Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Saga Continues

If you read the last post then you know Bob is in the hospital with pneumonia. His, daughter, Michele arrived two nights ago from Hawaii and has been a huge help since she's a paramedic. She's been able to talk to the doctors and nurses in their language. 

We decided to continue with the course of antibiotics.  Maybe this is a dress rehearsal for the next emergency.

Bob is out of ICU and in a regular room now but we are caught in a Catch-22.  If his oxygen is low he's too weak to cough up the mucus in his bronchial tubes and he has to get this out. When we are able to keep the oxygen mask on him, he gets his energy back and can accomplish this feat but then he repeatedly takes off the mask and his level falls again, making him too weak to cough it up.

It's been a lesson in redirecting. I had to think fast and filled a bag with things from around the room - a comb, toothbrushes, unopened toothpaste in its box, a package of Q-tips, and handed it to him. His hand went right in and he played with the items taking them out to examine them. This kept his hands busy and off the oxygen mask.

The boys brought in a stuffed animal I'd given him weeks ago and that also gave him something to occupy his busy hands.  It doesn't work to say, "No, Bob - leave the mask alone,"  It doesn't work to try to keep it on by force and it doesn't work to badger him repeatedly.  What does work is redirecting. Why do we have to keep learning this lesson over and over?

Another challenge is the Balinese culture. It's fairly passive. So when Bob takes the mask off,  the nurse says, "If a patient doesn't want something we don't push it."  I explain, "Those with Alzheimer's have to be treated differently.  They can't make decisions for themselves.  And we have to encourage them in a quiet way to do what's best for them."  I keep thinking it would be good to have a formal lecture on how to deal with Alzheimer's patients for the staff here. They are eager to learn. 

Michele and Bob in 1960

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