Monday, November 28, 2011


So, my newly insomniac Dad was pacing the hallways at Valley View Gardens the other night.  
The staff handled it the wrong way as usual.  I got a phone call at 3:50 AM (which I did not answer).

The voicemail I listened to the next morning stated that Dad was aggressive and running up and down the hallways.  The staff member on hand was not authorized to administer his anti-anxiety medicine, so they wanted me to come pick him up and take him to the hospital.  Are you kidding me?

I braced myself with a few sips of coffee at 8:30 AM and called them back just to be told that he had calmed down and was fine at the moment. 

Fast forward to 3 hours later when the Director of Nursing called me to discuss the incident.  She basically started the conversation by asking me to take him to the doctor the next day to increase his medication.  As usual I am frustrated by this request because I have NEVER taken my Dad to the doctor this many times in a 3 month period just to be told that there is no medication that will fix his behavioral problems... BUT Valley View insists that I take him after every incident.  It is a waste of time.  I told her no.

Well, that wasn't the response that she wanted.  So instead she began telling me how he was "uncontrollable", "aggressive", "a danger to the other residents" and that they actually called the Police in the middle of the night because they couldn't handle him.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  The staff called the police on an Alzheimer's patient who was probably feeling cornered and scared because they were chasing after him and yelling his name over and over again!!!!!!!???????  What is wrong with you? 

I kind of snapped at this point in the conversation and was not very pleasant for the rest of the phone call.  Word to the wise:  Don't piss off a 6 1/2 month pregnant woman.  My protective instincts kicked in and I felt like a Mother Hen to Dad.  I know he is a handful... he doesn't sleep the entire night through, he masturbates in front of other residents, and he pees wherever he wants to, BUT despite all this crazy behavior, he has enough instincts left to feel frightened and in turn become aggressive when someone isn't approaching him in the proper way.  Their job is to help my Dad feel safe and happy in a friendly environment.  Well, it's safe to say they've failed because it's pretty obvious after numerous incidents and 4 months of living there, he still does not like or trust any of the staff at Valley View Gardens. 

I woke up this morning with no more fight left in me.  I was basically just tired of the whole thing.  So, when I walked in to the community director's office, he was probably surprised to see me very calm and unemotional.  (He was warned by the staff that I was upset and angry the day before over the phone.)  I was, however, very clear about what they did wrong and why I was upset.  For the most part, he agreed that things weren't handled properly and I actually got my first apology from Valley View Gardens.  He was sorry for what they put me through... I thought, who cares about me.  What about what you put my Dad through in the middle of the night?

The conversation that followed was basically the same conversation we had the month before and the month before that.  The staff isn't properly trained to deal with Dad's behaviors and they have not followed the tips that we have told them will work:  approach him with a smile, greet him by name, ask for his "help" in doing something, become his friend, make eye contact, DO NOT tell him what to do, DO NOT tell him no... the list goes on.   The nurses always want to turn to medication to solve every problem, when I think maybe they should start trying out different tactics and diversions that could possibly help his erratic behaviors.  They need to realize that most of these situations escalate into incidents because their tactics make him more upset.  And any idiot can figure out that you shouldn't chase an upset Alzheimer's patient up and down hallways in the middle of the night. 

Anyway, I'm sure my meeting won't change anything.  And, when I visited Dad afterward, he was happy as a clam devouring his lunch.  He was just so sweet.  Why does Jekyll have to turn into Hyde?