As many of my readers will have read I have been back and forth to support my elderly (93 years young) Dad in his local NHS Hospital in Manchester.
3 weeks ago we underwent quite a gruelling 17-hour wait to get Dad a bed for his problem with postural hypotension.
Fast forward to three weeks on and Dad is still in hospital but now in a much worse state. I arrived last Sunday afternoon after a chat on the phone with him left me feeling he was rather mixed up. He seemed a tad confused but otherwise settled but I decided I would arrive at the hospital first thing on the Monday morning so that I could have a chat with his consultant.
I arrived just before 9am on Monday and could hear my Dad shouting from the end of the corridor that he needed the police to find me as he could not contact me and would not take any medication until they had found me. When I reached him he was in a very anxious and confused state and was convinced that he was being held against his will. He immediately tried to get up when I arrived and then collapsed straight away which I found traumatic and upsetting.
Eventually, we calmed him down and I was taken into a side room to have a chat with his consultant and doctor. They explained that he was definitely anxious and that they were going to look into his collapses as a possible seizure or epileptic fit and take some blood to look for anything else that might be going on. He was so bad that I could not leave his side as he was so frightened that I was leaving him for good.
The following two days were much the same which as you can imagine we’re totally and utterly exhausting. Dad even phoned me at 6.30 am one morning to say he was locked in a police cell and I must go down straight away to get him out. I have never seen my Dad like this before ever. It was like seeing your Dad as his usual compos mentis self one minute then suffering a severe head injury the next. By Thursday it was found that he was also suffering from a severe infection which could contribute to his confusion but until we got this sorted there was no way they could say 100% that this was the problem.
My sister arrived Wednesday afternoon and was as shocked as I was seeing our Dad in this state. The worst part is that his nights are so fretful that he refuses to take any medication or food or fluid until we arrive in the mornings as he does not trust anyone around him. To say that I have found this week the most exhausting week I have ever had is, to put it mildly, I felt as though I could fall asleep standing up.
We decided yesterday that I definitely needed to come home which is a drive of two and a half hours and get some rest or my health would go downhill fast. I arrived last night and slept fairly well although a little restless and slept for nearly three hours this afternoon. My sister went to the hospital early this morning to find Dad in the same state as before refusing everything but Dad’s Doctor explained that if a patient refuses to have his medication or food and drink they have to adhere to the patient’s wishes. I personally think that this has to be an unrealistic method of treating patients with confusion or even dementia as surely the patient will then just get worse and end up staying in the hospital longer.
After a couple of hours, my sister managed to persuade Dad to take all his medication and eat talking to him initially like a child but then as he came around like we would normally talk to Dad and try to explain to him that if he wants to get out of hospital he must eat, drink and take any medication the staff give to him. It’s early days at the moment for us as this set back with an infection means his initial problem has been put on the back boiler but I can honestly say that I have never felt or been through anything as exhausting as this week has been. To top it all a letter came in the post today to say I had to pay £60 for driving in a bus lane in Manchester while picking up my daughter from the station !!!!! I can only hope that next week will be a little better, for Dad’s sake.