I have stayed with my Father every night since he was admitted and have been dozing in recliner chairs by his bedside, but the novelty of that wore off! Last night I set up a camp bed with four old wheelchair cushions with my thermorest camp mat on top, all wrapped up with a sheet and with pillows, this was a much better bed! I did get some sleep, but my body was now craving for my own bed and undisturbed sleep. I'm a tough cookie (Father like Daughter), but even I can only take so much.
Father was still fairly alert and managed to eat a small amount of pureed breakfast. Whilst the nurses changed my father's mattress to a nimbus air mattress (better than normal one) and washed him, I went off to the shop to buy him some lemonade to add to the thickened drinks. Today was stressful to say the least.
A very much respected and lovely doctor had a long 'family' chat with me and basically (my words) said we had a choice of two paths: 1) just carry on naturally as we are with oxygen and food/drink if Father requests and see if he improves naturally or 2) give a course of 7 days of antibiotics intravenously and active treatment, to see if the sepsis can be combated once and for all. He explained that the dose of antibiotics that were administered in A&E early Saturday morning, were probably now only starting to take affect and that was probably why Father was a little more alert. Two other seniors of the ward thought we should try 2). After much discussion with the rest of the family we initially decided that we would let nature take its course, but none of us could really make our minds up and this was incredibly stressful. My mother asked the question (by telephone to me) 'what would they have done in best interests if there had been no family?' Good point....... so I asked the doctor this question and he replied (more or less word for word) that he wouldn't be 'fixed either way, but would have been inclined to try the 7 day's antibiotics, being as they know what the bug is and is potentially treatable'. He could not give me a prognosis and said that it was a very difficult situation and choice. He explained that someone who had started eating, could go on for days or longer, even if they were not going to make it in the end and that the antibiotics could make things worse or better (worse because of the diarrhoea that happens with heavy doses of antibiotics. So I phoned Mother and Vivien and we decided to go with the the Doctor's chosen path.
So, late afternoon, saw lots of things happening: cannula inserted, antibiotics started, obs being taken, fluids put up etc! Father has not had Resperidone for several days and you could see that he needed this, as he was starting to fidget, pulling sheets off and pulled the cannula out!!! Another had to be inserted. Staring eyes looking around the room, which means he was hallucinating and then later stages he would be shouting etc etc. The liquid form of Resperidone could not be got this late at night, so this would not be able to start until tomorrow when the pharmacy re-opened. The face mask oxygen was removed and replaced with nasal specs, which was much more comfortable for Father. His obs were all good, which surprised me.
I found it torture to leave this evening, but had no choice, my mental state was not good and I was exhausted. I put off leaving and kept faffing about, tidying the room etc. Some people will definately think I was over the top staying every night, but I didn't feel it was at all – on Saturday we were told he wouldn't make it and that it was just a matter of hours, so naturally when he made it to Saturday evening, I didn't want him to die alone, so I stayed. In disbelief that he made it to Sunday, I stayed again and the same on Monday. Anyway, I said goodnight to Father – he looked so frail and vulnerable and the look on his face said he didn't really want me to leave – I walked out of the room and was a real state emotionally as I left the ward.
It felt heaven to get into my bed, but I was overtired.