Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cuddling the Porcupine

I went to the hospice this morning at 7:30am to take some dhall, spinach and roti for Dad. I spoke to the nurses - Janine and Margaret - and they said that he had some bleeding and they were not sure if that happened before. I said that it was the reason he ended up in the Riverview Health Centre in the first place – because the bleeding was getting more frequent and more plentiful. While I was talking to them, he came to the nurse’s station to ask them to look at the dressing because it was bleeding. The two of us went back to his room and he complained that his feet were sore. I took off his compression socks and the whole bottom of his feet were red and his heel was cracked. Janine came in and was about to put some cream that Bena brought but one of the ingredients was camphor and the cream was a warming cream so it was probably not the best thing to use when his foot already looked red and irritated. She used some of the Glaxal cream which is generally used as a carrier cream for other ointments and he left off the stockings but his feet look quite swollen.

Janine and Margaret changed the dressing on the tumour and although there was blood, it was not as much as the almost one cup that I had to deal with when he had a big bleed about 3 weeks ago at home. They are now using two kinds of powder to stop the bleeding – aminocaproic acid and sucralfate powder. Then they put some Mepilex bandages which have a silicone tape so as not to irritate his skin. They left part of the face open which appears to be a good thing for drying up the area although it may not be easy for some people to look at. I saw a patch behind his ear which they have started giving him. That’s a scopolamine patch which helps to dry up some of the mucus in his throat. They said that so far, he is not exhibiting any more confusion that what he already has. Another side effect is that it makes his mouth dry and will make him want to drink water which is not a bad thing (except for the dry mouth).  The staff there really know their stuff.  They will usually notice things that was previously left to me to observe and then try to figure out what I was seeing and then ask the nurse when she came for her daily visits whether I was right, then she would have to contact the doctor who would then give her instructions on what to do or write a prescription for some meds until the next problem arose.  The hospice nurses and other staff being attentive means that I am not always left figuring out things on my own.  That has been a huge weight off my mind.  

By the time all that was done, it was almost 9:15am. Then he started in about how he wants to go home. I kept saying that he needs medical help that he cannot get at home but he doesn’t want to hear that. He told me about another resident that went home two days ago but the man was very sick when he got to the hospice and with care and support, he was well enough to leave. The gentleman told me on Saturday that he got sick and had to sell his 4 bedroom/4 bathroom home in Headingly and had to give up his driver’s licence and the only way he would be allowed to leave is if he had assisted living accommodations where he would have at least two meals a day. Dad thinks that because the other resident left, he should be able to as well. He then told me that another resident went out with her family for 6 hours and he doesn’t see why he can’t do the same. I explained that the problem is that he is hooked up to oxygen, his tumour bleeds at anytime and for no reason, he is having difficulty swallowing, he can hardly see from the one eye he has nor can he hear out of his left ear (right ear completely deaf), his feet are swollen and painful to walk and he uses a walker which makes it difficult to be mobile for any length of time.

He wanted to know why no one came to visit him because I promised him that we would come to visit and so for no one has visited. I reminded him that since he went to the Riverview and then the hospice on Feb 1, one or more family members have visited him every day except for yesterday. There are only a few of us here but we manage to visit and take food each time we go. He said that I told him that I would take him home for a visit but I also explained that I cannot do that without jeopardizing his safety and health. He tried a new tactic of wanting to see his eye doctor thinking that if he can do that, he can go home. Going to the eye doctor will be another challenge. He will have to be transported to and from the hospice by a medical vehicle because I cannot take the chance to take him in the jeep and have his start bleeding or worse. Talk about being in a troublesome spot. It feels like whatever decision I make, it will have some negative fallout. I left there feeling like logically I know the best place for him to be is at the hospice but at the same time, feeling bad that he is there and not in his own home.

I came to work and got a call from Sharm who is presenting at the Manitoba Council for Exceptional Children Conference this afternoon on the topic of trauma. Here is the link: . Her workshop is titled: Cuddling the Porcupine: The Different Faces of Trauma (page 3 of the brochure). There must be a message in there somewhere. It’s for us to figure it out. I was supposed to conduct a workshop today titled “A Focused Approach Faculty Development” but it was cancelled due to low registration. My target audience was the Deans and Chairs of the college but apparently most of them are in San Diego at another conference. I mean seriously, why would anyone want to pick a conference in warm and sunny San Diego and miss out on my workshop in -25C (with a windchill this morning of -35C) Winnipeg? I know if I had the choice, I would be in San Diego too. Maybe next year, I can suggest that I offer the workshop in San Deigo or Florida or the Caribbean. I wonder if the college would go for that? It’s worth a try.  This evening is another long day at work.  I have to facilitate a focus group for some graduates of the Library Information Technology program. That should be interesting.  It will give me some useful information for renewing the program (I am a consultant in Quality Assurance in Curriculum at the college).

BTW, you are welcome to post a comment on the blog – about anything or something specific that you feel like saying.

Take care all and have a great weekend.  
I hope my grandbabies are well enough this weekend for me to spend some time with them.  Look through some of the blog posts from May 2009 and you'll see how cute all four of them are!  I'll have to update my pictures soon.

1 comment:

  1. In response to "Cuddling the Porcupine"
    It is to symbolize the kids that come into the clinic. They are prickly, not always the most liked, and really had to get close to. Once they are connected, they are caring, loving and wonderful.
    It's what we strive for; to cuddle the uncuddle-able.
    ps the presentation wen awesome, more that 100 people turnout. Pretty good for 1st time presentation.
    Your grandbabies are much better and are looking forward to a visit!


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