Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A few pills too many...

My Grandpa has Alzheimer's. There is little he remembers. Sometimes he remembers his name and where he lives, but not often. My Grandma hired a full time caregiver to look after him and do whatever she needs around the house. Having someone live in their house all day/every day has to be an adjustment. Like any woman, my grandma has her own way of doing things. Living with someone both she and Grandpa only know as a stranger has to be hard. The caregiver is a thirty-year-old male who is new to the country. He must be going through quite an adjustment too.

A few days ago, Grandma gave grandpa his usual, prostate, memory, and heart medication. She has gone through this ritual for years. For some reason, Grandpa's caregiver took it upon himself to give Grandpa a repeat dose of all three of his medications. Grandma realized the mistake half an hour after Grandpa swallowed the second dose. Not wanting to over-panic, she called my Mom who was at work. Since my grandparents live in the country, Grandma quickly realized that it would be fastest to drive Grandpa to the hospital. By now he was starting to complain of feeling dizzy. No wonder...poor guy.

At the hospital, Grandpa was closely watched and monitored for six hours. He was sent home with strict instructions not to take any more medication and to ensure he takes the right dose. Grandma was very worried. She was also upset at Grandpa's caregiver who has never been asked to give Grandpa his pills. I understand her feelings. There is a big difference between taking it upon oneself to clean a house or going ahead and giving someone you are caring for pills that affect his or her life. Had the mistake been realized later, the consequences could have been horrible. Should Grandma and the caregiver establish a more clear routine of how is responsible for giving Grandpa his pills? Is the mistake too significant for Grandma to forgive giving her grounds to fire him? It's a tough call. Everyone makes mistakes. Some are bigger than others and hard to forget. Grandpa forgets the whole ordeal, which is probably for the best. Ignorance must really be bliss sometimes.


1 comment: