This blog is about life with my husband who was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's and Frontal Lobe Dementia in 2008. He was 64 at the time although now, knowing more about the disease, Alzheimer's was present many, many years ago, which is why early detection is so important. As you read the blog the character"Al" that I created in 2008 represents the way that Alzheimer's is invading our daily lives.
Well, Bob has been exploring new activities at his new home. Unfortunately, "Al" agreed that Bob should go to yoga when the Life Enrichment Aid offered to take him. To bad Bob's back did not think that was such a great idea... after the fact. Sheri has a few more phone calls make. :(
Sheri knows it is hard to believe, especially with the picture she posted of "the boys" with Sir Cooper, but Sheri found out yesterday that Cooper is still very sick. His white blood cell count is through the roof and his lungs are full of infection again. The Vets are baffled at why with all the antibiotics he has been on why he can't kick this. So they reaching for a last resort. 8 days of injected high powered antibiotics. An antibiotic that can cause liver damage and hearing loss, that is not commonly given to puppies because of the toxicity, it reserved for the sickest of dogs. The vet in all kindness said " even if Cooper winds up with hearing loss, the other choice is to have no puppy." So that being said we are starting the injections and we will hope it works. So again, Sheri is asking for prayer for Sir Cooper. Thanks so much for all your support.
After the choking incident, the boys are back safe and sound. Sheri and friend went so see the "Boys" on Saturday. Bob enjoyed the puppy/ kitty Sir Cooper. Sheri even got kind of a half hug out of them. Of course it was followed by "Al" tapping Sheri on her shoulders saying "Congratulations, congratulations!" It is okay, Sheri will take it!.
Sheri knows that nurses and doctors are amazing people to do what they do everyday. Every person at the hospital was caring and friendly. She knows that in emergency circumstances the physical well being of the patient is first and for most, and she knows that even with the best of education these things would still happen. What she thinks might be able to change is to make sure if some one comes out of a locked Alzheimer's ward where they require 24 hour supervision that there is some kind of coding system, maybe a red , yellow, or green dot, that represents this persons cognitive ability such as red means total assist and so forth. This info would be on whatever they sent to the hospital with him or pinned to his shirt or something like that. Then the same color dot goes up on the board with their name. I mean a large dot easily recognizable to all that enter the room.
This is just what has come to mind since this experience. One might think that "well this person was handed over to a medical facility, 24 hours hour supervision is their whole purpose." As you can see from the long recount of this experience a person with these types of impairment, 24 hour supervision means something very different. Sheri know many doctors and nurses and she loves and respects them all. This is just an area that needs more education and with the expected increase in these diseases, it needs to be soon.
Emergency room visit part 8
They tested Bob's swallowing and things looked good. They said we were okay leave after we signed the forms. Sheri got "Al" dressed and they opened the curtain to leave. One the nurses at the desk smiled and gave direction for how to get out of the maze of doors. Bob was obviously feeling better as "Al" began his marching steps whistling away, when the nurses heard him whistling they looked at him and smiled. In return "Al" gave each of the familiar salute, and nod of his head he has become known for now at his new home. As they walked through the exit door she heard the nurses say how cute and sweet he was, that... he is, he is a fragile vulnerable adult.
Sheri needs to pause, praise and pray.
Emergency room visit part 7:
Sheri worked on distracting "Al" because his eyes were still fixed on the heart attack sign. The doctor popped his head in and told them the ex-ray was clear of blockage Bob did not appear to have any broken ribs from the Heimlich maneuver which was good. The doctor disappeared behind the curtain. A few minutes later the nurse appeared, and very quickly pushed the curtain way back making that pushing high screech noise. At the same time she was pushing the curtain back she began talking to Bob very quickly, rattling off instructions and explaining they were going to have him eat and drink something to make sure the swallowing would go smoothly, since choking was the reason he was here ending with a list of drink choices for Bob to choose from. "Al" sat staring with a confused smile on his face, but said nothing. Sheri said I am sorry that was way to fast..... Sheri said " Bob, she going to get you some apple juice." To which"Al" replied great!"
Sheri can't help but think about all the dementia patients that have no one to come to their side while in the hospital.
Emergency Room visit part 6:
Sheri helped Bob do what he needed to do in the bathroom, and walked him back to the room with the curtain. She had Bob sit on the end of the bed while they waited for the nurse to return. Bob was eyeballing the room, now from a different angle then laying on his back. "Al" came across a plastic coated sign on the wall that Bob began to read out loud. "FIRST LEVEL HEART ATTACK" panic set in quickly for "the boys" as "Al" began to clutch Bob's chest. Sheri quickly and calmly explained to him that this was an instruction sheet and that was not happening to him now.
This is the person they left alone behind the curtain with all kinds of wires, devices and medical stuff. Please remember that Sheri believes this is about education, not blame.
Emergency Room visit Part 5:
The nurse disappeared behind the curtain and Sheri went back to her happy face for "the boys". "Al" began fidgeting and from experience she knew he needed to use the bathroom. She confirmed that with Bob, and told him she would find a bathroom. Sheri peered out the curtain and let nurse know that he needed to use the bathroom. The nurse said "oh okay I will show him where it is." Sheri said "a... I think I will come with you." In seconds they were at a bathroom. The nurse in a very rushed but cheerful tone said " Okay, here you go pull the string if you need anything". Bob in his polite manner said "thank you"... as "Al" began to relief himself in the garbage can.
Emergency room visit part 4:
Sheri sat with Bob and tried to have light conversation as she tried to evaluate the situation. She looked for any sign that someone coming into the room would quickly know how cognitively impaired he is, but there was none. There was one of those boards that should have had his name and so forth on it that still blank, may be it could have been there when they had time. When a nurse came in she asked Bob if he was feeling better to which "Al" replied, "yes.", (of course he is... he has no recollection of the event or where he is). So as the nurse was walking out she said " well we are waiting on the chest ex-ray and then the doctor will be in. She was a very friendly gal so Sheri said, "can I ask you a question?" She replied "sure!" "does it say anywhere in his file that he has advanced Alzheimer's and highly cognitively impaired" The nurse replied " I don't know let me look". The nurse went to the computer clicked into many screens scrolled way..... down and said "yep it is in here." Sheri paused a minute and said "Oh good...because that is really important for everyone working with him to know right away."
Sheri was upset to see "the boys" in such distress but she took a deep breath and passed through the curtain. Drawing on her years of experience, knowing "Al" would mimic her mood, she entered the room with a big smile on her face. "Well hello there!" she chirped. Bob shook himself out of "Al's" blank but grimacing stare and looked up at her. "Al" paused for a very long moment and then a cautious smile crossed Bob's thin lips and "Al" said "well, howdy!" Sheri could tell "the boys" knew she was at least a familiar face, and at that moment, that was enough.