This blog was formerly dedicated in 2009 to my Dad who died of Alzheimer's in 2013. It's been three years now...and I find myself missing blogging...so I am re-inventing my blog... because, after all, life is about moving through, and going forward...

Friday, May 7, 2010

This can not be happening...


At 5:51am my cell phone rang.  My youngest daughter was sleeping on the couch because my snoring kept waking her.  The call woke her up again.  It was the nursing home.  The message said Dad had another fall, was found on the ground, had some cuts/lacerations and taken by ambulance to the ER.

I assumed Dad had fallen from his bed or wheel chair again.  I called the nursing home. I was told again, Dad was found on the ground, was conscious and responsive and sent to the ER. I asked if he had the padded alarms on the floor around his bed and was told he did.

I called the hospital and spoke with the ER nurse.  Dad had just arrived. She said Dad might need stitches. They planned on doing a CT Scan and x-rays.  I told her under NO CIRCUMSTANCES did we want him sedated for the CT Scan.  I explained he had Dementia/Alzheimer's.   I gave her my cell phone number and told her I was on my way.

I got on the Internet and familiarized myself with the route to the hospital.  While I was getting dressed, the ER doctor called inquiring why we did not want Dad sedated.  I explained my mother in law had been sedated for a CT SCAN and became a zombie, never recovered, went down hill and died shortly after. He told me his name and I assured him I would get there as soon as I could.

I called Mom and She had received a call from the nursing home too.  She had a 9am appointment with the bank regarding the Medi-Cal requirements.  She told me she would meet me at the hospital as soon as she was done.

Being sleep deprived and emotionally preoccupied, I got lost, but arrived in the ER by 8:30am, thanks to the navigating skills of my eldest daughter directing me on my cell.

Walking into the ER, I was unprepared for what I saw.  Dad's nose and upper lip were swollen and bloody. I could not even see the separation between his nostrils. The skin on the bridge of his nose, temples, shoulders, knees were raw as if he had scraped away several layers of skin. He looked like he was in a head on auto crash!  I did not want him to see the horror on my face, so I gathered my composure and joked with him, asking if he was chasing pretty women again...

We could barely understand Dad when he tried to speak.  His upper lip was so swollen and difficult for him to form words.  I could not believe he did not chip any teeth!  He babbled in response, but I could only make out a few words.  He could not tell us what happened...

HOW IN THE HECK DID HE GET THIS BEAT UP FALLING OUT OF BED?  HE LOOKED LIKE HE TICKED OFF MIKE TYSON!


He looked like he fell face first. Blood pooled in both eyes and ran down his neck from his ears. Skin was raw and scraped from his temples and cheek.  I could see cuts on the side of his nose.   He had assorted cuts on his face and fingers.  His fingers and hands were swollen and bruised...

A male and female in navy scrubs were cleaning the blood off Dad's face.  There was a lot of blood.  I kept telling myself the face has tons of capillaries and always bleeds a lot... He had a cervical collar on his neck and kept complaining to me about the back of his head hurting. Dad does not complain. Not knowing how hard he hit his head, I just told him it was the collar he had on, and after they checked the x-rays, they would take it off...

I asked the attending nurse and doctor if they were told how it happened.  Did he fall on his wheel chair?  Did he fall out of bed on his face?  What the HELL happened?  The nurse took me aside showing me the Paramedics report:  Patient found outside of nursing home on sidewalk, laying on his left side at 5:20am.

WHAT?


She explained the nursing home said he had escaped....

I could not speak....


I was in shock.  I excused myself and asked for the nearest phone. I had to raise some hell... I called the nursing home and asked for the Director of Nursing.  She had just come into work and did not know what had happened.  I told her Dad looked like he had been in a head on auto accident!  She told me she was looking into what happened and to please call her back.

As I walked back to Dad's bedside in the ER, a doctor walked up to me and introduced himself to me as the doctor I had spoken with this morning. He told me they were waiting for the results of the x-rays but the CT Scan had showed a subdural hematoma on his brain.  He told me so far, it was a slow, small bleed and they would stop Dad's blood thinners and give him platelets, to aid in clotting.  He told me they would check him hourly for neurological damage and concussion.  If the bleed increases, he told me they would have to contact a neurosurgeon to cut his brain open to relieve the pressure.

I pivoted around and went back to the wall phone.  The operator told me the Director of Nursing was in a meeting.  I asked for the Administrator... same thing, in a meeting.  I told the operator THIS IS IMPORTANT, and told her who I was and it was regarding my father.  She told me to hold on, and then the Director of Nursing was on the phone...

I told her about the bleeding on the brain.  She told me she was viewing the security cameras and it showed Dad leaving his room around 5am.  He was last checked at 4:30am.  I asked how Dad could walk out of his room and get past two nursing stations and through a heavy, alarmed door?  She told me maybe the alarm didn't go off.  I told her Dad still had his alarm bracelet on his wrist. She apologized and told me she was still investigating and did not have all the answers... She asked me to please keep her informed.

I called my brother and asked him to update the family.  I told him about the bleed and said he should let everyone know so they could decide on coming down...I choked back tears, praying for God not to Dad die.

