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Old 08-11-2008, 07:43 PM   #1
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Hard to wake up after surgery

My dad is in the later stages of alzheimer's. He fell and fractured his hip last week and had surgery on Sunday morning. We were not even sure about having the surgery, but the doctor said he could put a couple of screws in now but if we did not let him have the surgery he could fall again and completely break it resulting in a complete hip replacement.

Dad is taking a while to wake up good. He did wake up for me about five minutes and he ate a little applesauce. However, most of the time we cannot get him to respond at all. The therapists sit him up on his hip and worked his hip today with no response. They have given him shots in his stomach and he does not even flinch. He is a complete dead weight. To begin with, the nurses said it could be the effects of the alzheimer's medicine, but he has not received any medicine pain or otherwise now for two days and he still does not wake up. Has anyone had this problem with any of your loved ones? My sister and I are very concerned.

Thanks!

 
Old 08-11-2008, 08:28 PM   #2
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Re: Hard to wake up after surgery

I have not had this experience as neither of my parents have had to be put to sleep for surgery. I don't understand why any ALZ medication would cause this problem...... unless it is an antianxiety or antidepressant and after this long that medication should be out of the system. What medication was he on before? If he has had no medication for two days and has not worken up then I would definitely be searching for answers.

I do know that medical procedures can cause setbacks in dementia patients. If I were you, I would be asking for a second opinion and more test to determine the cause or his nonresponsiveness.

I hope your Dad wakes up soon and you find the answers you search for. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers....

Love, deb

 
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Old 08-12-2008, 04:00 AM   #3
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Re: Hard to wake up after surgery

I am sorry that I can't help you - my Mom had hip surgery after a fall, and she woke up and was alert very soon after. Nevertheless the operation did set back her dementia, she was always a little worse after that. Try to get an explanation from the doctor. The nurse's job is to reassure patients and relatives, not to give medical information. I doubt if the AD meds have anything at all to do with it. The fact that he isn't even responding to pain is very worrying.

I hope you see some improvement soon!

Love,

Martha

 
Old 08-12-2008, 03:39 PM   #4
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Re: Hard to wake up after surgery

My mother was like that for a good five days following her hip-replacement surgery almost three years ago now. She'd come to for a few minutes and go right out again. The surgeon said she was in a somnic state and it was the effects from the anesthesia. She wasn't able to have general, had to have an epidural.

Sadly, she was never the same afterwards. We'd noticed she'd had some confusion, but the surgery just advaced it. She was able to come back to her home after a month at a rehab facility; able to live on her own again (alone) for almost two years. I'd kept close touch with her several times a week by visiting, if not every day.

We finally were able to talk her into an ALF last November...things were going great there until she ended up in the hospital with pneumonia..another setback. This time after rehab, I moved her into the LTC part of the NH where she is now. Good days, bad days, but she seems to be stable.

So I hope your dad wakes up, it's probably just the effects of the anesthesia. Good luck and keep us posted.

 
Old 08-16-2008, 08:43 PM   #5
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Re: Hard to wake up after surgery

I am posting an update. Dad is still sleeping an unusual amount of time, but he is now in a rehab - nursing home facility. Our main problem now is he does not realize he had surgery on his hip so he gets up and inevitably falls. He has fallen 4 times in the last 3 days. We are not sure what to do. My sister is going to talk to them on Monday at a meeting to see if we can get a sitter to make sure he does not fall. When we went in this evening, the nurses were just getting him back to bed because he was trying to crawl to the bathroom. This entire situation just breaks my heart, but I do not know what else we can do. My mom and dad are divorced and me and my sister have to work so we cannot take care of him 24/7.

As far as the sleeping goes, he is usually asleep when we visit. I asked the nurse when she called about him falling and she said he does sleep all of the time. Even when he tries to stand he looks like he is asleep. She said he may open his eyes for about 5 minutes but that is his limit. She also stated they are not giving him any medication that causes sleepiness. I see all of the posts about people who cannot sleep. Has anyone ever been in our situation where someone is never awake? My sister and I are wondering if he is in the final stages of this horrible disease.

Thanks.

 
Old 08-17-2008, 03:58 AM   #6
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Re: Hard to wake up after surgery

I'm sorry you are going through this awful turn of events. The only sure way to keep him from getting up and falling, outside of a 24/7 private nurse sitting next to him, is bed restraints. He would be tied losely to his bed. It sounds awful, but if it prevents a new break and more surgery, it may be necessary for a little while.

As for the excessive sleeping, I have no idea what to tell you. Have you spoken to the staff doctor at the rehab place? Your Dad ought to be much more alert by now unless he suffered a stroke or something else during or after the operation. I pray for a good outcome.

Love,

Martha

Last edited by Martha H; 08-17-2008 at 03:59 AM.

 
Old 08-17-2008, 05:08 AM   #7
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Re: Hard to wake up after surgery

We have talked to the doctor regarding Dad's sleepiness. We even tried to get them to do a CT scan while he was still in the hospital, but the doctor said he did not see a reason to do one because he thought it was the meds. Now the nurse at the rehab center does not think it is the meds. At the hospital I found that as soon as they know how far the Alzheimer's has progressed, the doctor's really do not want to do anything.

 
Old 08-17-2008, 05:44 AM   #8
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Re: Hard to wake up after surgery

Hello,
I am experiencing the same thing with my mother. She had gall bladder surgery july 23. Prior to that i had her dr do ct scan and it showed bilaterel slowing and I asked her primary for meds he said he wanted to wait until after the surgery to start her on any ad meds. After surgery the surgeon came out and said mom wasnt waking up, it took them 3 hrs to wake her up and a simple gallbladder surger put her in the hospital 5 days. Her pulse ox wouldnt come up. I noticed in the hospital that her alzheimers seemed to be worse. We have had her home a few weeks and she sleeps all the time. She was sleeping alot prior to that but now it is all them time and her disease progression has really sped up. I almost wish we wouldnt have had the surgery. She has fallen 4 times since we have gotten her home. Her primary dr does not feel that alz meds will work at this point but i am pushing to try them at least.
I totally understand what you are going through.my dad and i are caring for her at home and it is a hard.
Good luck with your dad, I wish i had the answers but i really think the anthesia does something to alzheimers patients brain.
Tami

 
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