Dementia and the ER... This is a rant

Follow
Share

Warning.. this is a rant as I am fearing another ER visit coming up with my Dad who now has a respiratory infection at the memory care. As their caregiver.. ER visits are one of the worst aspects and the most dreaded. (especially now in flu season) Since my parents moved closer to me (4 years ago), I have had numerous horrific, exhausting ER experiences. My dad has been in the ER at an average of 2 times a year in the last 3 years.. all for unrelated issues... for breaking his knee cap, for a kidney infection, for pneumonia , for broken ribs, for an infected gall bladder ... My mom has been in the ER twice since they moved 4 years ago. Once for a TIA and once for a broken wrist. That's at least 8 ER visits with them. The ones with my mom I had to bring my Dad along as I didn't have caregivers at the time. The ones with my dad... I had to bring my mom. They both require 24/7 care while in the ER or hospital. Each visit I get numerous questions from them (over and over and over), long wait which usually end in them admitting them. With my dad.. he will not use the urinal they provide.. so each visit ultimately ends with him having some kind of bathroom accident. I usually see things that no daughter should see. Each visit I get texts from relatives...who want to care from afar... all with concerns for the parent (never me) ... all who want to be "kept informed" ... which means they want to know medical details about my dad. Sometimes I include non medical details like when he pulls out his IV or when he has accidents in the ER... when no one is around (except me)... just for their enjoyment. My parents have each recovered from each ER visit... but each time it takes something out of me... it puts me in such high stress and really highlights what it is like to be alone with someone with dementia. Ok rant over. I pray things turn around this time ...at least he has a D.r at the memory care who has already prescribed antibiotics... but he did have pneumonia just last year.. Every time I hear of any kind of illness with them I start getting high anxiety of my most feared dementia experience.

This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Find Care & Housing
29

Comments

Show:
1 2 3
My husband's about to be directed aorta presented as a pain in his neck/shoulder area. Scary the things that happen.
(1)
Report

Oh my what an experience. 🙏🏻 Wishing you and your family peace and comfort.
(0)
Report

I have to sympathise a bit with the stroke specialists.

The reason they don't just give clot busters every time is that if you go gung-ho and merrily whack them in to a frail elderly patient who has just lodged a large clot in her brain and *damaged* it, you risk causing a catastrophic bleed which will be All Your Fault. It's a very fine balance they're trying to strike - if it were that simple a decision, given how cheap the drugs are, they'd give us all our own sets for use in emergency, like epi-pens.

I still wish I'd followed my first instinct and got some soluble aspirin down my mum before the ambulance arrived, though. Woulda coulda shoulda. Worse? Worse? How could it get any worse?

I love the medic alert tales. Maybe we should have MEDICALERT! tattooed on our foreheads and see if they still manage to miss them.

Barb I wish you'd flicked that triage nurse on the nose to wake her up and make her remember. My ex's blood running cold moment happened when he got a big strong policeman complaining of backache. Took the history. Did the vitals. Examined his back. NAD. Painkillers go home come back if it gets worse..? His guardian angel made him tell the nice burly policeman to roll over so he could just check his abdomen - and his hand practically bounced off it, HUGE triple A just about to say Goodnight Vienna.
(1)
Report

Hearts1960, I know exactly what you are saying. A similar thing happened to my Aunt. With her showing all of the signs the dr. said he could find nothing wrong with her. Aunts daughter argued for five hours that her face was sagging, her left arm was weak, she was having problems with her left leg. Finally after five hours he relented and did a CT. And, low and behold, there it was. A stroke. Unfortunately it was too late for TPA and she never fully recovered, to this day.
Great job doc.
(0)
Report

Used to be when you were to be admitted you quickly moved through to your room unless hospital was full - now wait is 5-12 hours even when hospital has beds. This is progress . Also I have opposite issue my mom is not usually confused so when she had lots of confusion we were upset as they just acted like it was nothing and refused to order a neuro consult - kept telling us “well she is over 80” like no big deal. This past fall they ignored our comments and didn’t check her for stroke despite us saying her face was droopy slightly and her speech different . They kept her only for weakness and we left her - still aware and able to ambulate etc- next morning my sister arrived to see her and she was completely paralyzed in left side . The staff had not even noticed nor had doc see her . And this is supposedly a stroke center !
(0)
Report