My blood was boiling! How could Dad even walk? He is ALWAYS in his wheel chair? How could the staff not see him? Not hear the alarm? How could he get past that heavy security door and get outside!?? I knew if I allowed myself to obsess about HOW it happened, I would not be present for Dad.  I willed the blood in his head to stop bleeding.  He had to be so sore and so frightened.  Right now, he was the priority...I returned to Dad.

Dad was upset and talking, but was impossible to understand through his swollen lip and weakened state.  He kept calling for his Doctor Doctor to take care of him.  He became angry that they had taken him away from her... the last thing we needed was for him to become agitated or combative...

Again, I ran to the wall phone.  I asked the Director of Nursing if Dad's Angel was working today.  She told me she was not sure.  I explained Dad was asking for her and wondered if she might be able to come over.  No later than 15 minutes later, Dad's Doctor-Doctor suddenly appeared magically, just like the Angel she is...

"Hello, my Papa Palapa" she said, and stroked his hair.  She looked at me with intensity in her eyes...asking me what on earth had happened....Dad managed a smile through his swollen lips and it sounded like he was thanking her...

Shortly afterward, Mom arrived.  I told them both what the Paramedic report had said...

Doctor-Doctor returned to work, spending her lunch hour visiting Dad.  Mom and I were like exposed nerves, raw with emotion.  There were three children under five screaming and crying with pain.  A man next to Dad was retching and vomiting in pain, attempting to pass a kidney stone.  It was horrible.

During the course of the 10 hours in the ER, we were told Dad miraculously, did not break his neck or any bones.  So far, no concussion and the neurologist felt the bleed would resolve itself... but would take a long time.  Dad would have to stay in CCU on the 3rd floor and we had to wait until a room became available.

Around 6pm, Dad was transferred upstairs to the 3rd floor to CCU.  Mom and I waited in the CCU waiting room while they changed Dad out of his bloody gown and got him situated in his new room.  We told him we would see him the next day and for him to get some rest.  We asked the nurses to get him a milk shake or something to eat.  He barely drank any water and refused anything to eat.  He was in and out of sleep after they gave him some pain pills.

Mom drove me to my car and dropped me off.  She left for home.  I was to leave and drive to my sisters, but I could not find my cell phone.  The battery had died in the ER, so I wanted to plug it in to my car charger.  Could not find it.  I raced out of the car to see Mom's tail lights turn left out of the hospital parking lot.  CRAP!

I rushed back into the hospital and up to the 3rd floor.  I searched the entire waiting room, which is where I had realized my cell was dead.  I checked with the nursing station to see if anyone had turned in a cell phone.  No luck.  Went down stairs and checked with security.  Nothing.  I borrowed the hospital phone and called my sister to ask her to call Mom and see if it fell out in her car.  I told my sister I would be late getting to her house.

I drove to Mom's, ran in the front door, and before I could ask, Mom pointed to the end table by the front door, and there was my cell phone!  Thank God!

Made it to my sister's by 8pm. She and her husband took me out to dinner. When we returned to her home, we got comfy in our PJ's, she made me some tea and put one of her special hot rice bags on my aching back.  Almost immediately, I passed out in the chair... it was one hell of a day.

8 comments:

Mari said...

Oh Donna - this is a nightmare. I'm so sorry this happened. I'll be praying for your Dad, that the bleed resolves and he can go back soon. Praying for you and the rest of the family too.

Jeanie said...

All I can say is Oh No! I hope he is healing well and that you find out what happened so you can keep it from happening again.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Falls are always distressing to deal with, but your Dad's was particularly bad. What a terrible incident for all concerned!

mickeydee said...

I'm so sorry all of this is happening. Your dad will be in my prayers. I hope you find out what happened so that you can prevent it from ever happening again.

That corgi :) said...

what a nightmare! definitely need to figure out what went wrong that nothing picked up the fact that your dad was trying to leave. so sorry for his injuries; sounds like an awful thing to recover from but glad that he didn't break any bones. do let us know as you can what they say that they weren't able to keep a better eye on him; so worrisome because you wonder if it can happen again to your dad or another resident

betty

PCDee said...

Your Dad is in my prayers, D! What a turn of events for you. Here's to a quick recovery for both of you.

gayle said...

I am so sorry that you had to go through all of this!! What a nightmare!! Praying!!

Wander to the Wayside said...

Well, it's just one thing after the other, isn't it? I'm so glad he wasn't more badly hurt, though sorry he was hurt at all!

My dad got kicked out of his nursing home in Texas because he got out the front door by watching other's type in the secret code, which was 1-2-3. Seriously? He went out in his wheelchair across the large parking lot and across three lanes of a four lane busy street before stopping in confusion. I got a call in Georgia that afternoon, a Friday, saying I had to have him out of the nursing home by the next Monday! I ran around Saturday trying to find a place for him, luckily found one fifteen minutes from my home, and had him flown out the next Tuesday. I have no clue why he didn't have an alarm on him or the wheelchair, but the nursing home here definitely made sure he was wired!