Hal Abbott halabbott at worldnet.att.net
Sun Jul 5 13:43:48 EST 1998

My wife & I have had her
83 year old mother living with us for the last three years, and it has
been wonderful for all until this past week. Severe abdominal pains
resulted in surgery to remove part of her blocked intestine. All was
still well until last night, more than 24 hours after the surgery, and
we had left the hospital. At about 9:30 P.M. the hospital called with a
message that she had gone crazy, and was trying to get out of the bed.

We returned immediately to discover a different person. She wanted to
come home in spite of typical post-surgery array of pumps and tubes. She

imagined she saw ants crawling on the hospital walls and in her bed;
later it was a bear. This morning it is imaginary worms everywhere. When

we refused to bring her home before the doctors released her, the attack

began on us, as well as herself. The entire night was spent physically
restraining her from removing all the tubes--she was successful with
some. The effects on us were emotional devastation.

The nurses universally labeled her a "Sundowner," casually saying it is
common for older patients to react this way to medications used in and
following surgery.

Today the hospital brought in a "sitter," so that we might get some
sleep, and we plan to be with her again tonight.

Does anyone know the probable outcome of her behavior?  What is the most

successful care plan for the caregiver? Is anything written about

Hal & Betty Abbott

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