Finally!  We came home around 3:30pm today.  While the staff at the hospital was wonderful, and Mary Ann had excellent care, the dementia has increased dramatically.  Physically, she is fine.  We are back to normal, riding the margin between heart issues and Autonomic Nnervous System issues (fainting due to sudden drops in blood pressure).  It is not, of course, where we would choose to be if we had a choice, it is just what is so.

From the very first sleepless night, the first night we were there, the decline has been steady.  Last night was terribly difficult.  I put up the rails on the bed so that she would not get up and try to walk by herself on a very slippery, very hard floor.  She just could not accept that the catheter allowed her to stay in bed rather than head to the bathroom.  She saw people and animals and messes here and there.  Today she described in detail a busy cluster of bees on the floor at some time during the night.

I sat beside her on her bed for fifteen minutes to a half hour a number of times during the night.  At one point when she was awake, in the middle of the night, I checked my watch to see how much time there was between the need for me to get up and respond to her or help her.  The time was usually between ninety seconds and two minutes.

I realized that if we were required to stay another night, I would need to arrange for a paid companion so that I could get some sleep.  The constant nighttime needs are more than I can handle and remain rational, patient and helpful, after just two or three nights like last night.

Talking with the doctors helped clarify just how important it was to get back home to a stable routine and familiar setting.  They agreed that the additional tests being considered would not serve any real purpose.

While there were differing opinions by the two doctors and the Physician’s Assistant, two out of three felt that there was no compelling reason to expect more vulnerability to Congestive Heart Failure than there has been since the first bout five years ago.  We are going to return to our pattern of life to the degree the dementia will allow.

Mary Ann decided to go to bed at 5:30pm this evening. She has been up and down a a few times already.  Of course, I won’t know how tonight will go until morning.

I had mentioned in passing to one of the nurses that I appreciated having all the folks at the hospital with the care recognizing that Mary Ann and I would pretty much be on our own to deal with the aftermath when we got home.  I suspect she mentioned it to the Social Worker at the hospital who came in to talk with me before we left.  It is the norm that a Hospital Social Worker will check to see what if any needs there might be when a patient goes home.  This time the questions indicated some extra effort at listening to our situation.

The Social Worker mentioned that the nurses had spoken well of the care being provided Mary Ann.  Since I am no longer in a role that provides opportunity for external validation it was especially meaningful to hear those words of affirmation.  The Social Worker seemed to feel very good about the support system we have, from family and the congregation.  She sees folks who have little or no support as they try to care for a Loved One.

The day tomorrow is a full Wednesday.  It will be interesting to see how Mary Ann does with all that will go on.  I am going to continue our activities based on the assumption that alertness and the ability to track will return and the hallucinations will diminish. It that improvement does not come, we will adapt.  It is what we do.

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