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Rough start to life in MC - mom now in hospital, geri psych
Posted: Friday, September 6, 2019 8:15 AM
Joined: 7/12/2019
Posts: 4

What an exhausting week. 

We (dad & I) decided on a MC facility for my mom and were feeling really confident about it. We brought her on Tuesday to walk around the facility, engage in an activity, and spend time with a few aides. She enjoyed herself. She even saw her room (without knowing it was going to be hers) and commented on how nice it is. It is a beautiful private room, hardwood floors, two big windows, a queen size bed and an attached bathroom with a huge walk-in shower.

We brought her back Wednesday to actually move her in. She was immediately swooped up by a few aides and walking around the courtyard, dancing and singing like she normally does, and eating lunch. We didn't see her for the whole hour and a half that we stayed, so while she was engaged and happy, we snuck out.

Yesterday morning, I called to check in and see how her first night went. The nurse on staff didn't have much info on how bedtime went, but said that currently, she was sitting in a circle, talking happy nonsense with a woman and getting ready to participate in an activity. I took this as a good sign.

Yesterday at 5pm, my dad misses a call or two on his phone and calls the number back. It's the MC unit. Mom has become increasingly frustrated, uncooperative, and combative. They need to sedate her, but can't without her PCP's consent. They get a hold of his office and they will not authorize it until they do a general wellness eval. 

Poor mom is transported by ambulance to the hospital. She fought every minute of getting into the ambulance, and it took them over two hours to calm her down enough to get her to settle. They get her to the hospital, do CT & blood work, everything comes back normal. She is in restraints from biting and kicking. 

At 3am, they transported her to a nearby hospital with a geri psych unit. Apparently she was pretty well sedated and began to calm down. Now we wait. I tried to call, but because of med pass nurses can't give an update until 11am (it's 9am here). 

All I can think about is my poor little mom (just 66 years old, weighing maybe 100 pounds) restrained, confused, scared, upset. And she's been alone through the whole episode. What really sucks is knowing that we can't just take her home and have her recuperate - she will still have to go back to MC afterwards. 

Just in the last month or two she began getting combative when she couldn't get her way. Two examples - she wanted to put her hand in the garbage disposal, I said no, so she slapped me in the face. Another time, she began to undress in the middle of a restaurant, I said "oh no!" and she grabbed me by the shoulders and threw me across the room. I had no idea someone so little could be so strong!

It's really hurting because my mom was the gentlest soul you ever met. Wouldn't hurt a fly. And now, I worry that people will see her as some kind of monster. I am so heartbroken and worry that we threw her into this frenzy by moving her into MC. I know we did the right thing, but right now I am really struggling.

Posted: Friday, September 6, 2019 9:01 AM
Joined: 10/9/2014
Posts: 899

Oh my, I'm sorry you've had such a rough start.  I hope they have checked your mom for infections too.  And, that they are able to adjust her medication. That will help reduce her mental distress.  I know that it can be so stressful.  Hang in there. All I can say is that daily medication for my LO's anxiety and depression made her so much content. Not drowsy either.  I hope your mother is able to feel better soon and settle into that lovely room you describe.
Posted: Friday, September 6, 2019 4:34 PM
Joined: 9/7/2017
Posts: 797

we had a very similar situation - transition to MC, ok for a little while and then.... into geri pscyh.  The transitions can be tough and this can be a good spot for her to get stable. 

Learn as much as you can about what she responds to - not just medications but also behavioral approaches.  Ask alot of questions and make sure this information (especially around behavioral approaches) is transmitted to the MC - don't expect that to happen without you. 

Posted: Saturday, September 7, 2019 12:43 PM
Joined: 4/20/2016
Posts: 49

I am so, so sorry you are going through this with your precious mom. Just remember that none of this is HER, it's the disease; it's just so difficult to witness. My MIL (also a tiny woman) exhibited exactly the same level of aggression, paranoia, and extremely psychotic behavior to the point she had to be sedated for the safety of her then rehabilitation facility, where she ultimately got her diagnosis of late stage mixed dementia four years ago. Her attending and diagnosing physician, who had 30+ years of dementia experience, finally took the last step of recommending the psychotropic drug Risperdal. It was a difficult decision, since it is a black label FDA drug; but my MIL would not have survived beyond two weeks if we had not agreed to a low dose, to see how she responded. It took about a month for its full effects, but her paranoia had prevented her from eating. She believed that her food was being poisoned and had stopped eating, as well as refusing to get dressed since all clothing labels were also "poisonous." (Even after cutting out all labels). After a few days on Risperdal, she began to eat enough for survival, and by the time we got her into her MC facility the next week, her 24/7 visual and auditory hallucinations had abated, as well as the extreme aggression, delusions and paranoia. She has continued on Risperdal for the entire 4 years in MC, with no side effects, having to increase the dosage incrementally as her disease progressed, when she started having noticeable psychotic breakthroughs. I HIGHLY recommend you discuss Risperdal with her doctors. Please take care, and let us know how she's doing (and how you and your family are as well!)