Back to Providence

Anita Henson

Back to Providence

Anita Henson

After two days at home, well not even that, Dad is back at the hospital. Dad came home Tuesday morning January 28th. It was an uneventful day, the home nurse came by and checked the pressure sore on his heel, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and temp. All were normal. After dinner, Sonic of course, Mom and Dad sat in front of the SmartTv to watch their favorite programs: Wheel of Fortune, Law and Order: Criminal Intent and the local news. The TV was moved into the living room and I was in the process of connecting the TV to their cable box with a long HDMI cord I had purchased. I hadn't finished and we found their favorite programs on different apps. Everything was back to normal.

On Wednesday, the 29th, Dad woke up at 4:00 am back to his regular routine writing his column, then went back to bed until 8:00.  We had a scheduled appointment with his primary physician for a referral  to see the surgeon who replaced his hip. My brother went with us because Mom wanted to go, too. I need help transporting 2 people with walkers. His blood pressure was a little higher than what the home nurse had recorded yesterday afternoon when he got home. They hadn't checked it again before we because the visit didn't last long. They nurse recorded the medications from the rehab center, checked his hip, and asked general questions, and also sent the referral for an appointment with Dr. Nelson (the surgeon), the home care nurse, the occupational therapist and the physical therapist. After we got home, the doctor's office called to see how he was, and I told the nurse he was doing okay, working on his next column and resting. The home nurse returned to check on Dad again in the afternoon and everything was good, but he was complaining about the pressure sore on his heel. The nurse referred him to his podiatrist so he could take care of the wound on his next visit Feb. 6th. Mom and Dad rested most of the day, the caregiver came and gave Mom her bath while I went to the store to get the raised toilet seat and a bedside commode for Dad. That night they watched their programs again but went to bed earlier than usual. During the night, Dad used the bedside commode and Mom used hers. Everything was quiet throughout the night as I listened on the baby monitor. Dad would tell Mom to turn on the light by waving her arm (a motion sensor light). I went in a couple of times. We woke up early because Dad wanted to get up at 5:30 a.m. He was dressed and quickly tired and went back to bed for another hour fully dressed.

We went to the clinic at 7:00 on that morning, Jan. 30th. Everything went well, but I hadn't given him his blood pressure medication and pain pill because he hadn't eaten breakfast. Mom stayed home because we wouldn't be gone long. We picked up breakfast on the way home and Mom and Dad ate and they both took their medications after breakfast. They went in the room to take a nap as they always do after breakfast.  The nap lasted a long while. When he got up, Dad went to the computer and Mom went to the dining room to wait for the caregiver to arrive.

The workers arrived to work on the ramp in the den. The occupational therapist arrived shortly thereafter. She stayed about an hour checking the bath/shower area marking the areas for the bars, assessing the necessary renovations that were needed. Taking down the bathroom door is a must because one of the walkers couldn't fit into the bathroom. We all agreed Dad should have a walk-in shower.

While they were working together with our cleaning crew/handyman/contractor, my father's friend and wife stopped by even though I had told him he shouldn't because the therapist was coming. He can't hear very well. Mom was sitting in the dining room and I told them I had to go with the therapist and Dad after sitting them down with Mom and the caregiver. The house was a little noisy and too much stimulation for Dad. After the therapist left, his friend left soon after, the workers finished. Dad told Mom not to take a shower today so they could watch a movie. After everyone left, my brother made their popcorn. Dad couldn't wait to lay on the couch and watch the movie and eat their popcorn. The movie started and I could take a break and talked to the caregiver who was surprised Dad didn't want her to give Mom a bath. We talked about how and when she could help both my parents.

