Blog 50: Hospitalisation

When I returned to the hospital the next day, that day being Saturday, 28 January 2012, I found Bill in a small ward with another dementia patient.  They were both being guarded by a resident nurse.

Bill was asleep.  Doctors doing their rounds asked me:

“Is he always asleep like this?”

“No!” I answered. “Well, sometimes. But mostly he’s up and about. I thought that you had drugged him.”

They looked at Bill’s chart.

“They did give him a sleeping tablet last night,” one said. “Apparently, he kept trying to get out of bed. But that should have worn off by now.”

“Should I be worried?” I asked.

“No! No! He’ll wake up when he’s ready,” they assured me, moving off.

I stayed with Bill well into the afternoon.  He didn’t wake up the whole time. But by Sunday, he was much improved, alert and chatty, and by Monday, he was even better, probably ready to come home.  I was ready to take him home too, but I was a bit wary because the resident nurse had said to me, on the quiet:

“I just want to say this to you: Do not take your husband home. No matter what the circumstances, do not take him home.”

It seemed that taking Bill home relied entirely on a positive report from the hospital’s physiotherapist, who came in the afternoon to assess Bill.  She and her assistant put Bill on a walker and took him for a short walk around the corridors. After they had returned and settled Bill into his spot and departed, I said to the nurse: “I would like to take Bill walking on that walker again. He needs to walk. He likes to walk. But I’m worried that, if he’s with me, he’ll think that he is going home.”

“You’re not taking him anywhere,” she retorted sharply.  “That man is very unsteady on his feet. You saw how it took the two of them to take him on that walk. There’s no way that you would be able to manage him by yourself.”

Just then, the doctor came in.

“Well, we’ve had Bill up on the walker,” he said, “and he’s handled that quite well, the ankle seems better and he’s quite cheery, so you can take Bill home if you think that you can look after him.”

“I can look after him,” I said, “but I’m just a bit worried about those times in the evenings when I have to change his incontinence underwear. Bill doesn’t understand when I tell him to lift his foot, so I have to jerk it up. Already he’s fallen a couple of times because of that. And now, he doesn’t seem to be as sure on his feet as he was then, so I’m worried.”

I was thinking, at that time, that the doctor might suggest some form of home help to assist me for those half hours at night. But he made no such suggestion, merely turning on his heel and departing.

Bill remained in hospital and I went home without him.

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