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Staring down the rabbit hole...no idea where to start or how I'll cope

(53 Posts)
MintyCedric Sat 26-Jan-19 15:31:33

Dad (81) had a fall last Monday (14th). Top to bottom of the stairs. It took us 10 days to get a proper diagnosis and vague form of treatment plan in place, due to a combination of logistics and general ineptitude on the part of the doctors.

He has 4 broken vertebrae but thankfully no spinal cord trauma. He is able to mobilize in brace with the physio team but is still spending most of the time flat in bed.

It's been a really traumatic couple of weeks - he choked and aspirated last Weds, so had 48 hours nil by mouth and is still on thickened fluids and pureed food. He now has a very bad chest and is awaiting an x ray which will hopefully be tomorrow but who knows? The last one requested was supposed to happen Friday afternoon but eventually took place on Tuesday morning after I spent 10 hours at the hospital chasing various people and ultimately threatened them with PALS and the national Press (and I am really not that person, but it's my dad and it got the job done).

He's getting next to no sleep due to general movement on the ward, and 3 of the 6 beds being occupied by dementia suffers who unfortunately are frequently noisy and disruptive.

He's highly unlikely to return to his previous level of health (which was tending to frail, doddery and depressive anyway) - 50:50 possibility over a 12-18 month period was the consultants view. He's had the brace on a few times and walked a few steps but his overall wellbeing is poor and there's really not much we can do to improve the situation.

Mum is nearly 80, she has a raft of health issues but is largely independent on a day to day basis. However, she's extremely anxious at the best of times and something of a hypochondriac with a vivid imagination. She's managing to stay at her house which is just around the corner from me but she's struggling emotionally - calling/messaging me a dozen times a day (aside from me calling or popping in morning or evening) and mostly panicking and in floods of tears.

I had last week off work on compassionate grounds but can't take any more time (term time only, although they are being a bit flexible). I'm on my own, working full time, with 14yo DD, a mortgage and absolutely no family support (no siblings and everyone else is too old/disinterested/far way).

There's just so much to do and organise and think about I don't know where to start. Suppose I just need a hand hold and if anyone's been in a similar position and has any tips that would be bloody marvellous!

Alonglongway Sat 09-Feb-19 10:12:51

Lots of sympathy - been through this with my parents

I would just mention the psychological side for your parents. My dad’s mobility declined over 2-3 years, finally culminating in broken hip. They were happy to get a few handrails around the house and a railing on the front steps but they HATED the perching stool and toilet frame. Mum put the stool out in the garden, My dad hated the zimmer with a vengeance and persisted in using sticks which didn’t give him enough support and finally led to his big fall. The point is they are visible symbols of growing levels of need - it’s very hard to see these things creeping up. We would be talking about a walk in shower, a walking frame with a seat in it and dad would be talking about getting better and back out doing his beloved garden.

We didn’t get a stair lift. Thought about it but we had carers in by that stage and they said they saw loads of them in houses they visited and very few being used. Another symbol, I suppose

MintyCedric Sat 09-Feb-19 12:02:07

I've found a local company who hire stair lifts for a very reasonable weekly rate and charge £300 for installation whichincludes removal if/when it's no longer needed, which I think is a good option initially and mum isn't totally opposed to the idea.

Prior to this dad wasn't even using a stick, although he could only walk short distances and was a bit shuffly. His issue over the last few years has been that his legs are prone to suddenly just giving way. He's had all kinds of tests and scans that have failed to find a reason for it.

This Is why I think the stair lift is the best option - the sheer unpredictability of the issue.

MereDintofPandiculation Sun 10-Feb-19 21:13:38

Thought about it but we had carers in by that stage and they said they saw loads of them in houses they visited and very few being used. That is a good point. My father has found it surprisingly difficult to use his, despite being used to using one when my mother was ill 30 years ago. Took a few days to learn to push a paddle in the direction of travel and not to let go until the chair stopped, and it's taken about 4 weeks to learn to lift a lever when he gets to the top, put his feet on the floor and swivel around so he can get off.

He has however got there, and is using it several times a day. He lives on his own, so hasn't got someone there to help him use it. And he's in his late 90s.

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