My 88 year old Dad fell down the stairs 2 weeks ago. Because of blood thinners our immediate concern was the bleeding. He lost so much blood I was told he might not make it. The hospital put him on a ventilator because they feared he would swell up and not be able to breath. Many transfusions later he stabilized. We were told he fractured his spine and jaw and would need surgery. We agreed to that and to the ventilator being left in place until after the surgery. This happened on a Thursday. He was alert and moving everything when he went in. I expected surgery would be ASAP but it was the weekend and apparently they don’t work on the weekend so I expected Monday that turned out to be a Holiday. They don’t work on holidays. That’s 5 days on the ventilator already. On the 3rd day They totally sedated him his arms and hands swelled up unbelievable they told me that’s normal due to the trauma.
Tuesday he was scheduled as an add on @ 4:30. At 4:15 the surgeon came up and told me some of the equipment in the Operating room was contaminated and they didn’t have 2nd set available. They rescheduled him for Thursday. Respirator is in for a week now.
830 the night before surgery the surgeon calls and tells me they can’t handle this and tell me he should be moved to a level 1 trauma center. I had asked them after the first few days if he should be moved they assured me they could handle it.
So Thursday night we moved this poor sedated but aware shattered man to another hospital.
The sedation again was stopped.
They tell me he’s unresponsive because he won’t squeeze their hand when told to.
His hands are sooo swollen no one would be able to make a fist.
I have told everyone a million and ten times he’s profoundly deaf without his cochlear implant device hooked up. He also needs to read lips - can’t do that with a mask on.
They keep trying to talk to him and when he doesn’t respond they want to pull the plug. What is wrong with these people don’t they understand what DEAF MEANS.
I go to him he locks eyes with me, I calm him I put his hearing aid on pull down my mask and tell him what’s going on. The panic in his eyes settle down they see he’s responsive and still in there.
We now focus on removing the breathing tube. They shut it off and he can breathe on his own. But his lungs fill with water every time. ENT scopes him and find his vocal chords are not closing which allows water into his lungs. Again The doctor suggests I I pull the plug. I opt for the tracheostomy.
In the mean time his swollen arms are now oozing water soaking his bedding. They finally decide to check it out and the problem is blood clots. They give him heparin and the next day the swelling is significantly down and he’s able to move his arms and legs again. He squeezed my hand yesterday.
My major frustration is that I feel all along they want to write him off because he’s 88.
They tell me all the time like I’m not aware of that. They delay and postpone his treatment for ridiculous reasons. We are now at the hospital for more than 2 weeks.
He had fought off the infections They tell me he has no nerve damage in the back. They tell me the vocal chords should be able to recover. His vitals are perfect, no brain damage no other health problems. He was living a happy life with his wife of 70 years. The problem is he’s 88
So I have to make his choices for him.
I am not trying to keep him alive HE IS ALIVE!! The delays, equipment malfunctions and the hospital mentality are killing him ..
He is scheduled for a very long spinal stabilization surgery on Tuesday- He might not survive it, but I think he would rather die trying...