Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A taxing time

I'm having one of those periods where all sorts of things are going on and it's hard to keep up. I feel you can get used to most things if you have a minimal time to adjust but if a lot is going on at once it's very hard. Sunday night going to bed was the worst ever. I started to try and get S to bed at 10 and she finally caved in at 3. During these 5 hours there were times when I almost got her into bed and then something would distract her and she would be off again, walking up and down. I was very tired myself but knew I could not fall asleep and leave her still awake - too many risks. So from time to time I lay down hoping she would get the idea but to no avail. When we got to bed we slept well as, currently, we usually do and got a decent length of sleep. But next day, all morning and some of the afternoon saw S walking up and down complaining about imagined issues to imagined people, with varying degrees of agitation. Then somehow, and I can never work out how, she got herself back into a happier state and we spent a very pleasant late afternoon/evening, mostly watching music DVDs when she was as cheerful and 'herself' as she's been for quite a while. All this was possibly helped by the smallest possible dose of Valium (the doc had given us some but I'd been reluctant to use it in the light of our previous medication disaster) though she only had that after she had got back on a happier track. When we went to bed she was chattering away to herself and/or others and clearly enjoying the conversation.

Tuesday was pretty much a disaster. 12 hours of the complaining mode is incredibly wearing but that's what we got. S's daughter came and helped out in the evening and this was very helpful to me but neither she, nor another dose of Valium, could alter S's mood. And another problem also loomed large. We had both noticed a few days before that S was leaning over to the left when walking. I was concerned that this was a symptom of the condition. However, over the weekend she was walking more normally. But on Tuesday she started leaning over to the right and holding her left hip area. She was also leaning forward. Because of this very awkward gait she was also bumping into things. We started to get very worried as she seemed to be on pain. At 9.45 we phoned the night G.P cover service to be told that we could be waiting for 6 hours. After waiting for 2 hours we decided to try and get S into bed. It took both of us to get her upstairs and was very difficult as she was seemingly unable to stand up properly, though she wasn't resisting our efforts. Eventually, we managed to get her into bed. After phoning the night service and telling them that they were no longer required, I went to bed fifteen minutes after S. She was still awake, chatting away and chuckling, even singing what seemed to be playground-type songs which I didn't recognise. It's still extraordinary to me that this can happen after a truly dreadful day.

The next day it was impossible to get her to come downstairs. I took her food and drink which she barely touched. She was clearly physically uncomfortable and very depressed - not surprisingly. I called the GP and asked for a home visit. S alternated between laboured walking, lying or sitting on the floor and, when persuaded, sitting in chairs. She mostly wanted to be left alone so I just checked her every so often. She was due to go to a friend's for aromatherapy massage the next day so I phoned to cancel. The friend offered to come round. She was very good - has experience of mother with dementia - but neither of us could really get anywhere with S.

Her 85 year old dad and his partner were due to visit in the early afternoon so the friend left. S's dad had not see her for a couple of weeks so when they arrived I tried to explain that they might find S's current condition shocking - which they did. She didn't really respond much to either of them. Then the GP arrived. Both S and I have always rated him and she was much more co-operative with him, getting on the bed and allowing him to probe and prod her. He ruled out any hip damage and found that her spine was tender. He said he would drop off prescriptions for pain-killers and stuff to rub in at the pharmacy. He suggested she come downstairs and she did, without too much difficulty, though he and I helped her.

She rapidly improved in the company of her dad and his partner, eating and drinking and engaging in conversation. I then got her to take the small valium dose and this, along with a another visit from her daughter, may have contributed to the fact that she remained relatively calm and stable for the rest of the day. She is now in bed (Thurs a.m.) still asleep. She hasn't had a long sleep like this for a while but the last one was very beneficial so I'm keeping everything crossed. I've got family coming over soon and her daughter said she would call in tonight so I know I'll be well covered for support today if I need it.

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