Thursday, October 11, 2012

Just A Little Bump

I picked Dad up from the Psych Ward today.  He had been there for 8 days.  I talked to the Doctor a couple of days ago to get an update and learned that Dad had fallen down which resulted in a bump on his head.  They did a CT scan and everything was fine, but I definitely wasn't expecting to see him look like this when I got there today:
Talk about a bump!  And what about that Black Eye?  Apparently they were doing rounds in the middle of the night, and found him on the floor of his room.  I guess he fell out of bed or was trying to walk around in the dark and knocked into something and then fell.  Anyway, it's nothing serious and at least he seems happy, but he looks pretty beat up.  The good news is that Dad seemed more focused and responsive today than he has in a long time. 

Okay, so let's talk Meds.  The Doctor told me he put Dad on Namenda which is an Alzheimer's drug... but a step up from Aricept.  It's used for the later stages of dementia.  He also put Dad on Depakote (Valproic Acid) to help control the moods or mood swings... it is sometimes used in ADHD kids to help control outbursts and aggression... so that seems to make sense for Dad.

Then he gave Dad a Haldol Dec... which is a shot of Haloperidol that Dad would get once a month.  This is an anti-psychotic.  There is a warning against using it on Dementia patients, but there was also a warning on Seroquel and he has been on that for about a year now.  On top of helping with hallucinations and uncontrollable motor and verbal tics, Haloperidol is also used to treat confusion and difficulty thinking and understanding that is caused by severe physical or mental illness.

And he still has Dad on Seroquel, but reduced the dosage to just 25 mg/day.
The problem now is getting the Meds.  Since this doctor is not associated with the VA, I'm not sure how to get the meds switched over into the VA system.  For the moment, we are just going to pay out of pocket and when Dad moves to Los Angeles, he will get a whole new set of Doctors and we can deal with it then.  BUT, the drug Namenda is $300!!!  The charge nurse at Valley View Gardens thinks that since Dad is in such an advanced stage of Alzheimer's, this drug is not necessary and since it's so expensive, we are going to drop it for the moment.  Depakote is $95, so that's not bad and it's the most important.

Let's hope these new drugs and adjustments help.