Friday, May 22, 2009

What we do to our elderly . . .

I will try to remember this quote as I write:

"So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads." Dr. Suess

Yesterday I went to Missoula for a "team" meeting with the caregivers and family for Dad who is in a nursing home there - 200 miles west of here. He has become extremely agitated over the past few months and is now becoming mean and violent with caregivers. I have been there 5 times in the past 6 weeks. They have given him numerous drugs, upped the doses, and recently involved a psychologist who is advocating another antipsychotic drug. No one wants to tell you what the drugs are and I had to be very direct and diligent to get the list. I do have POA medical. I then come home and read for hours on what the drugs are, what each is supposed to do and what the possible side effects can be. He has all of the possible side effects compounded. My brother wants him put in a room in lockdown and just walk away as he cannot stand to "see him like this". My sister wants nothing to do with any of it and she lives right there in the same town. Although she is now off doing "dinner theatre" in Arizona. Mom just thinks he is mean and should be able to control himself. He is 90. This family is "dinner theatre".

We are going to try some things before any more drugs. We will get him off the narcotic pain pill as he has similar trouble with morphine - which they know. His pain is from age related arthritis. None of the other 5 different drugs he is taking are for anything except to manage his behavior.

We moved them here 3 years ago after a bad fall Dad had taken that caused some pretty serious brain bleeding. Neither of them were happy here in a senior living facility. They wanted to go home to Missoula so we did that when they were able after 6 months. Mom "managed" Dad's needs through overmedication, the wrong meds, and insisted on cancer treatment for prostate cancer that was totally incapsulated (he was 89). That is another whole story, but that was the start of this journey to the nursing home rather than being able to be at home with inhome care.

So that is my gripe for the day. I am trying to be an adult today. It is hard. I really want to be a child on the farm and run free in the fields. I will keep trying to be an adult, but a long, hard walk will have to suffice.