Sunday, April 20, 2008

We are family

My grandmother's in the hospital following a nosebleed heavy enough to require ER treatment. No leukemia or anything like that. The doctor had her on Coumadin since he feared a clotting stroke--for no particular reason. Grandma's own mother died from a bleeding stroke, ironically, not the clotting kind. You get someone's blood thin enough and they're going to have the other kind of stroke.

I talked to my grandfather on the phone this afternoon. She had very heavy nosebleeds several years ago, so I asked if her Coumadin dose had been lowered then. I thought surely it had since several of us warned her then. He said no, and he had nagged her about it, but the doctor had put such fear into her about remotely possible strokes that she wouldn't argue for a change, and he didn't want to make the change. That's clear malpractice. Her blood levels of Coumadin were 3 times what they should have been. Not only that, but she's had vascular/microbleeds in the skin in her legs recently as well.

Don't we have better science than to treat patients according to a doctor's phobias? She's had to have a couple of transfusions and will be in the hospital for several days. Family members are pitching in to do more caregiving for my grandfather, who's extraordinarily physically disabled, and my uncle, who's cognitively disabled, as well as spend time with my grandmother.

It may be a busy for a while. My grandfather doesn't like being alone because of his very severe breathing problems, so spending some time there will help, and I can do things like make the coffee, clear the table, help get things close to hand, other basic tasks. My husband can add to his grocery list and cooking as needed, and we can transport my uncle to work as needed (1 1/2 hours round trip). Splitting duties among family members is going to be important since all of us (hubby excluded, but not related of course) have chronic health problems.

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