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Fighting for Justice ~ The Hospital Stay pt. 2

"Whenever one person stands up and says 'Wait a minute, this is wrong.' it helps other people do the same.
Gloria Steinem

Sunday, January 5, 2021, I spent part of that morning making sure dad was comfortable and would stay in his hospital bed. He was restless, and even having the TV on wasn't helping much since there wasn't much that he liked o at that time of day with the limited selection of channels in the hospital. It seemed like it took forever for his breakfast to come, but when it did, I finally got a slight break and was able to run down to the cafeteria and grab myself something to eat as well. I knew he would eat slow enough that I would have time to get down there and back upstairs before he was done and was trying to get up and out of bed on his own, and luckily I timed it right!


After he finished breakfast and was settled in again, he turned to me and asked me where mom was. This was a question I was dreading. I did what I had been told was one of the best things to try first, and that was to deflect the question, so I just said to him that she wasn't there and that he got me that day. Thankfully it worked, and he was okay with that answer. I prayed that he wouldn't ask me that or bring her up again anytime soon because I hated lying to him, and I didn't want to break his heart repeatedly by telling him she was gone.


Later that morning, my daughter, Megan, came up to the hospital to sit with dad so I could run home to shower and pack a bag. At this time, I finally let her know what was going on and exactly why he had been brought to the hospital. Megan watched many crime shows and was a little upset with me that I hadn't called the police immediately. I'm the type that wants my facts together before I pull the trigger on something. I had reported it to the facility management, and I was confident that the director would handle her employee accordingly. After we briefly spoke, I went back to dad's room and let him know that I was running an errand and would be back soon and that Megan was staying with him while I was gone. I gave him a hug and kiss and headed out.


On the 20-minute drive to my house, I called my other daughter, Kelsie, and let her know what was going on. She was of the same mindset as Megan but also understood my point that taking care of dad was my priority in all of this. Once I made it home, I had to tell my husband, Kevin, about the situation. I showed him the video that I had not revealed to my daughter. He agreed that yes, I should go ahead and call the sheriff's office and report the incident. I had already had to endure some hard things over those past couple of months, and here was one more hurdle I had to get through; looking back, I don't know how I did it all.


I took a quick shower, packed a bag, and headed out the door back to the hospital. As I was driving back to the hospital, I called Williamson County Sheriff's Department to file the report officially. One concern my daughters had was that they would question why it took so long for me to report this, but that never came up. I started just speaking with a patrol officer who took the information and asked that I email him the videos that I had to him, and he would submit the report, and a detective would be in contact with me. I got out of my car, walked into the hospital, and went up to my dad's room. He had dozed off for a little bit, and Megan was sitting in the chair next to his bed. I quietly walked across the room and set my bag and purse down. Megan and I stepped out in the hall briefly, and I let her know that I had filed the report with the sheriff's department, so the process had begun.


We heard dad moving around in his room, so we went back in, and he was awake and, as usual, starting to get up out of bed. He was considered a fall risk, and even going to the bathroom, the nursing staff wanted someone near him, so we called for assistance. Luckily, his room was right across the hall from the nurse's station during this hospital stay, so it didn't take long for someone to get there and help him to the bathroom. Megan didn't stay long after that; she said her goodbyes to her grandfather and headed out, leaving me alone with my dad once again.


Dad and I settled in and watched TV for a little while, and he got a little antsy, so we walked the hallway and then down to the waiting area on the floor he was on, and he enjoyed looking out the window across the countryside. We walked the hall a little more, and dad got tired, so we went back to his room; and he got back in bed and watched TV a little and slept a little. This was the routine until his dinner came around, and then I ran downstairs to the vending machine since the cafeteria was already closed and grabbed something quick out of there for me. After dinner, we settled into the routine of watching TV and dozing again for a little while, then we walked the hall some again and then back to his room.


Anyone who has dealings with someone with Alzheimer's or dementia knows about sundowners syndrome. For anyone not familiar with sundowners syndrome, or sundowning, its symptoms include sadness, depression, anxiety, agitation, fear, delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, and emotional outbursts. It can be a very trying time for both the person with the symptoms and their caregiver(s). Dad didn't have the sadness, depression, fear, delusions, hallucinations, or paranoia symptoms, but the anxiety, agitation, and emotional outbursts were definitely present.


When the nurse came around to take his vitals and give him the night meds, he spit them out at her; he was rude to her and was becoming disrespectful towards me as well. It took a little while and some coaxing by me to calm him down, but I was finally able to calm him down, and he took his meds for me. I was hoping that those would calm him down enough that we both would sleep better that night, but we didn't. He became combative sufficient that they called security to get him back in his bed. That actually did the trick that night when a big stocky security guard showed up and gently talked to him; he listened and got back in bed and, for the most part, stayed in bed except when he had to go to the bathroom. Once again, I was in for a long night without much sleep, it was like being on baby watch all over again, but this time the baby was a full-grown 80-year-old man who raised me.


To be continued...

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