My Dad’s a Goldfish – Hospital continued

Day 2: I visited the Goldfish in the afternoon but he was asleep, looking very peaceful and did not wake up. The nurse I spoke to said he’d eaten lunch and had been “very happy and cheerful earlier”. I wanted to believe her.

DH went in the evening. The Goldfish was asleep. He woke, grunted something unintelligible and went back to sleep. DH returned to report that staff is disappointed with the lack of progress the Goldfish has made and a doctor had ordered the drip, which had been stopped when he seemed to be doing well in the morning, to be put back in again. The doctor also wants an MRI scan to be done.

Day 4: The Goldfish was so much better – astonishingly so. He was sitting up, bright and alert, delighted with the chocolate and biscuits I brought. Anyone seeing him would wonder why he was in hospital! They were even talking about him coming home soon – which is worrying as he hasn’t yet been out of bed. And he still has the catheter in.

Day 5: The Goldfish wasn’t quite so bright today. He is still in the admissions ward as no bed has become available in either of the two wards to which he could be admitted. They are no longer talking about sending him home. I learned today about the power an occupational therapist (OT) can wield.

The OT is concerned about his mobility. He hasn’t been out of bed since his arrival in hospital and she wants to see him walking before allowing him to be discharged. He won’t be discharged within the next two or three days – which will bring us to a weekend, unless he comes home on the Friday. I noticed the pain chart records the Goldfish is not in pain. I ask how they know this because I know his arthritic hip is very painful. The nurse said they ask him if he is in any pain. I point out he has dementia and she huffs at me.

Day 6: The Goldfish was finally transferred to a ward but is not doing well. DH, in an attempt to stop me pissing everyone off with my sarcastic questioning of their care of the Goldfish volunteered to talk to the staff. He is the most diplomatic, Wee-sis comes next in the diplomacy ranking – I come nowhere.

DH came home fuming. “The nurses,” he said, “know everything. They won’t listen or accept what anyone else can tell them about the patient in their care. They know.” Usually he can find something positive to say, but not tonight. No scan done. Catheter still in place. I just feel so depressed. The Goldfish very poorly.

Day 7: I went in this afternoon and found the Goldfish really not well – despite being assured he was “comfortable” and had had “a settled night” before I went in to see him. He was struggling for breath. Time for diplomacy was over. I pressed the buzzer for a nurse and insisted there was something seriously wrong and I wanted a doctor to see him. She pulled the curtains, insisting I step outside while she and another nurse examined him. They called for a doctor.

A junior doctor arrived and invited me to join him INSIDE the curtains while he examined the Goldfish. He has pneumonia. Antibiotics and a drip sent for. The doctor was lovely – talked us through what he was doing and why. I smiled to myself when he got in a bit of a fankle with the syringe of blood he’d taken and asked me to hang on to it while he attended to the drip. I suspect a nurse should have been there but we got on fine without one.

Day 8: The Goldfish much better again and eating well. He is one tough cookie. I have no idea what gives him the strength to fight back so hard – but fight back he does. We had a chance to speak to a doctor. He said the seizures are part of the dementia and they will put the Goldfish on an epilepsy drug. We discovered during the course of the conversation the Goldfish had had more than one seizure since admission – but no one had told us. The MRI is now not considered necessary. The doctor made a note that the catheter should be removed.

Fingers crossed we’ve turned a corner.


12 thoughts on “My Dad’s a Goldfish – Hospital continued

  1. This is one of the (many) incredibly frustrating things about being caregiver for dementia patients. You have to practically have a medical degree yourself.

    I particularly loved “He is the most diplomatic, Wee-sis comes next in the diplomacy ranking – I come nowhere.” And yet it was you who made things happen. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was talking to Wee-sis tonight and we decided diplomacy is not very useful in such situations. Although I didn’t much like the hate waves which rolled towards me whenever I set foot in the ward.


  2. Diplomacy these days has to go out of the window as far as hospitals are concerned. Unless you are prepared to push yourself forward and more or less demand things happen then nothing will, I’ve found that out to my cost. I was surprised that you let your other half do the talking, I thought that funny. I can imagine the scene lol.
    Your dad was a fighter and I think that’s how he hung on in the admissions ward, because he refused to give in, I hate to think of him being in pain and not really knowing if he was or not. Stupid bloody nurses, could they not see? Sometimes it makes my blood boil. There are a lot of good nurses, but there are a lot of incompetent ones too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Ruth. I think I should have gone on assertiveness training courses to learn how to get my point across without becoming angry or sarcastic.
      You are right, there are a lot of good nurses but, unfortunately, it is the bad ones which stay in our memories.


    • Thanks for commenting. I’m sure we have shared many similar experiences – and that is what is so worrying. Nothing ever seems to change in the institutional culture on the wards.


  3. This brought back memories of dealing with my mother in her last years. The in and out of hospital. I generally found the nurses here were great. The doctors–hospitalists who paid no attention–were more the problem. But the result was the same–needing to stay on top of information and situations I was ill-equipped to handle. It sounds as if you did a great job. And it is great you have others involved. So glad he’s on the mend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we are all ill-equipped at times in that we are always playing catch up, learning about dementia as we go along. But, whereas we make efforts to learn as much as we can about the condition and particularly how it affects the person we are caring for we felt that very often (not always, of course) nursing staff felt no need to learn anything new. They rarely seemed to see dad as an individual with particular needs, likes and dislikes – he was a dementia patient and they’d ‘done’ dementia training. I still feel myself getting cross about it.
      I’m pleased you like the photos. I must scan some more – I have boxes of them to sort out.


    • When I was small I used to think my dad looked like Prince Philip whose picture was on a tea caddy. I asked him once if they were related – he howled with laughter! When I grew up I no longer saw any resemblance to Philip but I did think my dad was a good looking man.


  4. Oh, Mary, I really am feeling for you. As I said before I went through all this last year with my mother. Nurses who think they know best, having to fight to get her seen by a Doctor, the seizures, the ups and downs on how she was doing.
    I’m thinking about you.
    Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Hugh. It’s the ‘nurses who think they know best’ which drive me to despair. There’s something going wrong in the training process I think. Don’t know how it can be changed for the better.


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