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Saturday 31 December 2016


Neither Father or I had a good night's sleep. Father was restless and naturally I was attentive and concerned throughout the night. I was not allowed to open the window at all because of Father's low temperature last night and this made it difficult to sleep. I eventually got to sleep in the early hours this morning! Both Father and I were sound asleep when someone called out 'breakfast' at 8.15am! Father was not allowed to eat until the Consultant and Doctors did their rounds. The nursing staff came to give Father a wash etc and I went off to a 'secret' place in the hospital to have a shower myself – I felt a whole lot better after that. Returned to be with Father who seemed so much better today generally. His BP first thing had finally climbed to a normal level of 140/70 – later it was 182/79 and then at 1pm was 101/67.

The consultant came round with a doctor, who said that I could try Father with a soft diet at lunch time. The saline fluid, anti-biotics and paracetamol would continue and also a steroid is being given – Father is still on oxygen with nasal specs. I also asked the Consultant if he could be blunt about Father's prognosis, as I have to think about so many things over the next few days and need to make plans re work etc – he replied that 'he certainly doesn't look like someone who is going to die right now',  but 'you can't always tell', which pleased me to hear! I don't think the staff can quite believe the turnaround! On Wednesday he was close to the end and because they could not get his BP raised to a normal level, I don't think anyone thought he was going to make it. The support of his family, I'm sure has helped. This sounds wicked to say, but I'm sure those of you that have gone through the same thing will understand when I say that I kind of wanted it to end, because he was so desperately poorly and I couldn't bare to see him like that, with no response, no movement, nothing, apart from a very ill and pale looking man –  my family felt the same. Against all the odds, my stubborn 90 year old Father seems to be on a upward spiral – us Clarke's are made of stern stuff!!!

Father was given his first dose of Resperidone at 12.15pm, thank goodness – he has not had this since Tuesday night at the care home and this is what settles his dementia – without it, he is restless, confused and shouting etc! At lunch time Father had about an 1/8th of his main course and half a portion of warm custard and of ice-cream – he especially enjoyed the desserts and gave me a little smile which was nice. He was not able to initiate to suck the coffee through the straw (which he normally does), so I gave him some on a teaspoon, but he did not swallow this, so I had to remove it. Even with the drink thickened, he was not able to swallow it properly.

With my mind a bit clearer today, I realised that I could log onto the guest WiFi here at the hospital, which mean't I could bring my laptop back from home and update the blog with all the bird news for the last few days!

My sister Vivien who had been staying with Mother, returned to Ely today, as had essential stuff to do. Mother was too exhausted to visit and Lucy was not able to cope with another day here, so I was solo today! After Father's lunch, I returned home to get some urgent washing in the machine – I had a doze on the sofa whilst I waited for the cycle to finish. Hung up the washing, did some old washing up and packed up my laptop to bring back to the hospital. Went to the Tesco's garage shop to stock up with treats (diet scrapped this week) and returned to the hospital.

I discovered that Father had pulled out his cannula and was trying to pull all the bed linen off and his gown and was incredibly restless. I know him so well, and all of this is due to the fact that the Resperidone is out of his system and it will take a good few days to get back into his system! When I tried to hold his hands still, he was pulling my arms and would not settle – he has incredible strength in his hands and arms. He settled a little when I helped him with his tea – he ate 3/4 of a cheese omelette with baked beans, which I had to mash and two small ice-creams portions. He still couldn't tolerate/swallow liquid. The staff are going to change his 'soft diet' to 'Puree 2', which is basically liquidised food. He looked very alert and wide-eyed, but had that particular stare that indicates his dementia is far from under control! I know this look so well! Father's BP at 9.30pm was 127/77, heart rate/pulse 63, 97 Sats and had his second dose of Resperidone.

I went off to see the Pied Wagtail roost again in the courtyard garden – the same wonderful scene as last night, with little groups of wagtails huddled together in the bushes, peeking out to look at me with my nose against the window watching them! Lovely! Went to get a decent coffee from a machine and returned to the ward. I spent the evening typing up all the last few day's bird news in full, which took a long time, but I wanted to get it up to date. As I type this it is 11.30pm, it looks like Father will see in the new year after all. Its a long time since I saw the new year in with my Father, even though he is asleep right now and won't be aware of this.

I suppose that I could have returned to my home tonight, but I didn't want to leave Father on New Year's Eve, but sensibly I will probably return home tomorrow night. Most year's I do a New Year's Day Bird Race, along with many of you, but obviously won't be doing that tomorrow. Maybe, I will get some birding done for a short while on Monday. I will be returning to work on Tuesday, unless Father takes a turn for the worst. I really hope that he continues to get better – he has struggled to get this far and it would be sad if it all went wrong now. He will still be in hospital for while though, as he needs to be drinking and eating normally and able to sit out in a chair, before returning to the care home at Heacham.

Again, thank you all very much for your support and kind messages over the last few days, I still can't believe Father is still here, I really thought that was it! It is now 11.45pm!

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear it Penny, Happy new year to you and your family and hope you all have a peaceful new year.........