Journey Through Dementia

Journey Through Dementia

Thursday, June 23, 2016

After the Fall

At 9:30 the phone rang.  The caller ID said it was my mother, but she always calls my cell phone and yes, it was not my mother.  It was someone from Atria calling to let me know she had had a fall.  I said I'd be there in 10 minutes and probably made it in less.

When I got to Atria there were 2 fire engines and an ambulance.  I got to her apartment and there was nobody there, so I went to the front desk, where they said that they had sent her to Kaiser in Vacaville.  When I got outside, the fire engines were gone, but the ambulance was still there so I called out to them and went down there to see if she was inside, which she was.  She was very confused and wasn't sure why she was in the ambulance.  The paramedic asked if she normally knew things like the year and the month and I told him no.

They took off for the hospital and I followed them.

She was in a room in the ER and very confused.  She didn't know why she was there, doesn't remember falling, and is very upset that her fingers hurt.  She also wanted to know what the liquid was that was trickling down her face (blood).

So the questions she wanted asked were:  what happened?  Why do her fingers hurt?  What should she be doing?  Why was she in a hospital?

How many times can she ask those questions in 2-1/2 hours?  Sometimes she understood my answers, sometimes she told me I wasn't making any sense at all and that she was too old to understand.
The funny thing is...the two things she is fixated on under normal circumstances are her watch (comparing the time with the wall clock) and her toenails.  When she can't think of anything to talk about, she asks me if I think her toenails are pretty.

So in the middle of all those questions she was asking, she suddenly noticed that one foot was peeking out from under the hospital gown and she stopped to let me know how pretty her toenails were.

Over the time we were there, she had x-rays on her hands (fingers sprained) and a CT scan to see if she had a concussion (no).  While she was gone, I had a nice conversation with a social service worker and we talked about dementia and alzheimers.  She gave me her phone # in case I have things I want to discuss with her.

When she returned to the ER room, the doctor put 5 stitches in her forehead and then went off to find the scans that had been taken (this took a long time).  Now she wanted to know again why she was there.  When I mentioned the stitches, she asked when she had stitches because she didn't remember that at all.

I was glad I had my cell phone with me and took her picture to show her what her face looked like.  Oddly, she didn't seem to feel a connection between herself and the picture.

Her cut seemed to bleed a lot periodically and I spent a lot of time cleaning blood off of her face.  Also, she was very upset at all the "red" on her hands and she didn't know what it was and however did she get blood on her hands.

She needed to go to the bathroom badly and I went to get the nurse, but my mother looked at me like I was crazy...she didn't need to go to the bathroom.  Five minutes later if she didn't get up to go to the bathroom she was going to "poop all over" but when the nurse came, she didn't know why she was there...she didn't have to go to the bathroom.


Eventually we found that the fingers were just sprained and that the CT scan showed there was no concussion.  A nurse cleaned up her and put a bandage over her stitches.

I knew that I couldn't go off and leave her alone, so I planned to spend the afternoon.  Figuring she would sleep, I stopped by the house here and picked up my Kindle.  It was a good stop because Ned was here and he always brings such sunshine to his visits with his grandma. She stayed in the car and he went out to spend some time with her.

Back at Atria, someone came to explain what actually happened.  Apparently she fell getting out of bed and was bleeding so much she went out into the hall to find help.  She has a pendant to wear, but she has stopped wearing it and even when she wears it, she doesn't know what it is for, so I don't know that it would have helped her.

But they also told me that the day before someone found that she had taken her bed apart and had removed the mattress.  Whoever it was asked if she knew where she was.  She said that yes, she was in San Francisco and was looking for a phone to call her mother.

In the late afternoon, she asked me "where is our mother?"  I said "did you mean where is YOUR mother?"  She said no, where was OUR mother and then snapped back and realized that I was her daughter, not her sister.

I don't know what I will find tomorrow.  I've taken the day off at Logos and will stay at Atria all day just to make sure she's OK.

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