Is This Fair?

Fred, my husband, burst into tears when he saw me yesterday. At the time, he was in his bathroom at Timberwood Court Memory Care Community with a nurse and an aide. They were trying to reattach his catheter bag so it would be more comfortable. It wasn’t working. In fact, in the past 24 hours, both the tube and the bag had broken, spilling urine all over and freaking everyone out. Meanwhile, the urologist they contacted has decided that because Fred has Alzheimer’s, there’s no point in examining or treating his enlarged prostate. He’s supposed to suffer for what could be years because his mind is muddled?

The beginning of 2011 has not been much fun for Fred–or for me. He went to the hospital on New Year’s Eve with intense pain. No one knew what was going on because he can’t communicate. After a belly CT, the doctor announced that Fred’s bladder was greatly enlarged with unreleased urine; it was blocked by an enlarged prostate. A catheter was installed and more than a liter of urine was drained out. Fred seemed much more comfortable, but then he started shaking like crazy and had a seizure right there in the ER at Albany General. Now the doctor sent him out for a head CT and ordered that he stay in the  hospital overnight. Fred may have had other seizures in recent times; we’re not sure about those, but this one happened in front of the doctor, so we’re sure about this one.

He went into a long deep sleep after the seizure. Meanwhile the hospital doctor determined that because he has Alzheimer’s she would not order any tests to explore the seizures. She would give him drugs and send him back to Timberwood the next day.

Once Fred woke up, he was fighting the catheter, fighting everything everyone tried to do for him, and shaking so badly he could not feed himself. He was speaking nonsense words, his speech much worse than it had been a week ago, but they discharged him, and now the urologist is declining to see him. Luckily the nurse at Timberwood is a fighter and she will get a doctor somewhere to take him in. Meanwhile Fred is in a constant state of panic and pain.

Prostate problems are common in mature men. Normally, they see a doctor, who examines them and treats them, either with surgery or medication. But not Fred; he has Alzheimer’s. As for the seizures, the doctor at the hospital said they would normally order an EEG and MRI to find out what’s going on, but not Fred; he has Alzheimer’s.

Is this fair? Send prayers.

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