Tips For Caregiver's

People with Alzheimer's disease frequently become more disoriented after dark or when waking. Leaving a night-light on in the bedroom may be helpful.


Tuesday, May 1, 2007

PRO2 = Confusion

Of all the things that could possibly go wrong, the unexpected happened. Last night Muddear's oxygen machine stopped working. What could have been a crisis situation was not, because we had a back-up plan. (Always have a back-up plan, especially if you are a caregiver.) We simply contacted PRO2 Respiratory Services - our service provider for the oxygen machine, portable oxygen tanks, Nebulizer, and supplies associated with the above equipment - for a service call. We then disconnected Muddear's oxygen tubing from the oxygen machine and connected the same to one of the many portable oxygen tanks we store at home.

This simple changed caused Muddear a great deal of confusion and anxiety. Initially, at the time of the switch, Mike explained to Muddear what was happening. I could immediately see the look of utter confusion on her face. He proceeded to explain again, in more simple terms, that the oxygen machine was broken and that she would temporarily have to use the portable oxygen tank. The only thing necessary for Muddear to do, was use the bedside commode instead of the bathroom in the hall. Unfortunately, Muddear was still confused so we left her alone momentarily to marinate on the concept.

About 15 minutes later she called me.

"Nikki, I need you to come here please."
"What's going on Muddear?"
"I am 95 years old and I can't be using these new fangled machines."

Patiently, I explained again why she was using the portable oxygen machine. About 30 minutes later...

"Nikki, I need to talk to you."
"What do you need to talk about?"
"I am too old to have to use these new modern day machines."

Again, I patiently explained why she was using the portable oxygen machine. Thankfully, about 15 minutes later, the service technician arrived (talk about excellent service) to deliver a new oxygen machine. We disconnected the tubing from the portable tank, reconnected it to the actual machine, and smiled about a job well done. About 30 minutes later...

"Nikki, come here!"
"Yes, Muddear?"
"Why do I have to use this new thing? I am too old to learn to use something new."
"Muddear, you are no longer using the portable tank. You were using it because the oxygen machine you normally use was broken. But remember the man who just left? He replace the old one and you are no longer using the oxygen tank."
"Oh, okay."

Muddear seemed content with this explaination, and was just finishing up her dinner when...

"All of this is new to me. Why do I have to use this new machine?"
"Muddear, do you remember me explaining this to you a few minutes ago?"
"I don't think you understood my question."
"Yes, I did understand your question."
"Then I don't think I understood your answer."

I explained the oxygen situation again and reassured Muddear that she was no longer connected to the portable tank, but to the regular oxygen machine. After thinking it over again, Muddear declares:

"Well, that's that! I understand."

I really believe she did understand, because the topic was never brought up again and Muddear could move on to being confused about something else.

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