Sunday, 23 August 2015

Back in Ryde Hospital

Yesterday morning we were planning to go to the nursing home, pick up mum, and take her to my cousin's place for morning tea. I phoned the nursing before leaving home to ask them to get her ready for the outing, including a shower and being dressed. But on the road there were some calls on my mobile which I couldn't take and when I arrived at the nursing home I found there was a voice message for me.

I went to mum's room to find it full of equipment including an oxygen canister. Mum was on her bed and they said she had soiled herself so they had washed her and put her back in bed. They also told me they had phoned for an ambulance, which duly arrived. Mum was barely responsive. The three ambulance crew arrived and soon had mum on their wheeled stretcher and she was taken downstairs. I got in the car with my son and we drove to Ryde Hospital as discussed with the ambulance crew.

In the Emergency Department they put mum on a drip and started doing tests, which showed that her oedema of the legs - the swollen legs due to a heart failure - were infected but that she also had a urinary tract infection (UTI). The doctor knew soon enough that she would be admitted to a ward and we got the details before leaving for the afternoon. We drove up to my cousin's place anyway because they had not met my son. We stayed there for about 90 minutes then left. Back at home I cooked cauliflower fritters while Vivian watched a Johnny Depp pirates movie.

This morning we were back in the car but when we arrived at the ward it was clear mum was not a lot better, so we went out and had something to eat at the hospital kiosk. When we got back to the ward mum said a few words, but it was clear that she was still operating at a minimal level in terms of responsiveness, due to the combined effects of the infection and the underlying dementia. The staff have her on an antibiotic drip but mum keeps pulling the cannulas out of her arm. I told them they could bind her hands to prevent that happening and they said they had done that already. I'll be back at the hospital tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

That's very distressing for you. UTIs seem to have such a drastic effect on nursing home residents, far more than you would expect for a younger person, and it baffles me that the sufferer seems oblivious to it (although may not be in a position to articulate it). I don't know why, though, it's seen as necessary to hospitalize for a UTI. From my experience with Mum, hospital was the worst place for her to be- the nurses were too busy in a general ward; there was no-one to open up her pre-packaged or warmed up food; no-one to feed her.
Given that UTIs are so common amongst nursing home residents, I don't know why there can't be a mobile UTI-treatment service that goes from nursing home to nursing home, allowing them to be treated there instead of being hospitalized.

Matthew da Silva said...

That's a good point. With mum this is the second time they've given her UV antibiotics. This measure seems to be mandatory in these cases. I don't think at the moment that mum is really able to eat anything. Maybe this measure could be part of what you suggest, if it were considered practicable to enable it.