Dad was enjoying every bite  of the popcorn. After an hour he took off his sweater. He was feeling warm which I thought was unusual. They weren't in the den which is usually cooler than the rest of the house during the winter so it made sense at the time. The movie was boring and he decided to watch two episodes of Mary Tyler Moore. I thought he looked tired at the time. He was ready for a nap midway through the second episode and Mom joined him. After they laid down to rest, I went to the store to return the HDMI cable that didn't work with the TV because it was unidirectional. I was getting the TV ready for the Super Bowl on Sunday and trying to connect it to their cable box. I was a mile down the street and the caregiver called me to tell me my father was waking up and couldn't breathe.  My worst fear. I told her to tell my brother to call 911. I turned around and when I got in the house not 10 minutes later my brother, Mom and the caregiver were watching Dad as he lay on the bed struggling to breathe. I called 911.

The paramedics arrived at 3:11 and Dad was in the gurney at 3:41. The paramedic heard fluid is his lungs. They gave him oxygen and his blood pressure was 200+. The paramedic had taken Dad to the hospital a few years ago and asked him if he was still writing. Dad didn't want to go to the hospital, but the paramedic convinced him. Dad arrived at the emergency room and my brother rode in the ambulance. Because I have the POA, Mom and I didn't have to wait to get into the emergency room as we did last week when he broke his hip. I told my brother from now on if this happens again, I will go in the ambulance since I have to give the list of medications and his medical history. He agreed.

It took awhile to admit Dad. He was taken for a CT scan to rule out a pulmonary embolism. He was being observed but the blood pressure was still high, no oxygen needed. He was breathing normally, and we continued to wait until the RN came in. We watched Wheel of Fortune and the decision was made to admit him for possible pneumonia.

Mom and I are visiting Dad every day and at certain times during the day, he would get very anxious. I had warned them that Dad most likely had obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Dad is very routine oriented and believes he is always right. As a teacher with 42 years of experience, I had been trained to deal with all types of personalities in the classroom. Daily, Dad tells me to "hunt  for" the person who was in charge of the antibiotics, the making of the bed, cleaning the room, and medication schedule. They were never on time. For example, while we were visiting him yesterday, he obsessed about the unmade bed. He had been working with the PT (physical therapist) and had to sit an hour in the chair after walking down the hall and back. As he sat, he noticed the unmade bed. When were they going to come he kept asking and sent me to find out what was keeping them. To calm him down I walked around the halls never asking but noticing that everyone was busily working with other patients and reassured him they were on the way. Of course, while I was gone he was calling every number on the board to find out why the bed wasn't made. The staff was grateful I had warned them about his anxiety and OCD. They are now including an anti-anxiety medication to his medication schedule.

I was in the room when the doctor arrived today. He was asking Dad if he knew what was wrong. He explained what pneumonia was to Dad. The doctor told us, looking straight at me, that he is going to get a lung specialist to check him just in case he missed something. I agreed. We are on day 3 at the Hospital. As soon as we arrived this morning, Dad was starting to get anxious and I deduced it was because we were later than usual. We didn't arrive until lunch time because Mom had hurt her hand which was swollen from possible gout. We went to the clinic that morning.

We went to the clinic because I wanted to find out why Mom had awaken with a swollen wrist. I had slept at the hospital that night so Dad could sleep comfortably. He couldn't sleep the night before and kept calling for the nurses because he couldn't breathe. Dad wanted me to stay so he could sleep. My brother took care of Mom while I spent the night at the hospital. My brother had to sleep in Mom's room because she kept calling him. Her blood pressure must have been higher than normal due to the pain in her wrist.

I left the hospital early in the morning to get her, not knowing about the wrist. I noticed the swollen wrist and took Mom to the doctor immediately. The diagnosis was possible gout.

I am so grateful for this Medical POA and the financial POA. Life is easier for us and Dad can set his mind at ease. Mom is taken care of, I can pay for the modifications needed, access their medications and medical records, make decisions on Dad's behalf and pay the bills. If there is anything I have learned in this process it is the strength of the POA's and knowing all parts of their insurance policy. I am grateful for my cousin who has explained everything their health insurance covered since I began this care-giving journey 18 months ago. She is their insurance agent and started them on this policy the year I arrived. Dad is doing well and is watching the Super Bowl as I write this update! Thank you to everyone on the chats and blogs who have helped me on this journey and who will continue to help me as we move on. I am a caregiver for Mom and Dad. I can do this.

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