Last Friday Peg and I went shopping for groceries. We have done this together since we married ten years ago. I parked as close to the door as was possible and we walked six car widths out of parking into the store and picked up a shopping cart. We are the world’s least organized shoppers. I start with a plan but once we leave produce the plan is lost, and we shop like a cue ball bouncing off cushions. This is one way we get some walking into our sedate lives. Peg enjoys shopping even if it is just to get out and look at stuff.
Friday night we went to bed early because we planned to drive to Michigan to visit my son, and his family. During the middle of the night I awakened by the bed shaking. Peg vibrated as if a demon possessed her. I swung my arm across her and tried talking to her. She was as stiff as a board and shaking like crazy. Her eyes were closed and she did not respond to my words. It stopped within a couple of minutes, and she became completely relaxed. She slept the rest of the night. I had a hard time falling back to sleep.
The opportunity clock sounded off in the morning and I jumped from bed into the bathroom. Usually, Peg is out of bed by the time I re-enter the room. This morning she was still in bed. I talked to her and she did not respond verbally. She was awake but not moving very well. I called my son to tell him we wouldn’t make it. Peg was still in bed.
I tried to coax her out but her response was muted. I called 911 and asked for assistance getting her out of bed so I could take her to the ER. Within in minutes three men arrived and began asking questions and taking vitals. A few minutes later four more men walked in. I was busy answering their questions and watching what they did when four more guys walked in with a gurney. The first guys were cops, the second group was the fire department off the firetruck, The last group were the paramedics. I remember telling one of them that I asked for a couple of guys to help me lift her out of bed not the whole department.
Peg was transported to Silver Cross hospital and checked into the ER. I met them there because I drove separately. By the time I got in to see her she was hooked to fluids, and the ER physician began asking me questions. They sent her for a cat-scan to determine if she had a stroke. I told them about the seizure and immediately they called the neurologist. He quizzed me about the seizure and almost immediately ordered an anti-seizure drug for her. He wanted an EEG test which is best described as an EKG of the brain. We would have to wait until Monday to do the EEG. The results of the cat-scan came back inconclusive, so they wanted an MRI, also on Monday. They admitted her to the hospital.
Peg spent Saturday and Sunday waiting for things to happen. Early Monday morning she had the EEG, and the MRI. We waited again for the results. Physical therapy was called in to assess her condition. PT determined she could walk with some assistance; they walked her to the end of the hallway and back. She did fine. At seven o’clock Monday evening the hospital assigned primary care doctor assigned to her case came in the review results and to give us a plan going forward. He asked if we wanted to go home then or wait until tomorrow. I said, we’ll wait until tomorrow.
Tuesday morning, I came with a clothing, and shoes for Peg. A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) helped her get dressed and we waited for the nurse to arrive with discharge instructions. He came and I tried helping Peg stand up from the edge of the bed. A nurse once trained me on how to help someone get up and I have practiced the procedure since. I stood in front of Peg straddling her legs with mine and bent down. She reached up and put her arms around my neck. I wrap my arms around her back near the waist and count one, two , three. I lift and she pushes up with her legs. It has worked hundreds of times. This time however, she got half way up and crumbled like a wet noodle. I said, ‘This isn’t going to work.”
Mark the nurse asked, “what isn’t going to work?”
“I can’t take her home this way, I won’t be able to handle her alone.”
I spent the remainder of the day with the social worker making arrangements to send Peg to a Skilled Nursing Rehab facility. We left the hospital at seven and arrived at the rehab place by eight. They checked her in, and quickly reviewed her records to determine what level of care she required. Peg was in good spirits and talking. When I came I answered questions again. I arrived home at 10:30 p.m.
Wednesday morning I arrived at her place by ten-thirty. The elevator door opened and I looked out. There she was facing me. She sat in a wheel chair at the nurses station along with several other white hair ladies. Her head hanging down tilted to one side, her chin was in her chest. My beautiful wife Peg had transformed into a helpless aged person trapped in a worn body. I cried.
Filed under: Aging, Biography, family, health care | Tagged: Alzheimers, Dementia, Memory Care, Seizures | 13 Comments »