Cantankerous or Confused
There are times when a person is never sure whether another person is confused or just stubborn and cantankerous. While I was still working as a nurse, I came in contact with an elderly man was frequently admitted for CHF (Chronic heart failure) When at home, he would refuse to follow the doctor’s orders limiting the amount of fluids he would consume. This would cause fluid to build in his circulatory system and he would return with shortness of breath and be readmitted.
After a period of drying out in an intensive care unit, he would be transferred to a medical/surgical unit. Even there, he wouldn’t comply with the fluid restrictions the doctor placed on him. One admission, because had easy access to water, he was on the verge of being transferred back to the ICU. The nurses moved him into a private room and had maintenance shut off the water to the sink, thinking he could only get the fluids that the nurses gave him. Not so, a nurse caught him getting water from the bedpan sprayer and when that was cut off, he dipped water from the commode with his drinking cup.
We finally made him use a potty chair and completely shut off all water to his room. After many changes in his treatment and in spite of himself, he improved to the point we could send him home again.
My grandmother Rebecca Miner could almost fall into the same category. One admission, she became confused and was constantly pulling out her I.V.s, so we applied wrist restraints to maintain the integrity of the I.V.s. A nurse walked in and found her doggedly trying to saw through the restraints with a butter knife she’d purloined from her supper tray.