When I went to bed last night the winds were howling and it was snowing. This forced me to pull the covers up closer and gave me a quiet moment to reflect on yesterday. Visiting Al was something I wish I had dreamed last night, but instead it was a day time reality.
When I went in to see him the first thing he did was complain about how long it took him to get dressed. He stated that it was a half an hour. I asked him why he didn’t get help from the aid standing near by and he told me he got dressed alone, except for his socks and shoes.
I had also taken him some of those soft sugar cookies with yellow icing and sprinkles on top. Are you familiar with these? You buy them in the bakery area. I will grab some for Al when they can be bought on the day old rack. I had them first here at home so I had managed to stick my fat little fingers in them first. By the time I had placed them in Al’s fingers there were two missing.
I believe there are 10 cookies total in a package. So when Al and I were conversing he also told me that the nurse the night before reamed him about how many cookies he had eaten. This upset him quite a bit as he explained to me that he told her the cookies weren’t full when he got them. What I don’t understand about the cookie issue is, the facility states they can not refuse Al any food. He had been eating himself all most sick and so a few months ago Al and I started doing his menus for each week. This is stuck too and Al can’t change it without my approval. So why was the nurse on him about the cookies? Even if she was genuinely concerned according to the facility they can’t stop him. So why get him all keyed up and go into the guilt and crying trips?
He said she didn’t believe him. From there on out it was a mess. I was there for about three hours and he had changed to talking to me in a way I could understand to either totally messed up or the Parkinson’s Dementia.
His biggest upsetting story was that usually he goes potty right after breakfast but this time he didn’t have to go. He told me that the aid said he would go so she placed him in the door way of the bathroom and made him sit there until the desire came for him. He stated that he sat there for an hour.
My biggest problem is not what you would think which may be the tears. No my biggest problem is while he remains in that place whom do I believe? Of course, I want to believe Al. He is my brother and has been known to lie to me in the past. His mentality is about 10 years old and maybe you can remember or even have kids around that age. If they think they are going to get punished they may lie instead of speak the truth. That is where Al would fall into the category. But to just outright lie is not his nature.
I have to also take into consideration that people who see animals on the floor smiling on them may be confused about the story they are telling.
Al was still upset during lunch but when his food came it did deter his mind for a while. After lunch he was right back at the same story. His issue was that the nurse that he told about his morning didn’t believe him. Which was that he dressed with no help and the cookie ordeal.
Another thing I learned is that some Dentist I did not know came into his room yesterday and got Al to check his teeth. When Al mentioned to him that his sister had not told him about the visit, the dentist replied, don’t worry , the insurance will pay for this.
There are strict rules that no one is to be in Al’s room without my permission and knowledge. I have a couple of reasons that I won’t go into now but I have always told Al that if a professional or not wants to see him, I must know about it first and then I will tell Al.
After all of this had gone on for so long I asked to see the head nurse in charge of the building. I explained to Al that I would look into all of this. It was the only way I could satisfy Al and also let him know that I believed him.
Whether I believed Al or not, I will still act on his behalf and try to dig to the truth. When I had my short little meeting she denied anything I said. She said,
Al always has someone in his bathroom when he gets dressed.
You know that Al gets very confused.
You gave permission for him to see the dentist.
Now first of all Al is up and dressed and down to breakfast by 8am. How does this charge nurse know what goes on early in the morning when she doesn’t arrive until 8am.
I realize Al gets confused, but I have always believed that even the biggest rumor starts out with a bit of truth.
The Dentist, right before Christmas I received a snail mail stating Al was going to be going to an out-of-town visit to an eye vision shop for an exam. First of all with all the good doctors right here in town why would they take him a half hour drive a way. Secondly, when I received the letter I called plus went in and told them Al had just been to an eye doctor in October for an exam and new glasses, so this was unneeded. I also told her at that point and time that because of Al’s issues I had particular doctors that I wanted Al to remain with. Therefore we would not be needing their doctors who are linked to the facility’s accounts.
The charge nurse took me up to the nurses station and pulled Al’s file. She showed me where I had signed on the dotted line on the day I had brought him in that I did give permission. Evidently when I went in December than about the eye exam nothing was actually changed on his file from my request.
I don’t know if someone forgot to do it or if there is a kick back of a resident using their choice professionals. I lost on that one and now have to start over again on Monday to try to get this changed once again.
When our little chit-chat was over and I tried hard not to catch the ball of guilt I was thrown and the head nurse trying to make me realize Al was a patient there and therefore out of his mind, I went back in to see Al. He was laying down with his bed alarm hooked to him. He was crying and getting a little loud with his words.
His point he was trying to make was that when he first lays down they hook the alarm to him and place it on the back of his shirt. But when he is tired of TV he likes to flip over to his stomach and go to sleep and he can’t because it sets the alarm off. He has moved too much. What he was trying to express but the nurse didn’t understand was that he needed someone to release the alarm when he flipped over and then reattach it. Al’s mental issue isn’t connecting to the fact that all he has to do is turn his call light button on when he wants to flip over and they will change the placement of the alarm.
The nurse went on and on about how she had to keep it out of his reach, and she wasn’t changing her mind. She and Al argued for several minutes while I watched the ugly scene happening.
I finally stepped in and told her what he was trying to express but she either didn’t get me or by then her nerves were frazzled from talking to Al. So this went back and forth with the conversation being from the missing cookies, to no one helping him get dressed, being placed in the bathroom for an hour , to the alarm.
Once again I left Al crying and feeling like no one cared or understood him. I told him I loved him and that I would see him soon. I went to my car and called the doctor. I explained most of what happened. Now they are arranging a special doctor to come and see Al to see how he is doing and if they can do any medication changes.
I want Al to be content, but I don’t want him all doped up. Seeing him all drugged up to keep him quiet is like me watching him just lying there waiting to die. There was no talk about whether Al was telling real stories or not. It was all about how can we change this to keep him quiet.
I don’t know what is going to happen but I told the facility and the nurse from Al’s doctor that I demanded a visit with this new doctor right before he went in to see Al. In fact as I am sitting here thinking about it I may do this plus be there during the visit. I just don’t trust all doctors, sorry. And since Al can’t speak for himself, I do.
I want to be informed of what thoughts this new doctor has. I want to be informed of what changes he may want to make with Al’s medications and I want to know the side effects and changes I can expect.
I am now to a point where I want Al comfortable but not so drugged up he is out of it, but I don’t know if I can have this happen or not. I am not sure if Al told all the truth or bits of it or if Dementia was involved. I don’t know if the facility is telling the truth or protecting themselves.
All I know is that I can’t wait to get Al home. It will be my eyes that see what is happening and I won’t have to hear second-hand stories. The more Parkinson’s advances the harder it is to keep him calm but I am darn sure going to give it my best shot.
- Dear Charge Nurse (rehabrn.blogspot.com)