Cuz I got nothin'. I haven't opened my computer in three days and I've been trying to get this post done for two. Things got a little hairy when my 94-year-old, mild-moderately demented grandmother fell and broke her hip last Friday. I got the news in the middle of a fairly normal Saturday (she hadn't had any pain after she fell, so they didn't send her in until she couldn't get out of bed the next day) and managed to beat the ambulance to the ED. My last several days in FB updates:
"Nona fell yesterday. It looks like she broke her hip. I beat the ambulance to the ED." (Jan 3, 2:47pm)
"Waiting, waiting, and more waiting. Oh, and the lobby looks like a ski lodge." (Jan 3, 7:20pm)
(went home at 10pm after waiting for the consult with the orthopedic surgeon)
"The ortho doc called me last night at about 11:00 and I very much appreciated it. He described the break (no other problems) and recommended surgery (partial hip replacement). He hopes to get her in today, but it might be early tomorrow." (Jan 4, 9:45am)
"Day two with Nona at NoName hospital. She's in good spirits. Repeatedly not thrilled about having surgery, but understanding that she fairly soon wouldn't be able to walk if she doesn't. Partial hip replacement tomorrow." (Jan 4, 1:55pm)
"Waiting in pre-op with a rather annoyed woman who wants pork roast, a glass of brandy, and something sweet, but not this surgery business." (Jan 5, 11:09am)
"I think this woman is going to leave the nursing staff with stories." (Jan 5, 6:48pm)
"Day four of Hip-a-palooza. Near total refusal to participate in PT this morning, do breathing exercises, or drink water this morning, but ankle rotations were a go. It looks like she will discharged to skilled nursing tomorrow or Thursday. I. Am. Tired. and my house is about to go to seed." (Jan 6, 5:10pm)
For the last four days I have spent several hours a day listening to complaining, refusals to cooperate, and non-stop, rapid-fire questions. Dementia fucking sucks. It isn't like this situation is some horrible train wreck, I'm just venting. She's an incredibly feisty woman and the nursing staff find her hilarious. Most of the time I do, but it does wear me down and make for long days. I've been spending too much money on lunches in the cafeteria and eating too much stuff I really shouldn't. I also worry because she has a pressure sore that isn't getting better and they haven't been able to get wound care in, her sodium is low, her BP has been all over the place and she isn't eating much. Oh, and she might have hurt her hand when she fell because it's puffy and hurts to move in certain ways. I'll find out about that when I get there today.
The hospital is starting to discuss discharge Wednesday or Thursday to a skilled nursing facility to help her recovery. Why am I dreading this? It's going to be very confusing and possibly scary for her to transition and I'm the only person to help her through it. The only whisper of continuity. It will be more questionsquestionsquestions, refusal to do things out of fear, and asking for brandy (all of which I understand). It took her three days to get settled in the hospital and she still looks surprised when I remind her she had hip surgery, so this is going to be difficult for her. I'm not underestimating her, this is just her with dementia being jerked from one environment to another too quickly.
I worry she isn't going to recover much. It takes commitment to recovery and dementia prevents her from fully understanding this. She also has aortic stenosis, so any physical activity is tiring. So, she has to do PT, doesn't always remember why, who these people are, or where she is. She gets very tired and doesn't want to do it., so there are ghosts of negative associations she strongly reacts to. Once she goes back to the facility where she lives, I don't know if there's anyone there who can get her to walk daily. There isn't a lot of room in the place, but she could at least do something. I can do it once in a while, but nothing on a consistent basis and only because I'm unemployed right now.
I'm afraid she is going to start wasting away and this is the beginning of the end. I mean, yeah, I've already started losing her to age and memory loss, but this is the first Big Thing exposing her extreme vulnerability. The pressure sore really scares me because that's one of those things where the danger level can go from 0 to sepsis overnight. Between her, my dad, and Babydaddy's mom there could be a lot of hospital visits in the next few years. I work on appreciating the time I have left with them, but there are plenty of issues there. I've been losing and grieving for my dad since my 20s and time with him is so hard. I do the best I can and it never feels like it's enough to make them feel better.