figure all of that out.
He confirmed that Dad has been fibrillating for some time, and displays signs of either the beginnings of dementia or of a cognitive loss, but said you can't tell them apart at this point. We will go from here.

The thing that continues to be of concern to me is that Dad does not tell me what's going on. He didn't tell us when he fell in the bathroom some time back, and hasn't seemed to get it that my being busy is not excuse not to tell me. I've asked him not to anticipate my situation, but just tell me how he feels or what his needs are, and let me work out how to respond. He wants to save me the trouble, but I've pointed out that that method usually leads to more trouble in the long run. This most recent situation is a case in point.
Pat Bancroft has talked with him and me about it, and I have, and so has Jeanette, and we hope that he's learned something. Pat reminded me the other day when I was beating myself up a bit, that my father wasn't giving me the information I needed to help him effectively. He responded to Jeanette on Friday evening, that maybe he should see the doctor. He has been trying to "spare" me, but I hope he won't do that any more.
Meanwhile, I'll try to be more observant and attentive and whatever else I can think of that may help . . .

1 comment:

shermaniac said...

Of course the valves leak!! That's all the love and concern trying to get out!