I also just had a recent frustrating experience in the ER with my mother who has dementia. She had fallen and broke her hip but she didn't know why she was there-she thought it was for an UTI! Each new person who came in asked her questions that she could not answer correctly/appropriately and I tried to remind them that she has dementia. Unfortunately she really was unable to accurately tell them what her pain level was. I'm sure the nurses and dr were just as frustrated! I thanked them all profusely for their patience as we tried to figure it all out.
(0)
Report

jeannegibbs, I agreed with NP to send my mom out to ER, she was passing huge clots..I had already assumed it was Uterine Cancer. ER GYN gave her medication for the bleeding.
(0)
Report

Barb I love it!! My medalert bracelet is fancy, and I worry all the time that some duffus will disregard it! Maybe i NEED a red band.
(1)
Report

Not a dementia story, just my personal favorite ER story.

So, DH had open heart surgery, gets aorta and aortic valve replaced. On blood thinners for life. Wears a Medic Alert bracelet.

(please note; I don't do ERs if not by ambulance; long experience has taught me that if you come in on your own steam, they disbelieve EVERYTHING you tell them your doctor just wrote down for you). We walked into the ER of a major NYC hospital with a script that said "aortic aneurysm ; please call Cardio Thoracic Surg" and the triage nurse was like "he looks fine to me and his EKG is normal".

I said some REALLY bad words that night.
Fast forward about a year....
So, DH becomes unresponsive while in the bathroom and I say to him "if you don't wake up and GET UP I'm gonna call 911". He grunts. I realize we have an ACTUAL emergency on our hands.

I call 911. We live, I kid you not, half a block from a hospital. Not a trauma center, but a hospital. The EMTs come, they extricate Mike from the "throne", put him on a gurney and they say to me, " you could walk there quicker than we can transport".

"But if we come in with you lovely gents, they will actually pay attention to him, won't they?".

So we get to the ER and they start working on him, trying to get him more responsive. The nurse is asking me rapid fire questions and I'm giving her chapter and verse, replaced aortic valve with a St. Jude, aorta replaced with a dacron one, the name of his CT surgeon blood type, etc. The nurse looks down at my out of it husband and says " "You know Mr. S, with all these problems, you REALLY should be wearing a Medic Alert bracelet".

And whatever fog Mike was in, he raised his right wrist high, for all to see his shiny stainless steel bracelet. The one that has his blood type, blood thinner and St. Jude valve number on it.

And the nurse said "oh".

So, now he has one that has a RED band.  
(8)
Report

Oh Lordy, the ER! My narcissist mother took herself there many times. She just called a cab. As a distance caregiver, I got phone calls from them about her current symptoms. Her tests all came out as normal. I told them she was fine. One Christmas I was with her post gallbladder surgery and she appeared in my bedroom door at 6 a.m. in a long white nightie looking like a ghost. "I threw up," she said, "and I have to go to hospital." Little wonder, thought I, as she had eaten lamb chops, pate and pickles the day before, despite my objections that that was not good post gall bladder surgery fare. So, after dressing, I drove her to a downtown hospital on Christmas Day. The local rubbies had come into the ER off the street to warm up, and mother was sitting in the midst of them, bolt upright in her elegant black winter coat and red scarf, looking very aloof, but not particularly unwell. My tongue was cleaving to the roof of my mouth, as I hadn't had a coffee yet. I managed to get a dishwater type one from a machine in the area, and suggested to mother that this was not a good place for her, as she could catch germs. However, she insisted in staying another hour till finally I could call her doctor, who said, firmly, that it was not a good place for her, and that she should go home and rest.
We got home, and I thought that was the end of it until she announced that she had left one of her good black leather gloves in the ER, and I would have to go back for it. I asked if she had checked her purse and her pockets, and she declared that she had, and it wasn't there, and insisted that I would have to go back to the ER for it. I could tell from her expression that she was getting some enjoyment out of this. So I checked a coat pocket, and indeed it was there. Game over! She was disappointed that I found it.Total waste of everyone's time and energy just for her entertainment. Merry Christmas!
SMH still.
(1)
Report

1 2 3
This discussion has been closed for comment. Start a New Discussion.
Related
Questions