Hospital Stay, Day 3

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Where do I start? Well, I will try not to ramble on with insignificant details. I will give you the great news first….Jim was released from the hospital today and went straight to a rehabilitation center. Because he stayed the required 3 days in the hospital first, his medicare will cover the costs with rehab. This is important information for you to know if you will possibly be dealing with a similar situation.

Before Jim left the hospital, Dr. ‘I think it couldn’t be Alzheimer’s Disease because he is so young’ came back by to do a final evaluation before discharging him. I thought we were moving past our initial meeting where I thought….well, see what his name is and you will understand what I thought of him. Breathe Karen, breathe.  Like I said, another conversion for another time. Back to today….the doc and I have a lengthy conversation about what Jim will be doing at rehab and what medications he will continue and some other not important for this story stuff. The main thing to understand and know is that we discussed the 2 medications he was on and would continue on…Mucinex and his antibiotic. He also recommended a breathing treatment, but not as important.

He gets to the new digs. I visit with him, get him acclimated and go home to pick up his clothes and some photos to put up. I bring Brad back with me to visit. I give him a shower because otherwise they won’t be giving him one until Monday. (ewwww.) We go back home to eat dinner. I go back up to make sure he is ok and get him to bed. He tells me he is tired and wants to go to sleep. No problem. I tuck him in and turn out the light and remind him I will be there in the morning. One last “I love you” and I am out the door. As I am leaving, I run into the assistant nurse. She is handing out medications. I tell her he is in bed and the lights are off. She tells me she will be going in shortly to give him his meds. Something unexplainable told me to ask what he was taking. I already knew the answer but for some reason I was prolonging my exit.

“Aricept. Lexapro. Namenda….”

“No. That isn’t right. He isn’t on them and hasn’t been for a long time.”

“That is what it says. If you have a question, you can go speak to the nurse.”

So I march, furiously and with purpose, to the front desk and find the nurse. I tell her I would like to look at the directions from the doctor at the hospital. There must be some mistake because my husband wasn’t on any of those drugs. But there it is, in black and white. I was pissed is an understatement. Not only did it have in his file from the hospital to take these drugs, it DID NOT list the Mucinex or breathing treatment. The thing that really got my blood boiling though was the very last paragraph. This paragraph was right below the line that said it had taken him over 30 minutes to do this discharge (we met for less than 10 minutes, so he must have spent a long time figuring something else out). This paragraph at the very bottom of the last page said that he had gone over this treatment plan in great detail with the spouse and said spouse was in agreement with the course of action written out. What? Are you kidding me? It took every ounce I had to keep myself composed.

Needless to say I made it very clear to the nurse that he was not, under any circumstances, to get the aricept, lexapro or namenda. If the doctor there at the facility had a question, they could call me. (They won’t see him until Monday). I then called back to the hospital to let the poor person who was stuck in the position to listen to complaints after hours hear how upset I was. This isn’t over. I am to get a call back on Monday. His meds are supposed to now be straightened out.

I know I am tired. I know I need to take care of myself. But there is no way I can let this slide. I respect doctor’s immensely. I admire the ability to get through medical school, to take an instrument and cut someone open, to save lives and change families and deal with death each and every day. I mean no disrespect to anyone in the medical field. But I cannot let this go. Putting Jim back on those drugs would have been setting him on a course of no return in my opinion, which is based on his already having been on them. This is very, very bad. Like I needed another reason to be upset and stressed.

I am so glad Jim was well enough to leave the hospital and has a wonderful spirit with him that makes you want to hug him and he continues to show us his wittiness. He is still having cognitive problems and his swallowing is also a huge concern, but he seems happy and he seemed to understand why he couldn’t come home yet. He cried many times today, just so overwhelmed to be with his family. And I am happy to still have him with us.

posted by Karen in Early Signs of Alzheimer's,Early Stages of Alzheimer's Disease,Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease and have Comments (11)

11 Responses to “Hospital Stay, Day 3”

  1. Rita says:

    Maybe that doctor needs Aricept, Namenda and Lexapro. The doctor not only has no memory he is hallucinating. I am thankful my husband’s doctors listen to me. He was on Aricept, awful reaction, now on Namenda. I don’t think the drugs help any body but the drug companies. My prayers go out to you and your family. Take care.

