Thursday, November 02, 2023

And What a Week It Has Been...

 As I mentioned in the last blog, Pam has exhibited some new behaviors.  I became worried about her refusal to eat or take meds and decided to take her to Urgent Care.  As it turned out that was a wise decision.  Urgent Care eventually referred her to the ER and after numerous tests, she was admitted with an infection.  The stay in the hospital was short and she was back home and on antibiotics.   Sounds good, right?  Yea, not so much.

The doctor that wrote the discharge orders included a provision involving the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA).  They evaluate the home situation and offer education and professional care as needed.  The very next day, they were present to coordinate services which insure that you can be safe in your own home despite your medical situation.  For Pam that has involved physical and occupational therapy. 

Wednesday was going to be a busy day for us to begin with.  A crew was due out in the morning to remove the old countertop in the kitchen of our condo, in preparation for a new granite counter.  In the early afternoon, another visit to establish the precise measurements for the new one.  And then there is a the phone call from  the VNA Occupational Therapist arranging her visit with Pam.  With banging and sawing noises coming from the kitchen, Pam and the OT specialist had a long conversation about her condition.  Then Pam lead the tour of our bathrooms and bedroom.  With the tour done they were back sitting in the living room finalizing the visit, when WHAM!

Out of the blue, Pam began to have a Grand Mal seizure.   In the first few seconds, I thought she was fooling around.  Then comes the combination of confusion and the adrenaline rush!   What is happening?  I have never seen this before!  What do I do!  Help!   It is all going through your brain in milliseconds.   Thank goodness the OT specialist was here.  She jumped right up and held Pam in place while I called 911.  After 30 seconds or so the shaking stops and it is replaced by labored breathing with a lot of throaty noises and drooling.  My confusion is quickly replaced by my concern for Pam.  Breath, Pam.  Don't stop.  Breath.  While these thoughts are running through my head, the 911 Operator is asking questions and giving  me directions.  Slowly her breathing stabilized.  Where are those Paramedics?  Why is it taking them so long?  The reality is that they are there quickly.  But my mind is stretching seconds into minutes.  It feels like an eternity.

Once the professionals arrive, I moved out of their way and began calling our daughters.  They answer the phone, but I can not speak.  I am crying and trying to talk  With several pauses to try and collect myself, I talk to each of them.  And while I am on the phone, the in-home caregiver arrives for her shift.  While all of these emotions are still running rampant through my head, she is focused and engaged.  We grab our Go Bag and head to the bedroom to refill it.  The ambulance leaves and some level of calm starts to settle in.  I am in good hands with the caregiver and the VNA specialist.  Their conversation helps me to collect myself.  I am so grateful for their presence.

So we are back in the ER for the second time in less than 48 hours.  The brand new Emergency wing at Elliot Hospital is impressive.  Thirty five treatment rooms, and a couple of triage rooms.  Our three daughters are all there Again!  But poor Pam hates the hospital.  And there is more poking and prodding.  Only two people are allowed in with the patient, so we take shifts.  Fortunately, this is a short visit.  It only took about five hours to do all the tests, consult all the specialties, and decide that Pam can go home and this was just a reaction to one of her medications.  A med that she has taken for years.  This time it caused a seizure.  Heaven knows why. 

With Pam safely tucked into bed, I begin to unwind.  I send a note to her Primary and her Neurologist.  I review the events of the day in my head.  I am VERY thank for for the presence of the VNA OT specialist.  I could not have handled this situation alone.  Trying to keep Pam safe on the recliner and talk to 911 is tough.  I am also very thankful to the professionals of the Litchfield Fire Department.  I think the ambulance may have been from Hudson.  If so, I give them Thanks also.  They were all very professional and efficient and they understand how to handle the freaked out family.  I can not forget the caregiver from Home Instead.  She arrived in the middle of it and was very helpful in getting me prepared and calmed.

And this journey continues.  You can read and study the details of the dementia.  But you can never really be prepared.  No one can predict what will happen next.  And even if you could, your  emotions change everything


  1. A shocking event like that is an emotional roller coaster. I'm glad you had medical professionals there to support the two of you.

  2. So thankful you had help right there with you during this harrowing incident. Much love to you, Pam and the girls. Glad you have your family close by.

  3. Yes the Ambulance was from Hudson. I personally (and Ali too) thanked them as our paths crossed as they were packing up. We will get through all of this together!

  4. Oh my goodness I’m so sorry Bruce. If was a pleasure to work with Pam while I got the opportunity to please tell her I said hello and I’m glad she’s doing a little better, please let me know if I can do anything, I’m also here if you need to talk. ~Meagan Q (old caregiver from home instead)