Back in the early 70's, I was present when my Dad broke his back. I warned him not to try doing the thing he planned. Tough guy. Wouldn't listen. Did his, not so little, task, and broke his back in the process. Tough Guy.
That was then. Dad has had 8 very major back surgeries more aimed at pain relief than anything else. The first surgery repaired the damage. The 7 Subsequent surgeries, spread across the following 35 years, were aimed at pain management thru various means.
He never really got rid of the pain. H'e had shots, various therapies and more meds than a pharmacy. At the best, his pain is an 8 on a scale of 1 to ten. There was a time a few years ago when he OD'd on one of the meds. He pulled though that mess. Tough guy.
Dad became addicted to his pain meds, and we were working with his doctors to break the addiction. That process was interrupted by the onset of Alheimer's Disease. Now the stressful times really began for him, and us as a family.
Over the last couple of years, I've been with him about every 2 or 3 months, helping and giving my sister a break from the almost constant care. As time progressed, Dad's mental status deteriorated to the point of having no memories beyond the current day.
Two weeks ago, his pain management doctor recommended Paliative Care as he had exhausted all pain relief options available. One week ago, his care team recommended he move on to Hospice care.
In such a short period of time, his mental status dropped to the point of confusion, chaos, and even hallucinations. Hospice Care Team to the rescue. Thursday night, Dad slid into the world of chaos once again. Unless you've lived thru it, you can't begin to imagine it. I have utterly no words to describe what we went through that night.
I call the hospice team, and within a very short period of time, they rushed over with a new medication designed for this type of thing, Within half an hour, Dad responded, and for the first time in 3 or 4 years, he was nearly himself again.
Since going on the new med, he is much calmer, the confusion is mostly gone, and he is a happier man. A few more tweaks to his normal pain medication regime, and he is now at a tolerable 7 out of 10.
Alzheimers is a most horrific disease, and my heart goes out to anyone going through this. My Mother, Sister and I have learned so much and have gone through so much. But worse than all of that, has been watching the decline of a brilliant, generous and loving man.
One cannot imagine what it must be like knowing that there was once a past, memories of so many years gone by, and living with confusion, anger and frustration of not understanding why or how. Once again, I find my attempt to describe my feelings, I find this is a feeble attempt to put into words the range of emotions all concerned go through.
I won't say the worst is behind us, but I will say the outlook for a more stable quality of life brighter. Though Dad is suffering now from advanced scoliosis, stage 4 kidney disease and diminishing mental faculties, things are brighter.
I'll be going home soon. But I will leave with the knowledge that Dad is in excellent care. His team will visit on a regular basis now. Meds are available if needed, within a few hours, and delivered to the door.
These Nurses and other team members are angels and provide such loving and wonderful care. Words of gratitude are not enough thanks for the angels.
And yes my friends, there is a tie in to WA, even in this posting. While tending to matters here, I still had the time, however small, to attend to my business and make an attempt at surfing/replying to blogs and such. That's the beauty of what we do . . . . . Have WA, can and will travel.
Bad thing is that during all of my personal confusion these last days, I inadvertently sent a few WA emails to spam and lost a lot of them. I recovered some, but not all I'm afraid. I've responded to who I could and as I could. If I missed you, it wasn't out of neglect.
Take care my friends. Thank you all for being such wonderful friends.