Wednesday, February 25, 2009
My birthday falls on Jan. 6th. Shirley, John, Chris, Elbert and I headed over to the Crab Shack for a lunch celebration. It was a drizzly day and fog soon settled over the James River making everything a little out of focus and dreary. Elbert was very quiet during lunch and rode home in silence. He'd been out of his comfort zone so I didn't expect anything other than silence from him.
Late in the afternoon he started the 'Who owns this house' and 'I want to go home' deal. I put the thinking cap on (it's good thing I have a 'thinking' cap) and got a new idea. I put him in the car and I drove around our little town, up one block, down the other, past the post office, up Church Street and pulled back into our driveway. We got out, went into the house and he got ready and went to bed. Now, that's the strangest thing. What made this house different just because we have ridden around for a half dozen blocks? You got me!! But, I will use that tactic anytime I need to. It worked then. Sure hope it works every time.
Things went along pretty 'normal', well, normal for us, anyway, for the rest of January until the 30th. The night of the 29th Elbert was up all night wandering around. I just let him wander but I slept very little and after daybreak I crept out of bed to go into the kitchen to start my day. Elbert was sitting at the bar with layers and layers of clothes on, his hair disheveled and he was bent over, resting his head on the bar. I shook him and he did not respond. First thing, as always, I called Shirley next door. She told me to call the dr. and she'd be right over.
We redressed Elbert. He had put on his undershirt first (as he should have), then his sweater which he tucked into his pants, then a heavy red jacket. His plaid shirt was on top of all that. And, he had two pairs of socks on. The dr. said to head to ER and we got there at 11:30 and Elbert was admitted to the hospital. He had atrial fibrillation, his heart beat at 170. Since he did not understand directions someone had to be with him every minute. At night Marie or I would doze in a gosh-awful lounge chair. It reclined but if you lifted your body one millo-inch the thing folded back up. It was terrible. And, of course, I heard Elbert everytime he moved.
That first night, around 2:30 a.m. I finally just passed out and awoke around 4;30 to find him all the way down at the foot of the bed with one IV pulled out and he was working hard on the other one. Blood was everywhere, on the sheets, on Elbert's hospital gown and on him!! The nurse came in and got him and the bed cleaned up and tucked back in between the sheets. With the right medication we got Elbert home and he continued to improve. Enough so, that he went to a restaurant with family to celebrate his 77th birthday but more on that later.