Last few weeks, my husband has been acting different. Called primary doctor and can't get physical until January of 2016. Sleeping more, eating less, not wanting to attend ADCC; I called his neurologist and we got in that day on a cancellation. Husband thought it was 2013 and didn't want to answer more questions. I requested another MRI and got the RX. The sky was impossibly blue. We had a simple dinner outside with our sons. Watched birds come to the bird feeder and bird bath. Bats, swooping, underneath the clouds.
I was able to talk my husband into taking a shower, getting into pajamas, and going to sleep by 10pm. I came downstairs to clean up the kitchen and write, which lasted less than an hour...as I heard him coming down the stairs, fully dressed for "the day" and wanting breakfast. I told him NO, and ordered him back upstairs after he refused a small snack. Twenty minutes later, I heard him again, groaning and stumbling...and it's at this point things went awry.
Close to midnight, I'd had 2 glasses of red wine and was in a nightgown, at my computer which had been giving me trouble, plus it was humid, so I was not exactly relaxed or in a good mood, just trying to wind down for the day. My husband was doubled over, in pain, and breathing very hard. Instant sobriety, as I helped him sit and assessed the situation. I put an icepack where the pain was, to distract him as I asked on a scale of zero to ten, how was the pain. His answer: way beyond ten.
With only older son home, I quickly told him I was calling 911 and would need his help. 911 operator asked too many questions, but 2 local cops arrived in less than 5 minutes, followed by 2 local EMTs and 2 other guys in uniforms. All of which freaked the fuck out of my husband, even though I had told the dispatcher he had Alzheimer's. While they gave him O2 and tried to take vital signs, I ran upstairs and got dressed.
They brought a stretcher into the parlour and I asked to ride in the ambulance, to keep him calm and answer questions. Our son made sandwiches, at my request, and followed in his car. Before we left, one of the unknown guys in uniform opened the door and handed me something to sign, in the dark, saying "The ride is free, but we're not." I was given no copy of what I signed, stunned, to say the least. I don't even remember them doing anything helpful.
So, shortness of breath, which is what SOMEONE wrote, nothing about acute upper abdominal pain...got us right to The Red Zone of the ER, a place I'm very familiar with. Quiet night, after O2, his pain subsided. I started filling out the million forms, which are entered into computers who react as if this man has never been there. Pardon me, but unfucking believable. Older son arrives with backpack and later, we both laugh that he breezed right through the lack of security and could have been planting a bomb.
Arrival of Screaming Man was not what we needed, as they tried numerous times to draw blood from my apparently dehydrated husband. I've been through this literally hundreds of times, first with my father and then with my mother, so to a certain extent I shut off my feelings. After pestering the nurse, I was told he had pancreatitis, needed X-rays and an ultrasound, which might take hours. Since it was almost 3am, we left after I told my husband to sleep.
As of today, he is still in the hospital as they are trying to bring down his elevated lipase prior to removal of his gall bladder, which apparently is full of gall stones, unusual for someone his age and complicated by numerous prior frontal surgeries, as well as the potentially detrimental effect of anesthesia on an Alzheimer's patient.
He has been moved three times, due to ripping out his IV and trying to leave the hospital. I've been visiting every day, but he sometimes distrusts me as well. I cannot help but feel as though this is the beginning of the end, and for what quality of life for him? I requested massage, Reiki, and pet therapy, but his memory is getting so much smaller.