Thursday, April 8, 2010

Four Weeks in Hospital

Mum spent the last 4 weeks in 2 private hospitals. She as well looked after. But I didn't get any answers. The geriatrician not only refused to prescribe the only medications known to help with memory loss, she wrote to the G.P., and I visited him with Mum today, stating that Mum does not have Alzheimers OR ANY OTHER SERIOUS DEMENTIA as she scored 26/30 on the memory test. HOLY COW. I can't believe that doctor wrote that. Is she stupid or what? Did the nurses not pass on their observations to her? Yes, she can score well on a memory test and I think this is a reflection of her previous high intelligence or maybe the part of the brain currently affected. The nurses at the 2 hospitals where she spent the past month told me constantly that: she didn't know what day or time it was; she got lost in the corridors and no matter how many times she was shown the way back to her room she couldn't remember it; she had the idea she was in Room 10 when it was in fact Room 35 and she couldn't be dissuaded from that; she couldn't operate the taps in the shower and did not know the difference between hot and cold; she was given her pills (the ones I objected to as they were not necessary) to self-medicate and failed as she had no idea if she'd taken them or not, or what time of day or what day of the week it was; she got angry with 2 different room mates who stayed up reading until 10 pm, accusing them of reading with a light on 'in the middle of the night'; she thought breakfast was lunch, or dinner was breakfast, having no idea of the time; she never learned to operate the TV remote or nurse-call button; the nurses noticed she'd phone me four or five times in succession with the same question or piece of information; she lost her swimming costume by putting it somewhere strange and it was never seen again; and so on and so forth. And the doctor writes that she has no dementia. The doctor also wrote that she has A HISTORY OF FALLS. This made me very angry. In fact I have felt so damn angry all day it's a wonder I don't have a stroke. My mother has no history of falls. She's very sturdy on her feet; she can out-run and out-swim and out-walk me any time. She's one of the fittest people I know and she's 83 years old. As soon as she got home, she started hallucinating and believing there had been a man dressed in a suit and hat in her back yard. When the nurse came to visit her - a nurse will visit several times a week for 3 months - Mum even told the nurse about the man in the suit in the back yard. Her yard is bounded by high fences and a locked gate. If you tried to climb over them in a suit you'd rip the crotch for sure. Then she told the nurse about the prowlers and other people she thinks come into her yard. The nurse knew these were hallucinations and talked to me about it when she was leaving. Obviously, I am never taking her back to that geriatrician again. The G.P., a lovely young Scottish doctor, told me I should go for a follow-up visit and discuss my 'concerns' with Dr P. I said the last time I tried to discuss my concerns with her, she attempted to intimidate, bully and coerce me. I told the G.P. I had been to see our lawyer about the forced medications and now had the legal advice I need to protect my mother from this kind of thing. He was very shocked; he said he'd never had a patient who'd been to see a lawyer, but that he'd never force someone to take a medication they didn't want. He told Mum to throw away the evil mirtazapine which is the only good thing that happened today. He also said he was quite surprised anyone would give a tiny old lady a dose of 30 mg daily. I am so upset. I wanted advice and help with what I KNOW is her Alzheimers (since every other type of dementia has been ruled out by thorough testing). I was prepared to trial the medications that slow the progress of the disease. I wanted someone to advise me whether I should move her in with me or encourage her to go into hostel-level care. Instead I am told she's perfectly all right. Bloody hell, the incompetence of some doctors.


  1. My blood boils for you. When my kids were younger and they'd scare me by coming home crazy late or something... I'd tell them "I want you to know, the day I die I would've lived another ten years except for your behavior today!" Thats what those doctors are doing to you. Stress... bad, bad bad.

  2. I'm so sorry that you're having to go through all of this 'stuff' with these doctors......I can't imagine that your mother is scoring so high and yet she gets confused about so many every day issues..... it certainly sounds like Alzheimer's to me..... and the sooner she get on Aricept the better!
    I'm so glad that you all had a good Easter together....

  3. Patty said...
    I have seen Alzheimers first hand. I can't believe the doctor keeps saying your mother does not have it. Would it be possible for you to get another doctor? I was told dementia is really at catch all term. I'm sorry for your stress.


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