May 18, 2021 and following
Posted here March 8, 2022
I (Charlie) helped Wendi get to and from the bathroom early that morning. She was very weak and shaky and had much difficulty using the forearm crutches, also known as “Canadian canes.” She was almost to her chair when her legs became so weak that she could no longer stand; she slowly crumpled to the floor. Try as I might, I couldn’t help her into a sitting position. Twice she rolled onto her side and then had trouble breathing. Finally she was able to sit long enough for me to call 9-1-1. It was now 6:44 am.
Fire Department paramedics arrived at 6:53. They were finally able to get her onto the bed. They called an ambulance which arrived at 7:06. They put her onto a gurney and loaded her into the ambulance, which left at 7:13 for the Emergency Room.
It was past 5 pm when they admitted her and placed her in a hospital room. On the 20th, they diagnosed her with a double infection: E. coli and C. diff—no idea how she got either one.
On May 21, Wendi had an allergic reaction and became unresponsive for a bit. They did a CT scan to rule out possible stroke. She had eaten beef tips served with brown gravy at the hospital.
On May 23, she had another allergic reaction, this time apparently to a breakfast sandwich; they had her on oxygen.
They put her in isolation after that due to the infections (why not sooner? who knows). She was released and came home on May 26.
During her recovery, we had help from Mercyhealth at Home: visits from nurses, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, and a social worker who helped us with papers for power of attorney for health care and a living will. This lasted from May 28 until July 19.
The Rock County Council on Aging awarded us the Alzheimer’s Family Caregiver Support Program (AFCSP) grant; Wendi actually has Huntington’s Disease, not Alzheimer’s, but they are both degenerative neurological disorders, and the end result is much the same, so she qualifies. The grant paid for a new lift recliner which was delivered to the house on October 20, as well as other medical supplies not covered by insurance, craft supplies and a tablet to keep her busy, and respite care.