Total Pageviews

Friday, August 16, 2013

..........Eventually.......... For anyone "just tuning in" this post may leave you wondering what the heck I am rambling about, I hope you take the time to go back and review my earlier posts so you can catch up with our story. For anyone who has been along for the whole wild ride - Thank you! I very much appreciate your thoughts and comments


I had not slept more than a few hours since the night before moms’ surgery on February 21st, 2013.  I knew I needed sleep, five hours in two days was simply not enough.  However, past experiences invaded my mind; I was scared - bad things could happen if I left the hospital.

I kept reminding myself that mom was in a different place; being cared for by different people.  Other than the fact that I still wasn't sure mom was going to recover from the surgery, the experience so far, had been so much different; the care had been so much better.  Why couldn't I let myself believe that mom would be OK?  Somehow I had to get over this feeling of distrust.

Two years ago I would have probably felt secure leaving mom for a few hours in the care of medical professionals, especially in a hospital setting.  You know what they say, “ignorance is bliss”.  My belief that doctors should be above reproach, that most nurses became nurses because they really cared, had not served me well.  Had my altruistic idealism clouded my judgment?

I couldn't help but think maybe my naivety had played a part in moms’ current condition.  Maybe if I hadn't been so trusting then, mom wouldn't be in a step down ICU ranting like a crazy person NOW.  Perhaps, had I been more assertive, we would have gotten the referrals much sooner.  How had things gotten so bad, so quick?

Even though I was sure mom was in a better place, I doubted I was going to sleep anytime soon.  My mind just wouldn't shut down.  The flashbacks from the other hospital, not quite a year earlier, had a way of kicking my already maddening insomnia in to high gear.  Reliving the horror of the past year had become second nature to me.
Most of the doctors had been condescending and downright rude.  Many of the nurses had seemed unapproachable.  The aids were overworked (and probably under payed).  The technicians from various departments were impatient and inconsiderate.  Even many of the transporters had proven themselves (in my opinion) incompetent.  Certainly, misplacing my mother had been inexcusable.

Moms’ health issues had become so complex and she required so much care, it seemed no ONE department was equipped to handle all of moms needs.  She was moved from the Ortho floor, to the Telemetry section, to the Neuro/Trauma ward, all within a few days.  I still wonder, with as many hours a day as I was at moms bedside, how, and why, I was never made aware of the pending moves.

The first time she was moved mom had still been pretty incapacitated, she couldn't even ask them to call anyone.  Consequently, when I arrived and found the empty bed, I thought the worst.  I would have thought she had just been taken for one test or another, except the room was completely empty.  All moms’ things were gone, everything was gone.

Trying to be polite, like mom always taught me, I tried to be patient while I waited for the nurse to finish her conversation with another patient.  She saw me, I know she did, but when she finished with the other patient she briskly walked away.  I almost caught up with her before she entered another patients’ room.  “Where’s my mom”, I asked everybody.  I couldn't believe that no one seemed to know where she was.  I wondered what it was they weren't telling me.  Were they waiting for someone with authority to tell me the unthinkable?  Don’t they know about my crazy imagination?  Although, in her current state, mom was probably unaware she had even been moved, I was near hysteria by the time I found her.

The second move happened with mom crying and begging them to call me.  “You can call when we get you to your new room”, she was told.  Unfortunately, mom was still not able to even pick up her tiny cell phone, let alone dial the phone; no one offered to help her.  This time I didn't waste time being ignored and/or brushed off, I went to the “information” desk.

“Could you please tell me which room my mother was moved to”, I gave moms name and waited.  I had to remain calm.  A very nice volunteer gave me the room number.  So much for calm!  “No, that’s the room she was moved from”, I forced a smile and encouraged her to look again.  That was the “most current” information they had.  This was more frustrating than stalking indifferent nurses!  I returned to the room mom had been in and stood outside the door.  I glued myself to the first nurse I saw.  I didn't leave her alone until she helped me find my mother.  In the words of Kimberly Perry (The Band Perry): "Mama always told me that I should play nice, She didn't know you when she gave me that advice"

Although mom was still very weak for the third move, she was coherent enough to convince an aid to dial for her before she put the phone to moms’ ear and left the room.  Since there was no cell reception in the hospital cafeteria, the call went to my voice mail.  Leaving the cafeteria I checked my phone and listened to the message.  I could tell from the sound of moms’ voice she was scared.  I called her back immediately and was relieved when she answered.

She was trying not to panic, but I could tell she was crying.  She didn't know what room she was in, they had moved her again.  She thought she knew which floor they had taken her to, but she really wasn't sure.  “It’s usually written on the white board, mom”, I had seen it in most every room.  It was partially erased, but at least, from what she was able to tell me, I was able, eventually, to figure out the floor she had probably been taken to.  As I walked toward the elevators I told mom to push her call button.  Her voice sounded defeated when she told me she couldn't.  Her hands weren't working right and they hadn't brought the special touch pad call button, the only one she was able to use.  “It’s OK, mom.  Don’t worry, I’ll find you”, I tried to console her.

Of course, I did find her eventually.

Eventually, I might get over the trauma from those awful experiences.
It’s even possible I will, eventually, let myself trust this new medical team.


JM said...

I do not know how you kept from going berserk and nailing that incompetent staff with their own hypodermics. It is inexcusable for any hospital to treat a patient and the family this way once. To have it happen a second, third time is so outrageous! If this facility receives any public funding, it should be investigated on the state level for their incompetence.

healthcare hostages said...

I can tell you that I thought about the hypodermics more than once. I agree, it is outrageous. I have no idea about their funding, but I believe there needs to be some checks & balances and they should have to answer to someone.

Unfortunately, I know mom is not the only patient to have similar experiences in this facility.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on this post! I truly appreciate your thoughts & comments.