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New and need some advice

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Old 12-30-2006, 04:15 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: MI
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sweetiebird34 HB User
New and need some advice

Four months ago my grandmother was admitted into a nursing home to await surgery for her hip. About a week before the surgery she started showing signs of dementia, forgetting the date of the surgery, forgetting that I had visited her the day before etc. The day of the surgery I had to coax her into letting the nursing staff give her a shower to clean her up and get her ready to go to the hospital. She thought we were going to shoot a TV commercial. After the surgery, things got much worse. She refused to eat for a week and a feeding tube had to be put into her stomach. She has not eaten or drank anything since. On a good day, she will look at me and at least try to remember my name. On a bad day, she babbles incoherently about nothing and talks to "her people" that come to visit her. I have been told that she is in the moderate to late stages of Alheimers. She has severe mood swings and is violent sometimes, mostly lashing out at my mother and the nurses that she does not know. My grandmother raised me since I was 11 when my mom left. For twenty years she took care of me, and I took care of her. I have been responsible for taking care of all of her affairs during this time that she has been back and forth from the nursing home and the hospital.

Two weeks ago she was rushed to the hospital with a fever. She has a UTI, a kidney infection, and pnemonia. Her hemoglobin keeps dropping, and her fever spikes and drops as does her blood pressure. I have no family support, or noone to help or explain how something like this could happen so fast. How things could progress so rapidly with almost no signs from before. I have been trying to get the doctors to do some kind of neurological exam to give me a medical explanation of what has happened, but so far, they have refused.

She came back to me, for one day about a week ago. She told me her last wishes, gave me a smile, and told me that she loved me. I miss talking to her every day, I miss her advice. Now when I really need it the most, she isnt able to give it. I just need a friend that may be able to shed a little light on this dark cold disease.

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Old 12-30-2006, 05:49 PM   #2
Martha H
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Re: New and need some advice

I am so sorry you are going through all this without support. Well, no longer! There are people here in the same boat who will be happy to share our experiences with you and try to help in any way possible.

My Mom is in a nursing home. It began a few years ago with mild forgetfulness, accelerated badly after an episode of Heart Failure and a 4 day hospital stay, then became steadily worse. At that time I lived with her and did my best to care for her, although working full time. It was impossible - she began burning pots and a toaster oven, getting lost on the streets of Queens NY, lost her ability to keep her body clean.

long story short --- she is now in a nursing home, an excellent one - under the care of loving nurses and aides - happy or contented as far as possible. Her memory is virtually gone. She also has recurring heart trouble and not long to live. She is 98.

I have been struggling with this disease and her care for over 6 years now, nearly 7. It is really really hard. You need friends and family members to give you some understanding and love. Don't feel embarrassed to ask your friends and relatives to take some of the burden off you - they should be visiting your Grandma, listening to you talk about your feelings, etc.

Good luck and don't worry about a diagnosis - the sad fact is that Alzheimer's Disease cannot be correcly diagnosed until after death, but doctors and nursing homes know how to keep the person calm, safe, fed, dry, clean, out of danger. That's about all you can hope for. God bless all caregivers. You will be in my prayers. You are not alone.



Old 12-30-2006, 08:30 PM   #3
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teapot HB User
Re: New and need some advice

Sorry your Grandma has a double whammy - UTI and a hospital stay. A UTI can turn a reasonable but confused older person into someone totally off the wall in less than 24 hours. It takes a while to get it under control, even if they start the meds right away - also they might need to grow a culture to see what meds will work.

The staff at the NH where my Dad lived told me it took about 2 weeks to get the patients back to their old selves after they got back from the hospital. My Dad would have a real hard time in the hospital - he was usually in a white room with nothing to look at but a clock. He had a TV but wasn't interested in it - even if he could figure out how to turn it on. A string of people would turn up in his room every 2 hours or so - usually a different person each time. It would be confusing for anyone! He had no idea how long he was in the hospital, and after 2-3 days was seeing fighter jets coming through the walls.

Some older peoplekeep on hanging in there despite a whole lot of health issues - it's managable until one thing trips the balance and then everything else goes down hill too.

I'm sorry about your Grandma - I know you want the best for her, she knows that too.

Old 12-31-2006, 01:31 AM   #4
Join Date: Sep 2006
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lollylegs HB User
Re: New and need some advice

hello sweetiebird,

it is so hard isn't it.
my mum was only diagnosed with mild dememtia 4 months ago. she was living in her own place, continent, very muddled up and so I took over mananging her affairs and started arranging some home help/ meals etc. the aged care team agreed this was appropriate. I used to call in each day and also phone to remind her of things.

7 weeks ago (so not long after diagnosis) I was at her place becaue she had felt unwell. I hummed and haahed about going to work but then I decided to take the day off and stay with her. she had been up and talking to me, quite happy and feeling a little better.

she collpased suddenly lid morning and I called the ambulance. she has a kidney stone, a UTI, a renal abcess and septacemia. she had to be resucutated and i spent the entire night watching her as they fought to save her. we had to make decsions about resuc.. i could not believe it was happening.
we spent 5 weeks away home and her dementia is much worse now she is incontinent at times, and needs help with bathroom, shower, dressing, feeding, she often doesnt know my name of where she is. she is living with me while we wait for a bed. she often cannot remember that she has children. she has no idea about what happenned.

sorry to take so much space up but i just really identified with the rapidity with which your grandma deteriorated and the UTI / kidney mum is deteriorating rapidly as well..

I am guessing that like me, your head is still spinning.. it just feels like too much to bear at times.

my heart goes out to you, i really feel for what you are going through,

take good care of yourself at the moment and surround yourself with supportive friends



Old 12-31-2006, 05:10 AM   #5
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: MI
Posts: 2
sweetiebird34 HB User
Re: New and need some advice

You have no idea how I appreciate all of the feedback I have received so far. To know that there are other people that can relate to all of the things that I am going through and to be able to talk to people that understand what I am feeling is more helpful than I can express. Since my grandma has been in the nursing home I have been trying to go to see her at least every other day. Even if she does not remember that I am there, it makes me feel better just to talk to her.

I have a hard time trying to balance everything. I have two small children, a full time job, and still go out to my grandmas house once a week to get the mail so that I can pay all of the bills and make sure that her house is continuosly in order. I am so overwhelmed alot of the time that I question all of my own decisions. The only other family member that goes to see my grandma is my mom, so all of the decisions regarding my grandmothers care falls on me, as well as all of the finances, taking care of apartment etc. My family does not support me at all, they have been more interested in finding the will so that they can divide my grandmothers possessions.

My grandmothers (nana), fever spiked again yesterday and her hemoglobin has dropped again. The doctors cant seem to really find the reason why all of this is continuously happening.

Thank all of you for your support. Its nice to finally have someone to talk to.


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