Monday, August 22, 2011

Write it down!!

4:48 p.m. Today's project was to get my hair colored, kind of a last-minute decision that had me calling the agency to see if they could send over a caregiver for a couple of hours, counting my drive back and forth to Moreno Valley. I could have taken Steve, no problem, but they did send a very nice lady over.

This would not have been out of the ordinary, except for an odd occurrence I found out about when I returned. Steve had worked on one of the pop-up sprinklers, made his lunch, and gone on a short monitored walk, which was fine. The caregiver confessed to "crossing all of the signals" on the DirecTV unit when Steve tried to watch a program, but I quickly set that to rights while listening to her report.

The shocker was when the caregiver said, "Yes, he took his medicine, too." WHAT? Steve only takes his medication with breakfast, and then one Namenda pill at 2 p.m. It was only 1:00, so I'd left no instructions for him to take any pills. I quickly checked his 7-day pill dispenser, and praise the Lord, he hadn't taken a double dose of his powerful prescription meds! I asked her, "Which ones did he take?" "The ones over there on a napkin. Because that's where he sat down for lunch."

Steve had sat down in my chair where my vitamins--Shaklee Vitalea multivitamin, fish oil, gingko biloba and a 1/4 aspirin--were placed for tomorrow morning. Since they're harmless, it was okay. But when the caregiver left, we had to talk.

I tried as best I could without devastating him, to explain to Steve a universal precaution: you NEVER take another person's pills! I told him that if I ever have to take heart medication, for instance, he could be in big trouble. And even though the pills were out, he does not take anything with his lunch. So this was a very weird fluke. He was predictably upset, but, as with a child you've rescued from running in the street, I had to make the seriousness of this as plain as possible. Not sure how long he'll keep it in mind, but I did my best.

There's nothing to stop him from opening one of my daily portions of vitamins in their segmented portions, either--it's a simple screw top arrangement.

I have been operating on a "positive" note arrangement, writing and telling caregivers what Steve needs to do or take if appropriate. I never imagined a caregiver would let an Alzheimer's patient consume anything I didn't specifically direct, in writing. We've had other caregivers who've been here for the first time, and I've been very pleased with their supervision.

So I did call the agency and they suggested sitting down for an updated "plan of care" for Steve, beyond what the Genworth longterm care insurance nurse has written every 3 months. Sounds good to me! Steve seems to be in a new phase of disorientation now, and our approaches will have to change. And you can bet I'll keep all of the pills and vitamin supplements out of sight!

I am so grateful that my husband wasn't harmed in any way, and as we straighten out the difficulties and find out what is happening in Steve's brain tomorrow with his EEG, I will determine not to become discouraged, but remember Psalm 145:14-21:

The LORD upholds all who fall,

And raises up all who are bowed down.

The eyes of all look expectantly on You,

And You give them their food in due season.

You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

The LORD is gracious in all His ways,

Gracious in all His works.

The LORD is near to all who call upon Him,

To all who call upon Him in truth.

He will fulfill the desire of all who fear Him;

He will also hear their cry and save them.

The LORD preserves all who love Him,

But all the wicked He will destroy.

My mouth shall speak the praise of the LORD,

And all flesh shall bless His holy name forever and ever.

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