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dad went suddenly blind at 83: advice please on how to help him

(245 Posts)
funnyperson Wed 17-Oct-12 03:47:28

I would really like help on where to go for advice on how to support my dad who went blind yesterday. He has been admitted to hospital, very ill, for septicemia which is improving with iv antibiotics but he suddenly lost all sight in one eye and most of the sight in the other yesterday morning. We managed to get the eye specialists to see him urgently they say he has vitreous haemmorhages.
What do we do when he gets home? How best to cope? What will he need? Who do we ask? Help, we are lost here and very sad for him.

HappyTurquoise Sun 21-Oct-12 07:23:32

Hoping you managed to catch some sleep last night, Funny. Make sure you look after yourself.
You can ask the nurses what the tubes are for, and whether he has pain relief. I should think they would be giving him some morphine, but ask them and put your fears to rest.
It's lovely that you read to him, I'm sure it is a comfort.

megandraper Tue 23-Oct-12 09:12:40

Are you able to touch him or hold his hand? When your eyes/ears aren't working well, touch is a very important (and comforting) sense. Just a gentle hand on his arm or over his covers, could be very reassuring.

gingeroots Tue 23-Oct-12 18:20:08

Thinking of you funnyperson .

funnyperson Wed 24-Oct-12 05:04:47

Dad is off his ventilator. We had a horrible lecture from the doctor who wanted to keep him ventilated even though he could breathe on his own and clearly found the tube sore. Tears were coming out of dads eyes even though he could not talk and he was mostly paralysed. In the end the doctor didn't put the tube back. Now dad is talking with a very hoarse voice and is just beginning to move his hands. He cant open his eyes yet because he is too weak. He is swollen all over. Apparently when people are paralysed to be ventilated they swell up.
I dont think he can see us but he can hear us and we hold his hand which he can now squeeze a bit.
He has 2 tubes in his nose- a gastric feeding tube and a suction tube. Its all quite daunting to see and it must be really daunting for him. I'm not sure how t go about getting the support he will need at home.

funnyperson Wed 24-Oct-12 05:07:52

We are all quite tired and the hardest thing is shopping or cooking because all we want to do is be by dads side and when we are not e keep seeing him in our minds eye lying all swollen up with tubes everywhere crying. Mum is staying with me and she can't sleep.

gingeroots Wed 24-Oct-12 08:56:14

Oh funny how absolutely terrible .
Thank goodness he has you there ,it must mean everything to him .

Just get through each hour and day ,don't think about arranging support for him when he gets home yet .

When they're considering discharging him there will be help and advice to get you started ,not least the initial 6 week discharge package of carers ,if that is appropriate .

For now just try and keep yourself as well as you can ,hold your dad's hand .
What a fighter he sounds !

harbingerofdoom Wed 24-Oct-12 22:05:42

Where are you? in Oxford? will get a meal for you and your mum.

funnyperson Thu 25-Oct-12 00:59:00

Thank you. I am not sure if we are managing. Dad is off his ventilator and less puffy all over but still paralysed. The good thing is he can talk, though his speech is slurred and he can be difficult to understand. It was lovely to hear him say he slept well though! He cannot see much beyond the colour of our clothes. His heart, kidneys and blood pressure have recovered. The doctors have stopped one of the antibiotics and his central venous, arterial lines and vascular catheter are out.
They don't know why he is weak all over.
He is not able to swallow.
I hope they send him home soon. He has been having hourly eye drops day and night for 6 days and he is exhausted

funnyperson Thu 25-Oct-12 00:59:33

We are not in Oxford, harbinger but thank you

gingeroots Thu 25-Oct-12 07:38:46

Oh poor man .

One day at a time funny , it sounds as though he's improving .

It's a priority that you take some care of yourself ,because ( though I know you know all this ) you'll be no good to anyone otherwise .

stitch Thu 25-Oct-12 07:51:05

Im glad i came to this thread late, and your father is much better from the way you describe.
take one day at a time. dont worry about how you will cope when he comes home. YOu sound like a loving close family, and will all manage. It sounds like the machines and that have helped whilst your dad fought off the infection.
positive thoughts for you.

funnyperson Thu 25-Oct-12 22:32:58

Dad is improving! He is off the ventilator, eye drops are 2 hourly and he is no longer in heart failure or kidney failure!
He has had some sleep and is able to talk, and wants to come home and more than anything he would like a cup of tea!
He is not allowed to eat or drink anything till the speech and language therapists have seen him tomorrow.
He still can't see- they will transfer him to another hospital on Monday for an eye operation.
Mum is very very tired.

