I accomplished something yesterday that I was extremely proud of. I got my stepfather to the doctor. He had fallen out of bed about 5:30 and the paramedics had to be called out. One followed me into the kitchen and said we might want to get my stepfather checked out by a doctor and that it might be time to put him in a nursing home because my mother is in no shape to look after him.
This was after he'd woken us at 1 a.m. He'd gotten up in the night and couldn't get back into bed. I tried to move him as best as I could but I lay awake worrying that he was going to fall out of bed again. And of course he did.
The doctor checked him out fairly thoroughly. I told him about the two falls my stepfather has had since I've been here. I wanted to say more but held back. I asked about a test for stroke. The doctor decided my stepfather should see a neurologist and made an appointment. He also took some blood. I told him my stepfather has difficulty moving his legs and asked if this was due to age. He said it isn't.
When we got home there was a message from the Home Health caseworker. She came by and I told her I was very concerned about leaving my mother on her own to look after my stepfather. I told her about the falls, and his general weakness. She was very sympathetic and suggested we get the doctor on board. He could get my stepfather admitted to the hospital for observation and then to a nursing home for rehab. This would give my mother some time to recuperate and grow stronger too.
I told my stepfather's daughter (not the negligent one) what the paramedic said and what happened at the doctor's and what the caseworker said. She seems to be on board.
But I don't trust her altogether so I emailed the doctor today and told him my concerns about my stepfather's rapid loss of strength, about another fall my stepfather had while my mother was in the hospital, and how my mother has been under extreme stress looking after him.
Today we found out my stepfather is anemic. The doctor wants to run more tests. He called me today about my email and said he thought hospitalization would be a good idea. He wanted to take my stepfather off one of his medications over the weekend and we are to call him on Monday at 9 a.m. Here's the snag: I told my stepfather I spoke to the doctor and he might want to hospitalize him. My stepfather doesn't want to go in to the hospital. I'm afraid he'll talk his daughter out of it. And his daughter is taking over talking to the doctor. I don't mind. It is her place.
But what happens to my mother? My stepfather continues to go downhill, his daughters won't do anything to help my mother, then my mother goes downhill and probably ends up dying before he does. That is the nightmare scenario I am trying to avoid.
My stepfather has high care needs. He can't get out of a chair on his own. He shuffles instead of walking. He is incontinent and wets himself all the time. He can't change his clothes without help. He can't turn over in bed. He has great difficulty getting in and out of bed. Sometimes, but not always, he has mental confusion. He sleeps most of the day. He is very weak.
My mother got into a very black mood when I told her about the anemia and what the doctor said. Why? She thinks his daughters will blame her for not taking good enough care of him. He's a stubborn ass, sometimes. I told her if anyone is to blame, it's himself for insisting on going to the VA hospital and his daughters for doing nothing. One of them was supposed to take him to the doctor after his fall while my mother was in the hospital. She never did. She said the doctor said he was in good health. I think it's hard for doctors to know if they're not given the full story, and I don't think this one was given the full story by the daughters. Why? I don't know. What have they to gain by doing nothing? My mother's death?
In the meantime I am plotting what to do for my mother if they decide not to hospitalize him. I must make it very clear that she is in no shape to look after his needs. Either someone will have to come in and stay the night with them (everything bad seems to happen at night), one of my nephews will have to come out for a while, or my mother has to move to Florida. She is not his carer and will not be his carer.
Pray for me.