Tuesday, January 22, 2008

i just called the hospital to find out how my dad was doing. i didn't go up to spend the night this evening. we didn't get any frantic calls from the nurse telling us that he was crazy. i didn't hear any distraught voice begging for me to come up and help him, that's what i heard last night. i talked to his nurse just now and she said "are you the one who was here last night?" i said i was. she said simply "he's a totally different person tonight." i about cried.

i have never seen my dad the way i saw him last night: scared, out of it, combative, wimpering (at times). i was seriously afraid that his stroke had really affected his emotional center in his brain. but, and i think i wrote about this in my last post, i started to look at what my dad needed. he sleeps on his right side. he had been tethered to his bed with bed restraits because he kept wanting to get out of bed. he wasn't able to get good sleep because he doesn't sleep on his back. he can doze, but not sleep. so i carefully took off his restraints and then i realized that his bed was at an angle. his head was higher than his body. he couldn't get comfortable. so, i lowered his bed so he was laying down completely. with in minutes he was asleep. and quickly was in a deep sleep. my dad snores, but when he is really tired he breethes very deep. i mean from his diaphram deep. he doesn't breathe so much as suck in air. i think he breathes through his nose out of his mouth. his whole chest cavity raises when he breathes like that. its actually a bit frightening.

he slept for two hours and had to go the bathroom. that was the first big test of the night. he woke up, still scared. he still didn't know where he was. it was frustrating because i had to get a nurse to unhook him from his iv. get him to the bathroom, then hook him back up and let him sleep. it took me two times of doing this before i realized something: at home he gets out of bed on the right side. my mom's side of the bed is on the left. his iv was on the left of his bed, but he kept getting out of bed on the right. that was causing problems and confusion, so, before he went to bed after a "bathroom break" i made sure to put the iv holder on the right side of the bed. that helped immeasurably. it made life much easier. because of his condition he was wearing adult diapers. this was kind of tough to deal with on a few levels, i won't go into those, but i'm sure you can figure them out. but they were also good because in his half-sleep mind, he was pushing down and pulling up pajama bottoms.

everytime he got back into bed, he would go into a deep sleep. everytime he woke up to go to the bathroom he was a little easier to handle. also, something i learned yesterday was this: urinary tract infections can cause older people to become combative and at times disoriented. he had for the first two days a cathater. that can casue a UTI. i mentioned that to the nurse and they were going to check it. i don't know if they gave him anything, but as the night progressed and he used the bathroom, i would check the water to see what was there. it got clearer and clearer as the night went on. so whatever was going on in the part of his body had cleared up nicely.

he continued to sleep deeply. how deep asleep was he? at about 0600 or so, he had not one, but two nurses do something. one took blood and checked his blood pressure. another gave him a shot. he didn't stir or wakeup either time.

he was lucid all day. making jokes. answering questions and even asking questions. he was "there" if you know what i mean. he wasn't seeing halucinations or anything at all. he was, in his words "bored." i'll take that. really, i will.

earlier in the day he called home, he asked us to bring a radio and bible tapes to listen to. so we did. the nurse said that he has been listening to the tapes one by one this evening. he was sitting in a chair by his bed quietly listening. when she gave me this report, i just lowered my head on to my arms and thanked God. a weight lifted.

we have already gotten the next phase set up. he will be going to a rehabilitation center for a while. there are a few things he needs to work on, mainly his fine motor skills. speaking of fine motorskills, he was able to feed himself this evening. he was able to put fork in mouth. that's a big deal, too. he'd been having problems with that the last day or two.

its been amazing to watch the brain reset itself. that's what its been doing. and i'm pretty sure that the deep sleep he was able to get last night was one of the big keys. hopefully he'll be able to get a good night's sleep tonight and he'll be that much better tomorrow. i told the nurse that if she needs me to come up there to call and i'll be there as soon as i can.

this has been an adventure i don't want to soon repeat.

1 comment:

thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy said...

Or ever, for that matter.

I'm sorry you're going through this, but for his sake I'm glad he has so -- suspect some of those changes you made for him at the hospital are helping his emotional/psychological state immensely. He's less confused, which enables his mind to focus more on that "reset" — as you so eloquently put it.