Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Mum home.... but little thanks to the doctors!!!

I was able to bring mum home on Monday night. Sorry for the lack of update but it's all been so busy...

I had a call on Monday morning from a nurse who said,
"The doctor has been round, and says that you can take your mum home today! He says that the confusion was probably all just the urinary tract infection, and that's clear now, so she can go."

I had to bite my tongue, and just about managed to speak without shouting and snapping someone's head off! "Confusion"?????

She put me through to the doctor's assistant.

I explained that mum had NOT been admitted with "confusion" but with
(1)a droop to one side of her face,
(2)fluent aphasia, babbling, using all the wrong words, slurring,
(3)weakness in her right arm,
(4)inability to recognise anyone known to her, plus the fact that
(5)it seems she had been unconscious for 24 hours....
the paramedics, everyone in A & E and the doctor who saw her in the assessment ward ALL thought it was a TIA ("mini stroke"). The assistant I spoke to now said that she had had no idea of any of this, and that no notes of any of it were there!!!!! So none of the paperwork from the previous departments had been passed on! All they had recorded for her was what symptoms she had presented when she came to *that* ward- 3 days after it had all happened. By this time, confusion was probably the only symptom left, and the only one written down anywhere.

I stressed that everyone had suggested a TIA and then I was told that it was ok, the brain scan had been clear. So I asked them to carry out an ultra-sound on her carotid arteries (on the NHS's own website under strokes and TIA info, they list 4 tests for the condition- brain scan, various blood tests, an ECG and ultra-sound of the heart and/or carotid arteries- they hadn't done this last one...). They said that they would speak to the doctor and, if he thought it necessary(!!!!!!!!!), they would do one. But I could still come to collect her that afternoon

Well, I arrived at 3.15 and she was just being taken for the ultrasound scan! And on her discharge papers it now lists all her symptoms and says "Very Probably TIA". At last! They have it on her records!!!

The ultrasound didn't show any further clots but she has a follow-up appointment in 6 -8 weeks.

The doctor that had wanted to say it was all a urinary tract infection was hanging around but wouldn't talk to me. Grrrrrrrrr............. and if I hadn't intervened she would have been sent home with no clot-prevention medicine. I've read that after a mini-stroke there is a huge risk of having another one in one month, and a full-blown stroke in one year, UNLESS preventative medicine is given. I can't believe how close she came to having the whole thing dismissed as a urine infection! A mini-stroke is meant to be a warning, yet it almost got written off.

I asked if they had actually tested a "sample" that day to see the the infection had gone- answer was no. Had they actually done a sample when she came in to hospital? No. So how did they determine that she ever had an infection? Well, they bear that in mind because confusion can be caused by that. Okkaayyyy.... so the doctor put the symptoms of a TIA down to a urine infection that he had no proof of, then released her when he assumed it had gone, though he had no proof of that either. "Yes, well she's been on anti-biotics for it." ?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I feel a letter coming on.

-Especially as I have recently realised something else, far worse!

-They did the brain scan on Friday but didn't check it till Monday (because the doctors don't do rounds on weekends!) -and yet they started her on daily blood-clot prevention injections on Friday. -Not because of a suspected TIA, but because they didn't have time to see that patients were kept mobile. All the patients on that ward got it, to prevent thrombosis while being in bed for days. But this means that if the TIA had been caused by a bleed on the brain, they would have made it worse, as the injections worked by 'thinning' the blood- she would have bled even more.

All this at a time when the hospital was working to normal capacity- no rush on for flu outbreaks or anything like that. My God!!!

Anyway.............. I've tried to shield her from these details of course!

I'm relieved she is back home. But she is so down. She says she is angry at herself for getting ill, and annoyed and upset with herself. She is so quiet. Not chatting as usual. I'm more worried about this than anything else, now. I know she is tired, of course, and maybe in a few more days she'll be feeling a little more "up". But it is very disturbing to see her just sitting and looking into space. Early days, I guess.


