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Monday, July 8, 2013

8 - She is NOT going back there!

Today is day 8 (and my 8th post) in the 30 day blog challenge I joined.  For anyone "just tuning in" this post may leave you wondering what the heck I am rambling about.  I promise it won't take too long to go back and review my first 7 posts so you can catch up with my story.  For anybody thinking there is nothing here that could affect you, I hope you're wrong.  I hope you are wrong because, not because I wish bad things for you, but because that would mean that you are truly alone in life.   You see, although my story revolves around senior care giving and health care, I believe there are lessons within my story that could be applied to ANYBODY that might EVER know someone (or be someone!) who is incapacitated, no matter their age.

Well, it seems there is nothing like jumping in to the fire to make the frying pan look appealing!

After the horrible experience at the SNF, I prepared myself for battle!  This has been a terrible ordeal and She is NOT going back there!

Within a day or two of them draining and cleaning the pockets of staph from moms back and knee she was doing better than we had seen her in weeks.  She was still in a lot of pain and not very coherent, but her systems were working a little better.  They were keeping her very medicated and she was sleeping most of the time.  We were all hopeful, but not very optimistic about a good prognosis.  I needed to laugh, laughter is the best medicine, right?  But nothing was funny!

It was down right scary!  And sad. And maddening.  And just about every other negative emotion a person can experience.  As I curled up in the very uncomfortable recliner provided in moms room and drifted off to sleep (It was my turn for the night shift).  I vaguely remember thinking or maybe praying about that laugh I so desperately needed.  The next thing I knew I had one of those "someone is staring at me feelings".  Which is a feeling I don't like at all!

I woke with a start to see mom trying to lean up in bed and staring at me HARD.  "Mom"?  No answer.  "MOM"?  Nothing.  "MOM"??!!  Did she just shake her head?   "MOM"??!!  Did she just say "huh"?  I finally freed myself from the blanket I had managed to become completely entangled in during the 45 minutes or so sleep I managed to get and struggled to disengage myself from the recliner that didn't seem to want to unrecline (I know that's not even a word, but it should be!).  As I stood, mom shrank into the bed and seemed very frightened, she even let out a little shriek.  What now!  How much more can she (or we) take?  How much worse can it get?!  I rang for the nurse.  Finally, "Mom, it's me" and she focused and began to relax.  When the nurse came in mom told her  that she "knew it couldn't be right".  What IS she talking about I wondered, so I calmly asked her.

"The spider", she told me, like I should perfectly well know what she talking about.  The nurse and I are looking at each other and wondering if we should call for the doctor because clearly she had gone absolutely mad or go for the only chair in the room like we were children playing a fierce
game of musical chairs and looking for a championship win.  After all, she might NOT be crazy and there could be a giant spider in the room.

The nurse was the next to speak, in a slightly shaky (there's no problem here) kind of voice,  "Where's the spider, hon"?  I couldn't help but notice that she had one eye on me and one eye on that chair.  I probably couldn't help but notice it because I also had one eye on the chair and one eye on her as I evaluated distances to the chair and other clear advantages she had.  Damn!  I'm gonna have to rely on wit cause she's clearly going to make it to that chair before I can.......not only is she closer to the chair, she's also younger; quicker; and probably didn't break her ankle in two places last year!

And then it was her turn to get THE LOOK.  You know, the MOM look!  That "am I really going to have to explain this" look.  "They don't put live people in the spider cage", mom explained like it was everyday conversation.  Then she looked at me and sternly said, "you're lucky I couldn't get up".  HUH?  I still didn't get it.  She further explained that I was the spider and she was looking at me so hard when I woke up because she was trying to figure out how she was going to be able to get herself out of bed to squish me!  And then I laughed and laughed and laughed.  Even mom giggled sheepishly.  She was now fully awake and realized what was going on.  The nurse did NOT giggle.  She excused herself and told us to "call if we needed anything else".  I laughed some more!  When I think of it as I write this I laugh again.

Laughter truly is the best medicine.  I will remember that night forever and cherish the memory.  It could be a long while before I would laugh like that again.

