Saturday, July 10, 2021

I Don't Even Know What to Call This

Not actually Erin.
As& is used with permission.
This post is another update about my father. As the title says, I don't know what kind of prepping this might be, assuming this even is a form of prepping; I just hope that by this point some of you may be learning from my experience and so I'll keep you updated. 

Last month, I wrote about prepping for my father coming home after nearly 1.5 month in the rehab facility. As it turns out, that was premature; they kept him for another 3 weeks because he kept passing out after physical therapy. The reason for this was eventually narrowed down to his blood pressure medication: it was calibrated for his weight (165 lbs) upon going into rehab, but while there he lost 25 pounds due to exercise, disliking the food there, and an inability to get snacks. This meant that his meds dropped his BP to a dangerously low level, and he would frequently get lightheaded and/or pass out after exercise. 

If this sounds like incompetence to you, get comfortable. 

Once they had this fainting under control, they pronounced him good to return home. Despite this, he was told that he needed a walker even around the house, and that he would need a wheelchair when leaving the house. Fortunately, this was provided to us. 

He returned home on noon Wednesday. My mother and I both knew it would only be a matter of time until he fell again, because he is a noncompliant patient who refuses to do his PT and OT exercises at home. What neither of us expected was that he would fall within 48 hours of being home!

Around 2 am Friday morning, he got up to use the bathroom (without using his walker, because he's stubborn like that) and fell. Unlike the other times he's fallen, this time he was able to pick himself up off the ground after 15 minutes, likely as a result of all the physical therapy he'd done. When my mother woke up around 5 am, he was complaining of constant pain and was worried that he'd broken his hip again, so she called an ambulance to take him to the hospital. 

Sometime around 1pm Friday, we received a call from the doctor at the ER who told us that they would be keeping him through the weekend in order to run tests to figure out why he fell and why he was in pain. As far as they could tell, he hadn't broken anything from his fall, but his right foot is in constant pain. I suspect that my father has diabetes as he's right on the line between pre-diabetic and actual diabetic, and I'm told that diabetes can present as dementia in elderly patients, and foot ailments are common among diabetics. Unfortunately, this is all supposition on my part. 

This Saturday morning, mom went to see him in the hospital and talked to his doctor and the social worker who accompanied him. Mom made sure to let the doctor know that the rehab place had assured my father that he was strong enough to come home, and yet he'd fallen less than two days later, and she was concerned he would fall again and injure himself. 

The doctor didn't know any of this and said he would get dad's medical records from the rehab home. The social worker contacted rehab, learned they had a free bed, and promptly reserved it for him there and then. It's our understanding that the hospital will transfer him to rehab on Monday. 

We don't know how long rehab will keep him. Mom and I both hope that it will be until the VA gets off its butt and admits him, but we don't know how likely that is. Speaking of the VA, both the social worker and our local VA Affairs representative are doing their best to kick the VA into doing something, and they're taking the tactic of "This veteran is a falling risk and needs 24 hour care. Doesn't that move him to the very front of the line?" We don't know if this will work or not, but it won't hurt to ask. 

Now you know as much as my mother and I do. We still don't know why he's falling or why his foot hurts, or what else to do to speed things along. 

All I can do is sincerely hope that someone can learn from our example. 

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