  2. Jeanne Sapia says:

    You have every right to be angry at everything. Be sure you let it be known on Monday how it came down. You have to fight for Jimmy because he can’t fight for himself.Keep strong,

  3. Michelle Fox says:

    Bless you Karen. I think of you and I te…..in regards to my reactions to the medical community. Once we had to finally put Mom in a very fine Memory Care unit, with a geriatrician that was on staff, I felt like my true battle began. Mom loved where she lived and she loved the socialization of being with others. Our biggest headache was care and medication. I have and everybody should have, very high expectations for the care your loved one gets. The orders would be wrong or the nurse would not be reading the order correctly…I could go on and on but your point is well taken.
    Since you are at the weekend, you have a new shift of people perhaps. As DPOA, you know you can look at he orders..where it is shown that those meds were d/cd. Every shift has to know, how are they communicating that? If they have the MARS system, is it in there so when they pull up Jim’s name, it shows. I always made them show me. Use your rights and Jim’s patient’s rights. I know you will. You have turned a corner, my dear. Plan….hugs, Karen and I am so happy to hear that Jim is up and about.

  4. Wendy Sweigert says:

    You will always be his best and most persistent advocate! I have always found it easier to advocate for my loved ones but no so much myself! Blessings!

  5. Lee Ann says:

    I’ve seen this happen many times. As Jim’s power of attorney, you need to insist that before(not later) he’s given anything new, you need to know. Before they stop anything, you need to be informed. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and facilities learn quickly who to ignore and who to listen to. Some families just basically drop their family members off and we never see them again. Some family members are there every day. However, Jim’s in a rehab facility, not a memory unit, so they probably assume (the old made an ass out of u and me) that he is capable of knowing things that he doesn’t remember. So your job is to make sure things go right. Its like: be polite and smile a lot with a spine made of a steel rod. When things are right (and this WAS the first day, even tho the doctor should be talked to), its easy to be nice. When things go wrong, time for that steel rod to stand up straight.

    If he’s confused at this time, and he’s in rehab, do they have a system in place for if he gets confused and tries to go home? Do they watch their patients or just let them go anywhere?

  6. Jeri says:

    Wow Karen! What an emotional roller coaster you have been on these last few days. I hope Jim is improving and will soon be home, and I hope you’re getting some much needed and much deserved respite. Please keep keeping us posted on any new developments. God Bless you all! You’re in my prayers, as always.

  7. william nash says:

    i am a family doctor who may have early alzheimers. i take aricept since after reading all the research available i understood what side effects to expect and that aricept in my case since i was so early would probably help slow down the systems longer. the lexapro is used for anxiety and or depression which is common in people with alzheimers and the other dementias. sometimes when a person gets worse that can be an explanation. although in jims case its likely the infection thats making things worse.
    i dont agree with not using aricept then later namenda because there really is no other choices. i do agree however with your right to not have him take the medications.
    i know your blog must be hard to write at times but we appreciate your doing it. i am encouraging my wife to read it also.

  8. Diane says:

    I know Jim may not always be able to express himself and tell you how much he appreciates everything you do for him so I will say it for him. THANK YOU for taking care of him and watching out for him when he can’t do it for himself. You don’t know how much that means to the rest of us who love him.

  9. Mary says:

    Karen, like you I have enormous respect for doctors. They’re keeping my husband healthy and happy. But 20 years ago I was seriously ill and nothing my doctor and I tried seemed to work. One terrible night I called her emergency number and she called back from a restaurant (I could hear the background noise). She declined to meet me at the hospital, told me to just relax. I was so out of my mind that I just laid down and prepared to die. Fortunately my sister came over and rushed me to the hospital, where I had FIVE units of blood transfused into me. I looked at my chart and saw that the doctor had written that I was totally non-compliant, refused medications and was solely responsible for the state I was in. Naturally, I fired her, but I couldn’t prove my case against her. It was a profound shock that a doctor could and would lie like that. I say all of this to prepare you for the possibility that this doctor, too, might lie and say that you approved this list of medications.
    There are wonderful medical professionals out there, and I fervently hope Jim gets the best from now on. Peace to you all.

    • Lee Ann says:

      As a nurse, I’ve seen nurses that change the story, doctors that CYA . And a lot of it is because of liability issues. If a doctor says you are noncompliant, they are letting themselves off the hook if you fail to get better. I have seen nurses that charted finding a elderly person dead in their bed and warm, and later that day, a CNA told me the dead person was found on the floor, cold. Medical school and nursing schools teach liability over and over and over. We cover ourselves in liability insurance, and a lot of people will chart things in a certain way to decrease their liability. I don’t like it, and its wrong, but it does happen. Most doctors are good health care providers, but as in any career, there are some bad apples.

  10. Renee says:

    I just wanted to say that I first saw your family’s story on CNN and I find you and your husband’s resolve very inspiring. Even writing this blog must take monumental effort under the circumstances. God bless you and your family, and stay strong.

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