My friend is up here. She came late this morning and will be returning home Monday morning. She may want to go home early or wish she didn’t come by the time she leaves.
Al has not been the most pleasant man to be around. The term terminal restlessness has been brought to my attention now.
What is Terminal Restlessness or Agitation?
Those who work with the dying know this type of restlessness or agitation almost immediately. However, the public and patient’s family may have no idea what is going on and often become quite alarmed at their loved one’s condition. What does it look like? Although it varies somewhat in each patient, there are common themes that are seen over and over again.
Patients may be too weak to walk or stand, but they insist on getting up from the bed to the chair, or from the chair back to the bed. Whatever position they are in, they complain they are not comfortable and demand to change positions, even if pain is well-managed. They may yell out using uncharacteristic language, sometimes angrily accusing others around them. They appear extremely agitated and may not be objective about their own condition. They may be hallucinating, having psychotic episodes and be totally “out of control.” At these times, the patient’s safety is seriously threatened.
Some patients may demand to go to the hospital emergency room, even though there is nothing that can be done for them there. Some patients may insist that the police be called … that someone unseen is trying to harm them. Some patients may not recognize those around them, confusing them with other people. They may act as if they were living in the past, confronting an old enemy.
My brother has also been having big messes waiting for me each morning. This morning was the biggest and the worst. It took me an hour to clean him up and then I found some depends that were left over.
I used one under him and three pads. Within a half an hour he did it again. So you all know how I spent my morning. I would not trade the luxury of being Al’s caregiver for anything but I will admit this is not one of the duties I care for much.
He feels bad that he is doing this but I just keep reminding him it is not his fault. Al is not eating very much today. He didn’t eat breakfast and took two bites for lunch.
Last evening his stomach was so swollen he looked like he was pregnant. I talked to Hospice and they didn’t seem to have any idea why this was happening. All I know is when he had the big bomb drop this morning the swelling went a way.
Oh what a day. The positive in this day? The sun is shining. It is about forty degrees. I have a window slightly opened. My friend is here. Al is more quiet today than yesterday.