Julie said...

Helena you have all had a nightmare time. Those injections to thin the blood seem to be given routinely now to anyone in hospital these days as I had them when I was in and so did my mum this summer when she was in for a few days (coincidentally with a urine infection, they gave her a 3 day course of antibiotics and pronounced her cured!) Your Mum is lucky that she has you to fight for her but that fight should never be necessary in the first place. I hope things pick up for your Mum soon. Take care of yourself too. xx

Dragonstar said...

What a mess! I really don't know what to say about such disgraceful medical behaviour!
I think the depression your mother is suffering at the moment is a natural "hangover" from the TIA. She should start feeling better in a bit. I hope you do too. ((HUGS))

Angel and Kirby said...

WE are sorry you and your Mom got treated this way. At least one Dr listened. It still is not right!

Ginger Jasper said...

Thank god that one doctor listened.. Please please push them to do follow up tests and to give your mum medicine to prevent further strokes.. The treatment in our hospitals is just abysmal. They should niot be allowed to get away with it.. Please do write a letter.. Make them listen.. Glad your mum is home with you... Carol

Chrissy said...

I am just glad your Mum is ok and wish her a speedy recovery. It is so worrying when they are in ill health.
I fear for our national health system, there are some wonderfully caring people in it...but lack of funding inevitably takes it's toll and a lot of good people are overworked or leave!
Take care and hugs X

Feronia said...

Thank goodness your Mum is home, Helena. It sounds like you will be able to give her better care and attention than all of the doctors put together. You've hit the nail on the head with one of the big problems in the medical 'process' these days - little continuity in patient care. One doctor says one thing, another says something else, things don't get noted down... It's terrific that you are so on the ball with what's going on and can keep at them on your Mum's behalf. I hope things start to turn the corner for your Mum soon. Thinking of you all - take care x

Poopsie aka Blue said...

Having been there, I feel, understand & share your anger.
At least your Mums notes are now correct but that is little comfort to her.

Do hope she starts to regain her good spirits soon.
Hugs to you both.

Lynda (Granny K) said...

I'm glad your mum is back home and has you to look after her. These days hospitals are very scary places. I think somebody deserves a rocket for how your mum's case was handled. Her notes should have been with her when she was moved to the ward. They used to be attached to the bed on a clip board, not stuck in a filing tray somewhere gathering dust.
Bring Back Matron!

sandy said...

I could write mountains here but choose to go with hope in my heart for granny and a lovely holiday sandy

Roz said...

What a terrible time you and your mum have had!!!
I hope that she's better soon.

Love Roz x

freebird said...

Wow, Helena! You two are going through a lot. Glad you were able to sort out most of it. I've never heard of confusion with a urinary infection and all the other symptoms sure didn't match. Things aren't really better here in the U.S. as when my daughter was pregnant and her whole left side went numb she got to sit in the emergency room for 5 hours without being seen by anyone and then because she was pregnant, they sent her to the obstetrics where they decided nothing was wrong with her except a migraine. I've learned since that migraines can be caused by little strokes and her symptoms sound like it but you can't tell the doctors much - they know it all. At least you got through somewhat. Hope you mum's depression clears up soon.

Shirley said...

Is she taking vitamins? Is it possible to get her a new doctor? She is so lucky to have you. I am a retired Social Worker. If you want to talk let me know and I will call you. It is a big worry when your parent is ill. I remember when my mom was sick and I felt so alone sometimes, making decisions I hope she thought were right. I am definitley sending wishes of health her way and comfort and strength your way.

Blog Princess G said...

Thank goodness your mum has you to advocate for her and keep on top of all this. This is a terrible story, but is one of so many I have heard. I'm sure she'll pick up in a short while, this must have all been so frightening for her, but with some time it'll ease up.

I hope you write that letter! The squeaky wheel gets the grease. :)