14 May 2024

Where does the time go?

I can't believe we're halfway through May already, things have been so hectic since my dad fell and broke his hip last month, yet I seem to have achieved the square route of nothing at all

Dad's currently still in hospital, there are plans to move him to a smaller more local cottage hospital at some point, but soon after his admission to the Royal Surrey it was noticed that dad was having some difficulties swallowing liquids which would set off a massive coughing fit and he was at risk of getting food and/or liquid in his lungs

I reminded the consultant of dad's esophageal cancer diagnosis as we were told this may happen in the future, that if it did we were to contact the oncology unit to see about the possibility of a stent being fitted to enable dad to eat and drink more comfortably, at this point dad was put onto a zero oral liquid and small bite diet

My dad sitting on a wooden park bench between Boris the Black Cocker Spaniel on the left and Eko the Golden Cocker Spaniel on the right, it's a rare photo of my dad smiling as he has masked face these days and isn't aware when he's not smiling
Image Description - My dad sitting on a wooden park bench between Boris the Black Cocker Spaniel on the left and Eko the Golden Cocker Spaniel on the right, it's a rare photo of my dad smiling as he has masked face symptoms these days and isn't aware when he's not smiling 

Dad went downhill really fast that first week he was in hospital and he required at least two blood transfusions that I'm aware of, when I asked why dad wasn't on IV fluids as he wasn't allowed to drink anything I got told he'd have them after his transfusion overnight

The next day I was seriously worried about dad when I saw him, the weight was falling off him and he was so dehydrated, his mouth was so dry that he could hardly get any words out with his stammer, when I checked the skin on his forearm for tenting it sayed up and again I asked about IV fluids and got told yet again that he'd have them after his blood transfusion

Dad was looking so tiny and frail in that big hospital bed and all he kept asking for was a cup of tea which he wasn't allowed, it was extremely upsetting to visit at the time as dad was clearly distressed about the whole situation and I could do nothing to help him

Meanwhile my brother who had come over from France, was spending a lot of time at my parents house catching up on the huge list of odd jobs that dad always makes up for him, plus keeping an eye on mum for me which was a massive help, as I was unable to face her for several days

I was so angry with mum because she kept telling the Care Line people that there was nothing wrong every time dad pressed his button for help whilst he was laying in agony on the kitchen floor, it wasn't until one of their neighbours came to see what dad shouting about that he was discovered and an ambulance was immediately called for

Was it the dementia that made her do it, or was it deliberate? We'll never truly know for sure but I have my suspicions and it's raised a massive failing on the part of Care Line that I wasn't notified something odd was going on with dads pendent keep going off and I'm currently composing an email to them to that effect, I'm now extremely worried about how safe it will be for dad to return home with mums challenging behaviours towards both him and myself, but I digress....
I asked my brother if he'd seen dad on any IV fluids on his hospital visits as we were visiting dad on opposite shifts so that dad wasn't on his own for too long. Turns out that he'd not seen dad on any IV fluids either and also had concerns, we worked out that neither of us had seen dad take on board any fluids in the 5 or 6 days since he'd been put on a zero oral fluids diet, no wonder he was so dehydrated and feeling so unwell

Enough was enough I was getting nowhere with the ward staff, updates weren't happening, plus dad wasn't improving and he was getting worse each day, so when I was told by a member of staff after much nagging on my part, that it's protocol to not give IV fluids to somebody in heart failure I was absolutely furious and pointed out that dehydration is a killer and if dad can't drink anything then he needs fluids another way regardless of his heart condition

In the end I felt I'd best leave the ward before I said or did something that I'd later regret, which wouldn't help dad at all 

That night when I got home I took out my frustration on my laptop and bashed out a letter of complaint to PALS (the patient liaison people) about my concerns that dad was severely dehydrated because he'd been deprived of fluids for several days

I received a phone call from PALS the next afternoon asking me for more information and when I arrived on the ward that evening I was pleased to see that dad had IV fluids running and was looking and sounding so much better than he had since his admission 

Nobody has admitted to any wrong doing, but I'm pretty sure my suspicions were correct about no fluids having been given, dad was then put on daily IV fluids until it was agreed he could change back onto a normal diet again

That first cup of tea must have been amazing for dad as it's all he ever drinks when at home, he does love his cups of tea 

I'm pleased to say dad is now starting to make some improvements, although it's a slow process, plus he's dropped so much weight since being in hospital that he's even more frail than he was before

After a moving x-ray was taken and the latest consultants meeting, it's finally been decided that it would be beneficial for dad to have a stent fitted in his esophagus 

I was present when the moving x-ray was done and even I could clearly see that everything dad was given orally was getting stuck and making him cough before the liquids could go down, which puts dad at great risk for aspirational pneumonia, which would not be a good outcome in his weakened state

The first operation to fit the stent last week got cancelled due to no surgeon being available, so it's all fingers and paws crossed it goes ahead today, because once it's done dad can then be transferred to a smaller and less busy cottage hospital for the rest of his rehabilitation to try and get him walking again

Running between the hospital and my parents house every day doesn't really give me much time for blogging and social media, but I'll continue to update as and when I can

Dawn, Boris & Eko xxx

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  1. These experiences in hospital are horrendous but sadly not surprising. One time when my elderly mother was admitted to hospital in Nottingham and was semi-comatose for several days I started to worry she hadn't been given any nutrition. When I politely asked the consultant about this he brusquely dismissed my concerns with the comment that "it took the IRA hunger strikers more than 40 days to die". To this day I regret not having lodged a formal complaint.
    Anyway, I'm glad that things seem a bit better now for your Dad, and cross fingers that the operation happens today and the outcome is good.
    All the best, Gail.

    1. Thank you Gail, that's a horrible remark for a consultant to make, I forgot to add that by chance I was there at evening meal time and dad didn't receive a meal, turns out he didn't order one, I had to remind them quite strongly about his Alzheimer's and if he's not hungry when they ask he won't order anything, that doesn't mean he doesn't want anything to eat.

      It's quite scary seeing and hearing what goes on in hospitals and how the level of care really depends who's on duty, some nurses are absolutely amazing and some not so much, dad always sees the good in people and hates to cause a fuss . I've not heard anything yet but hopefully he's had the operation done or is in the process of going down to get it done xxx

  2. That staff at the hopsital doesn't sound very competent and that's sad for your Dad, and for you too. Always advocate for your Dad and do whatever it takes to get him what he needs. The staff needs to realize that you are watching and are not afraid to step in and demand others do what is needed. I've been there, done that, it's not fun. Hugs from all of us.

  3. I'm so sorry you and your family are going through all of this. I will be praying your dad gets to a place with better care quickly.


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