Imagine you are lost in the desert and the hot sun is beating down on your neck. You’ve been without water now for days. Your body is made up of over 60% water. Many of your organs have even a higher percentage than 60%. Your body systems begin to break down. Chemical imbalances begin to come into play as your organs can’t do their job. With dehydration and that chemical imbalance comes the ability to imagine things that aren’t real. You literally see an image that your mind tells you is real. You can’t tell the difference. The pool of water you see in the desert that you are actually drinking is actually sand and you continue to drink.
My wife had been admitted again to the hospital for dehydration (just like in the desert) and the kidneys were shutting down again. Her potassium and magnesium were low and her overall body was becoming an acidic environment. The call came at about 2:00 am and woke out of a sound sleep, it was my wife and she was asking why she was in the basement and could I come and get her. She wasn’t sure how she got there. I tried to reassure her that she was fine and told her where she was even though she didn’t believe me. I told her I’d call the nurse and get her to help her. I felt heartbroken having to hang up and let her go but I had to get a comforting soul to her to help her. That’s where I went wrong. I assumed I was sending someone that could help, someone that would be familiar with this type of situation.
My wife was actually quite calm and wasn’t too worried but basically needed to be reassured that everything was ok. I believe the nurse gave her some sort of sedative and then contacted a psychiatrist to evaluate her. They had done this during the previous hospital 3 months earlier for the same issue. This time it was different and I wasn’t going to learn this until about a week later. I happened to be with her one evening as they were about to give her her nightly pills. The nurse commented that “Oh one of the pills was missing” I asked which one and she rattled off a name which I wasn’t familiar with and then I asked which doctor had prescribed it, to try and narrow down what type of drug it was. She then told me a name I wasn’t familiar with either. It was a psychiatrist. I wrote the name of the drug and looked it up as soon as I got home.
It was an antipsychotic drug that according to the manufacturer is given to people who are acting out and lashing at people. People that can be harmful to themselves or people around them. It’s used to shall we say calm them down. In my wife’s case “calm them down” meant putting her into a “zombie-like” state. When you would talk to her she would be starring off somewhere. She wouldn’t respond to questions right away without nudging her a few times to get her attention. Then she would immediately go back to her staring at the wall. She also didn’t know to feed herself or remember that you were there. She had been like this for a week and really couldn’t do anything herself. I was livid and was at the hospital first thing in the morning and was screaming at them for doing this to my wife without my permission. They stated that I approved it, it is in the patient notes was their response. I said I was never asked about this and apparently they are writing whatever they want in the notes to get them to cover up their incompetence. I told them they were not to give her any more of that medicine and that doctor was to not come near my wife again. They then inform me that my wife was being discharged. I asked if in this state they thought she was fine. They said yes. Later that day the nurse’s aid had to undress my wife and then clean her up and dress her. In the hospital notes, it states that she was alert and completely undressed her self and was able to dress and walked to the bathroom herself.
At home, my wife got lost in our short hallway, didn’t know what to do or where to go. I couldn’t leave her alone. I couldn’t have a conversation with her, she couldn’t take care of herself. I also have the responsibility of taking care of my mother in law who is 86 years of age and has onset dementia and also needs a tremendous amount of care.
I am not retired and still work fulltime. The medical community I relied on was telling me you are on your own good luck. I have no other family to assist me. I sat down and cried alone. It’s been about three years of in and out of the hospital for my wife with me at her side and trying to manage everything. Our general practitioner told me he thought the pills would wear off in a couple of days or a week and she may come back to where she was before. I was lucky, it was two days later and she wanted to do our bills. She came back thank god. She had gotten down to 96 lbs and was concerned about gaining weight. I can’t imagine how people do this. I was also lucky in that I have an understanding boss. I’m sure there other people in a similiar boat as I am. I also can’t understand how much incompetence there is in the medical profession. Every time I’m in the hospital with my wife I have to correct nursing staff as to how to properly care for my wife. I have to tell them that they can’t give certain drugs to her as they are about to administer them to her and kill her. How I have to educate other doctors visiting my wife that they can’t do what they are suggesting because of allergies and or because of her medical condition due to previous surgeries. They really do not have time to understand their patients and have to make decisions that are life-threatening. I’ve said this before, I believe all doctors and nurses need to be admitted to a hospital for a week and have them rely on other medical practitioners to make decisions on their care and see what can happen. Maybe then they can understand what they put us through when we rely so much on them in our own hour of need.