Martin Health Care called me at 7:35 a.m. this morning to ask permission to send Joe to the hospital. He was unresponsive, and his oxygen levels were low. Of course, I gave permission. I have to admit I was about as smart as a log when they called this morning. Lola had stayed up till 2:00 a.m., and I had insomnia to boot, and listened to a book until about 3:00 a.m.
It was 1:30 p.m. before I could get to the hospital. I had to shower and dress, clean the kitchen so I wouldn't be embarrassed to shreds if someone had to walk in there today, and get Lola up, fed and situated before I left. Then there was travel time. By the time I arrived at the hospital, they had already released Joe back to the nursing home.
He has been having spells like this the last few weeks. One time he will be worrying the staff because he's not responding, and the next he will be "knocking on the walls." Personally, I think it's part and parcel of both the dementia and his personality.
He's not eating much at the facility, and it's worrying them. I've tried to communicate to them that it was a problem. He did it with me, and he's doing it with them. He's only lost 2 pounds since he got there, but that's 2 pounds in 4 weeks. I've told them feed him junk food, and they've replied, "it's not too hard to fry baloney for a sandwich." Yet, I feel that's not getting passed along.
They said he was somewhat dehyrdrated. When I arrived at the facility today, his mouth was so parched. Yet, there was no tray by his bed with any liquid on it. There were 4 large insulated cups in the room, but they were all empty.
When you're not local, how can you guarantee that your relatives are getting top notch care? You're paying out your ass for care, but they have no water and no tissue to blow their noses. Dad's upper dentures have disappeared. The last nursing home lost his glasses.
You try to keep perspective on things - there's a whole ward of demented people who need care, they wander, they pick things up from one room and move them to another. But you have to ASK, "Is it too much to keep my relative's glasses and dentures?" There's not many 90-year-olds who don't have glasses or dentures. If one or the other goes missing, doesn't that ring a bell in SOME care takers' mind? How hard is it to search a ward for glasses or for god's friggin's sake dentures?
Regardless of circumstances, Joe's health is on a steady decline. His creatinine (spelling?) levels aren't normal, indicating kidney failure. His oxygen levels are low. He's having frequent spells of unresponsiveness - meaning he won't respond when they try to communicate with him.
When I first arrived, Joe asked if I was his sister. I said, "No. I'm your daughter." It was met with a blank stare. Later a PT gal was in there, and she asked him if he knew who I was. He didn't. She told him I was his daughter and asked him if he knew his daughter's name. He replied, "I don't know." She asked him his wife's name. He replied, "I don't know." She asked him his name. He said, "Joe."
As usual, my visit today was only filled with his desire to be out of there. He wanted me to open the door to the pen, i.e., let him out of there. He wanted me take him home because he wasn't sick and didn't need to be there. When I finally said good bye and said I had to get home to take care of Lola, he pleaded with me to take care of him.
There are other things I'd like to write about - the neighbors trimming/cutting trees and other things good people have done, but that will have to be in another post.