The whole experience at the hospital was much better.  It seemed now that mom was able to be more vocal, they were a little more attentive.  We still had our ups and down with some of the doctors, but all in all things were looking up.  Mom was eating a little (still with a lot of assistance) and starting to be interested in things that had been important to her before.  She was even able to make it (with a walker) from her room down the hall and back.  I was feeling, once again, like maybe things were going to be okay.

After just a few days I was again approached by the "discharge planner".  It was time to decide where mom would be released to.........home still wasn't an option because of the IV antibiotics.  When I asked what options we did have I was handed the same list of facilities that I had already been through.  No, NO, NO
She is NOT going back there!
Could I please wake up from this nightmare already?!
There has to be another option!  She needs more care than they can give. She needs more personal time than they can possibly offer given the time allotted for each patient in a day.

I started counting assets.  Was there any way that we might be able to come up with the funds to pay for the very expensive IV medications she needed?  BUT, insurance guidelines would then preclude us from having any home health so that would also have to be self pay.
It didn't take long to realize we would probably all be destitute if we tried it and that wasn't going to help anybody.  What are we going to do?  What other avenues haven't we considered?  I just didn't know what to do!  I really didn't want mom to go any place that didn't have at least ONE doctor on staff at ALL TIMES.  Hours a day doing research on the Internet and calling every place I could think of that might have a direction to follow turned up no good alternatives.  We've got to be missing something.

"Why don't you see if she can go to Acute Rehab here"? asked her nurse, who had slipped in quietly as we were discussing our lack of options.  He didn't know if she would qualify, but said with a smile, "She certainly has the will".   Now, I didn't have a clue what "Acute Rehab" really meant, but at least we might have another option!

I will never forget that nurse.  His gentle smile; his humor; the compassion and obvious skill he displayed when caring for our mother, those things I will always remember.  For the information he shared with us that day, I will forever be thankful.

What is acute rehabilitation? “Merriam-Webster” defines 
“acute care” as short-term, intense medical care and 
“rehabilitation” as restoring health. “Acute rehabilitation” 
therefore means intense care in order to restore health over 
a short period of time.

That sounds promising!

Things will get better now.  I know they will!

Well, I think they will.  Only The Lord knows.  Only time will tell.

Thanks for following our journey!


Anonymous said...

You had me spellbound through this entire post! I know part of what you are going through, as I was a caretaker for my senior mother before she passed. It was such a difficult time. Had I had some of the insight and support that you share in your posts, I feel it would have made the journey a lot less stressful. Thank you for sharing your story and walk through this confusing, challenging, and frustrating world of senior care. I just know that you are a huge blessings to others going through the same thing.


Suni Taylor said...

I absolutely love this post! Makes you think long and hard about life...

Thank you for being so honest.

Jeanne Doyon said...

Thanks for sharing your journey. It helps to be able to laugh and find glimmers of hope each day. Your deeds and love are not unnoticed. Praying for you both as tackle each day's spiders.

healthcare hostages said...

Thanks Kimberly! Care giving is a challenge for sure, but a very worth while challenge with many rewards (some times those rewards are subtle and we don't even realize them until we look back). I applaud you for taking care of your mother during that very tough time.

My hope is that I can make the waters a little less muddy for someone else by sharing our story. I can tell you though, through reliving the memories to get them on paper, I still get worked up about some of this!

healthcare hostages said...

Thank you Suni! I'm glad you found it interesting.

My hope is that more people will "think" about life and how precious it is. We only know what our life is bringing us right now, this moment in time. But, we can hope that tomorrow will be just as bright or better, but we can't know it for certain. To arm ourselves with knowledge of what MIGHT happen and some of the ways to avoid some of the problems is like buying an insurance policy - We hope we don't ever need it, but we can draw on it if necessary!

Thank you for taking the time to read my post and comment! It makes tomorrows posting come easier!

Have a great day!

healthcare hostages said...

Thanks Jeanne!

I appreciate your taking the time to take a step in to our journey! And, taking the time to comment. But, mostly, thanks for the prayers - I don't like spiders!

Have a Blessed day!

JM said...

A really good nurse is worth "more than rubies" and is a pure treasure.

healthcare hostages said...

It is so true. A good nurse can make all the difference in the world! I have found that "most" nurses are "worth their weight in gold", but often their hands are tied.