Monday, August 29, 2011
Yesterday I visited Flip, as always, and when he fell asleep after I fed him lunch, I left. The traffic was very heavy both ways because it was Sunday. I bought more cat supplies and a few groceries as I intended to force myself to eat dinner although I have no appetite anymore, but the nursing home called to say that Flip had gotten outside. He was combative and they needed me to calm him down. I said I would come but it wouldn't be for a while because the cat needed his insulin injection at a precise time. I checked a few minutes later and they had called the police and an ambulance to take him to the hospital again.
After I ministered to Pekoe, I headed back to the East Bay in very heavy traffic. I think there was a Giants game and AT&T Park is near the entrance to the Bay Bridge. When I got to the hospital in Berkeley and parked in the garage (most of the doctors' spaces were empty,) I went to the ER, which had no record of him. Finally, they learned that Flip had been taken to a different hospital campus in Oakland and gave me directions. I found street parking but wandered all over the vast complex trying to find the ER. You would think it would be easy to find -- people are generally in a hurry when they go there. I saw a man steam cleaning a huge truck and yelled to him, but he couldn't hear me, so I kept walking.
Flip was on a gurney in a hallway talking to himself and didn't seem surprised to see me. They needed a urine sample so someone handed me a urinal, but I was unable to get him to produce anything. I told him that if he didn't, they would have to catheterize him, a procedure he doesn't take kindly to, understandably. After several hours, I told the attending doctor his saga including the fact that every time he is given Ativan, he becomes aggressive. The doctor wrote on his chart that he is "allergic" to Ativan. Finally. A voice of reason. Flip was given a shot of Haldol and Resperidol. One of the security guards offered me a sandwich as I mentioned that I had eaten only a croissant (almond) with coffee and a banana all day. The sandwich was turkey - starvation trumps vegetarianism - but Flip thought the sandwich was for him so we shared it. Then he conked out.
The doctor spent a couple hours on the phone, trying to find a hospital that would take him as they don't treat Alzheimer's patients. No one would. I thought of Mary in her hour of need, with no room at the inn. They decided to admit him anyway and have their social worker locate another facility in the morning, if such exists. The admitting doctor needed to speak with me, so I waited another hour. I asked the security guard if there was any coffee, and he found me a cup. It was still scalding after I added two creamers, so he got me four more, which was perfect. Another security guard escorted me to my car about a half-mile away, we high fived each other, and the coffee got me home safely at 1:45 am. There wasn't much traffic.
Today I will go to the hospital and also pick up Flip's belongings from the nursing home, the ones they haven't lost. We are no closer to finding him a place in San Francisco but I can't care for him at home any longer, which breaks my heart. All I can do is be a presence, speak sweetly to him and rub his back. It's like watching someone drown.
I just received calls from the attending doctor and social worker at the new hospital, who are going to put out a bulletin asking for placement in San Francisco. "This time I know our side will win." (Victor Laszlo, Casablanca.)