My brother has come to town to help manage the coming appointments and support my parents. When he goes out to visit my parents on Sunday, my Mom reports that my Dad seems to be choking in his sleep.
We know he has a tumor in his mouth but are waiting to see an oncologist and don’t really understand how fast the tumor can grow or its exact location. We understand the tumor has tethered his tongue and he can’t move it at all. In mid-August at his physical, I watched as the doctor had him stick out his tongue and put her hands in his mouth to see if she could find any reason he was slurring and found nothing. A month later, he can’t move his tongue and finds eating painful. Could the tumor be growing that fast and be blocking his airway?
My Dad agrees to go to the Emergency Room — our appointment with the oncologist is several days away and now my Brother and I are worried my Dad might choke to death before we even get to that appointment. I meet my Dad, Mom and Brother at the Emergency Room.
My Dad sits quietly, but my Mom begins to grow anxious and asks why we are here. She tries to talk my Dad into leaving. When we review the reasons we came with my Dad, he agrees to wait a little longer. My Dad is called and I walk with him back to see the Doctor while my Brother stays with my Mom. I tell the Doctor that he seems to be choking, recap the details of the tumor and mention that we haven’t seen our Dad take in more than a few sips of liquid in days. They put him on an IV as we wait to see if he’s aspirated.
The activity and change of scenery is difficult on my Mom and she is agitated. She starts talking loudly and rudely in the waiting room. My Brother brings my Mom to visit my Dad in hopes it will calm her down. Instead, she begins to berate my Dad and now he is agitated too. She demands that we leave and my Dad tries to get up but realizes he has an IV in his arm. My mom moves to pull it out of his arm. As I’m trying to divert my Mom, my brother goes to get Security.
We recognize that the change of scenery and getting bumped from my being my Dad’s advocate has tipped her scale and she is really off-balance. My Mom orders me to leave the room. Before I go, I make her promise me that she won’t pull the IV out of Dad’s arm. As I walk out, the nursing staff moves in as my brother arrives with Security. Thankfully one of the nurses is able to soothe my Mom and helps walk her to the car so my Brother can take her home.
I as sit in the hallway, the ridiculousness of the situation hits me and I begin to laugh I’m still chuckling as I walk back into my Dad’s room to continue the wait. Witnessed.
5 thoughts on “Security, will you please escort my Mom to the car?”
Hang in there. Best suggestion a nurse friend gave me when Mom was in the hospital was to make a little sign above her bed that says “I have dementia and don’t understand you.” And you may already know this, but you can also ask for a “hospital sitter” to be with him when family can’t be there so he doesn’t try to get up and leave.
Great tips! When we have tried signs before my Mom would tear them down. Didn’t know about the “hospital sitter”
Some articles mention that this is a private pay service. However when Mom had a surgery one hospital provided us with one (though not thrilled to do so) after I told them that my Mom would likely yank out her IV and try to walk around and we couldn’t be there 24/7. They knew they might be liable for accidents since I had told them about it. When I mentioned this for a different hospital stay later, they put her in a large area with all dementia patients and several sitters watching. Definitely worth asking about. My guess is that as dementia rates rise, this will be more regulated. Sorry for long reply!
Hello Kay, I tried to comment on this, but it wouldn’t work for me!! Anyway, just wanted you to know I am thinking of you all as you face this next big hurdle. Love and hugs, Kate