chixinthestix Thu 25-Oct-12 23:18:48

Really glad to hear that funny. Lets hope he can get his cup of tea tomorrow and you and your Mum get a bit of rest to keep you going.

straighttohellymelly Thu 25-Oct-12 23:28:14

I read through the thread holding my breath for your poor Dad who sounds lovely and very loved. I am SO glad he is picking up. I hope he is on the mend now. unmumsnetty (((hugs))) for you.

funnyperson Sat 27-Oct-12 04:14:14

Thank you for the hugs. We need them. Dad has gone back to being very sleepy. The speech therapist said he wasn't allowed to drink or eat as he cant swallow properly. He says he is thirsty the whole time. The x rays of his hips show he has another fracture. The nurse says he has to 'do it all himself' (what all?) The doctors don't talk to us anymore. Three people died on ITU yesterday.
Dad has been given special immunoglobulin to help him recover, so there is hope but it is terrible to see him so fragile. My sister comes into ITU looking ready for war with her arms firmly planted on her hips and I don't know whether to laugh or cry but I feel weepy a lot now.
Mum is getting very tired- it was their wedding anniversary yesterday.
We just want him home.

funnyperson Sat 27-Oct-12 04:15:44

One of the consultants asked us if I had a pretty daughter as she has a son she wants to introduce to someone nice. Dad laughed and coughed.

funnyperson Sat 27-Oct-12 04:20:39

Mum stays the night at our house so at least I know she has supper and breakfast and company and I drop her round to her home after breakfast so she can potter about and bath and stuff before going to the hospital. The whole family mucked in last weekend and cleaned Dad's bedroom out- hoovered the walls, even. The curtains are drycleaned and the mattress is new and all the old bedding has been thrown out.

funnyperson Sat 27-Oct-12 04:21:33

But I think he will die in hospital all alone with needles in and thirsty and it is hard to bear.

gingeroots Sat 27-Oct-12 09:23:56

Oh dear .
This may not be possible I know but could you set up a rota so that one of you stays with him at night ?
Is he allowed those little sponges with water on - don't know what they're called but nurses gave them to us for wetting persons lips and mouth when I accompanied v.old frail lady in hospital .
If he is you could maybe even add a little lemon to the water they are moistned in ?

funnyperson Sat 27-Oct-12 21:27:41

The days are so up and down. Today the nurses and doctors on the ITU were excellent and with their care, dad has improved steadily. Mum and I went home reassured and slept the whole afternoon!

straighttohellymelly Sat 27-Oct-12 21:42:56

Hoping your Dad continues to improve and is feeling properly better soon.

harbingerofdoom Mon 29-Oct-12 19:46:54

Funnyperson, hope your Dad is getting better. He has been sounding stronger.

funnyperson Wed 31-Oct-12 02:34:37

Thank you- it really helps to know someone is out there

Dad has fewer tubes in and is no longer in renal failure but still in serious heart failure. He is getting black spots in his good eye, the other eye is still blind. The hospital are being very very very slow about treating his eyes or transferring him to a specialist unit. It has been so distressing as each consultant just seems to wash their hands of him because he is old. Yesterday evening he was transferred from ITU to the ward and the ward have now got him on hourly observations because he is so ill, so he isn't getting any sleep at all and is exhausted.
No consultant or senior doc appears to be in charge any more. They decided he would not be transferred to a specialist eye unit (because he is old nad his blind eye has been written off) and instead want him to go down to eye clinic in a wheel chair tomorrow. He cant it in a wheelchair as yet as he is too ill and is still in a lot of oxygen. I think he is simply going to loose the sight in his 'good eye' . Worst of all is watching him suffer and in pain.
Yesterday, to cap it all, the speech therapist said he could have something to eat and the ward gave him meat- he is a Hindu vegetarian. So are his children and grandchildren and his entire family for thousands of years. It was clearly on his records. Matron gave me a written apology after I complained about the smirking staff nurse who did it - but the apology was 'at your request' so clearly through gritted teeth.

funnyperson Wed 31-Oct-12 21:15:14

Different tortures are devised for dad everyday
today it is very high flow cold oxygen via facemask which bubbles loudly and dries up the nostrils and throat. freezing the face and making the voice so hoarse one cannot be understood.
After 2 weeks the family and he are so tired of him being seriously ill, watching him gasp for every breath, while people do endless blood tests and x rays and washes and always always seem to be t him so he has had no rest.
He wont eat any hospital food at all now.

funnyperson Wed 31-Oct-12 21:16:26

I dont feel grateful any more. I should, but I dont.

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