Well we are standing outside in the gardens at the moment, ok she is sitting in a wheelchair, while she tops up on nicotine. And while she smokes, she is telling me stories of what's been happening. The confusion, the complaints and the praise for the staff. So where shall I start?
Let's be positive shall we. The praise of the wonderful selfless work that the staff and volunteers here do. The grounds kept in amazing condition, the wards so clean and how any member of staff will take care of any problem put to them, regardless of if its their job or not. Having spoken to and dealt with a large number of them, I have to agree. They truly are amazing people with so much heart time and patience for anything and everything. Thank you all.
Then there is the food, again brilliant food, but over recent days, while I have seen no decline in it, she feels that its not very nice, and various other reasons and excuses to allow her to refuse or leave food. Signs of dehydration are creeping in, which I'm sure will eventually end up being tackled with a drip, but in the meantime she is demonstrating to others that she can be fussy at times, and her own worst enemy. The reasoning for this refusal, constipation. Forgive me for dropping that like that, but its her current favourite reason for everything. Weakness, sickness, discomfort and refusal to eat all comes down to the same thing, even though she has forgotten that she has told be about going to the loo. Oops!
Then there is medication. Naturally they are getting it all wrong, giving her things she doesn't need, or giving them at the wrong time and making her ill from it. Or the other one is giving her things that are doing nothing. Even though she can't remember what most of the drugs do, or how they actually work, she criticises them all the same. Yes I know she is elderly and its her right to complain, but when she gets to the point of refusing them, that's more of a problem. Her main focus on this is again the constipation, and how the meds are not working, when quite clearly they are. Because she has suppositories and a medicine, she suggests that the medicine is pointless as its the supps that are doing all the work.
The confusion is the big one that's starting to worry me a bit more now. Last week there was a hint of confusion really starting to creep in. And on admission here she was offended and bored by the questioning they gave her in a general reasoning test. Seeing if she could identify what day it was, and other general things. Now she said she was irritated and didn't have the energy to think about these things, but in truth she could not answer the questions. Having newspapers daily should be a clue to the day of the week, but she can't remember.
But it doesn't end there. Yesterday I showed her the work I have had done on my foot tattoo. I have been having it for about 8-9 months now, but she appeared to have NO recollection of ever having seen the tattoo ever before. Then this morning she was telling me about a questionnaire she had to fill out for the hospice about her symptoms. As she spoke about it it became obvious that she wasn't sure how she should have filled it out, nor what it was for, so she just wrote stuff on it. I have of course highlighted this to the staff here.
As she spoke about it, she either lost interest in what she was saying, or lost direction of thought, so just stopped saying what she was saying and started something else.
There are so many frustrations seeing her like this, and trying to stay silent about them, which is doing her no good at all. So I am trying to get the truth out of her, help her understand what is going on, and at the same time feeding back to the staff my worries, so they can act on them. She said today that last night she had REALLY bad pins and needles in both arms. She had not told anyone, but instead mentioned it later on to a nurse once it had passed. When she was explaining the story to me, she didn't understand what the big deal was, and even though it was a borderline painfull sensation, she didn't feel it warranted pressing the nurse call buzzer. They however disagree and insist that she does next time.
Also when telling me this she referred to not being sure what she should and should not tell people, my answer was simple... ANYTHING! Feel something weird, press the buzzer! She then went on to say she had told loads of people before about her hands going numb, but that had never bothered anyone. However I'm pretty sure I have not heard that one before. I do know that all doctors and paramedics have always asked about pins and needles, to which she has always said no, until now anyway.
So I'm left wondering what other ailments and pains she has that she doesn't feel are worth mentioning. And how the hell we will get it all out of her. The hospice are here to help control her pain and condition, but without knowing the truth, how can they :(.
Right, I better get on with things now, but thought I would log todays visit.
Thanks for reading.
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