Here’s the situation: my mother-in-law is 85 years old. She has heart problems (quad. bypass four years ago), high blood pressure, arthritis, Alzheimer’s. 18 months ago she had a small heart attack (diagnosed as atrial fibrulation) but since then has seemed steady on medications.
Friday at 2 a.m. she got up to go to the bathroom and fell, hitting her head. She wasn’t knocked out, and there was no bleeding, but it resulted in a sizable lump. Fortunately she is staying with us and we heard her fall. We called an ambulance to take her to the emergency room straight off. (Necessary because she’s on warfarin, and thus at risk for internal bleeding.)
At the ER she got a cat scan, plus xrays of her hip and knees, since she complained they were hurting. Also various blood tests. At eight a.m. they sent her home, saying there was nothing (new) wrong. The doc gave her a vicodan, which left her loopy, and a script for more if necessary but suggested if she could get by on Tylenol that would be better. Actually, she hasn’t complained of any pain at all, so no pain pills since the first.
But it’s been a couple of days now, and she’s still so dizzy we dare not let her get up without one of us helping her, and she only walks with one of us standing right behind her and holding onto her walker so she is ‘surrounded’ by the walker, our arms, and our body. If she turns her head too fast, if she tries to turn a corner, if she even looks at the ground too long she starts to fall in that direction and we have to hold her up until she gets her balance back.
Also, I’m pretty sure she is complaining of double vision, though it’s hard to be sure, given her AD fogginess.
Further complication: the medical association her internist is in ended their association with her Medicare HMO as of December. We found a new internest for her in December, but the earliest we were able to schecule her for a checkup was Feb 7.
IOW, she is scheduled to meet ‘her’ doctor for the first time in three weeks.
It seems to me that that is too long to just wait, if something that can be getting worse is going on.
OTOH, her daughter thinks we might as well wait. She says the problem is no doubt a concussion, and since she’s already had the cat scan, there’s really nothing else to do but wait for her body to heal from it. She says the doctor will just tell us to keep a close eye on her and wait – and what’s the point of putting her through the stress of getting to the doctor’s office just to be told to do what we are already doing?
Which sort of makes sense. And, in truth, I have no idea how we’d get her to her doctor’s office other than calling an ambulance again. There are 8 steps from the ground to our front door, and zero chance she could make it down them. It took my husband and me and the help of a neighbor to get her UP those stairs Friday morning after the ER visit. (She’s always been better at going up than down for some reason.)
The other problem is what to do about her if we don’t go to the doctor, or even if we do, and he just says ‘wait.’ She cannot possibly go back to stay alone in her apartment. Her daughter says there’s no way she can take her at her house. (Reasonable: she already got her own three children and a toddler grandchild living with her.) We have the room – no children – but besides the stairs to the front door, all the bedrooms are on the second floor, so she’s sleeping on a rollaway bed in the living/dining room, obviously not ideal.
A bigger problem is that she needs constant supervision, at least right now. Tomorrow my husband is off for the holiday and can watch her, but what about the day after that?
I’m thinking a nursing home is most likely the proper solution – but both hubby and his sister are appalled at the idea. She’d made them promise to never ‘put her in a home’ years ago, when her medical problems started mounting.
Sorry, I’m rambling. I only meant to ask about the short term. Do you think the dizziness & double vision mean we should get her back to a doctor ASAP? Could we safely wait until her Feb 7 appointment? Or…do we take a middle road and see what another day or two brings?
Thanks for any advice.