Total Pageviews

Monday, January 20, 2014

Almost. If you're "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 true story. I very much appreciate your thoughts and comments.
For anyone who has been along for the whole wild ride - Thank you!


Less than eighteen hours after mom was transported to the Skilled Nursing Facility I was exhausted and it was barely 10:00AM.  It had been a battle to get mom a bed, another to get her a walker and yet another just to get the bedside commode emptied.  I was seriously considering just taking mom to the hotel with me; if I had to be at the SNF all the time anyway, it would almost be easier.  Almost.

I reminded myself that mom was on IV antibiotics, but that was only part of the problem.  We still didn't know if mom could even get in the car.  I made a mental note to be sure to add car transfers to our list of “immediate” goals for therapy.  I briefly wondered if all the therapists were as cavalier as the one I had met the day before.  I also wondered if the call light we had pushed was ever going to be answered.

Deciding to avoid a replay of the day before, I helped mom to the bedside commode with the aid of the bilateral platform walker that had been begrudgingly left for mom to use and helped her back to bed; I wanted to make sure she was comfortable before I left.  I needed to get something to eat and I desperately needed to lie down; I was certain it was a serious lack of sleep that was increasing the frequency of my ocular migraines.

Just as I got mom back to bed the CNA appeared, “Can I help you”.  I kept my focus on mom as I told the aide that I had already helped mom to the restroom but I would appreciate it if she would “please” empty and clean the commode.  The aide was still in the room when I kissed mom and told her I would be back later in the evening; she assured me she would take care of mom “and the commode”.

I was barely out the front door when my phone rang; the number for
the SNF lit up on the caller ID.  My heart sank.  Had something happened to mom?  I had been out of the room for less than three minutes and mom was in bed when I left; I had put her there myself.  Maybe it wasn't bad; maybe they had a private room for mom!  “Sorry, I meant to catch you before you left”, the coordinator continued, “Will you be here around 3:00”?  Was she kidding?  It was after eleven now, I had been there since just after seven and hadn't left until nearly ten the night before; I hadn't eaten and was nearly going blind from a migraine.  “I guess I can be”, I obviously wanted to know why.

“We just like to get together with new patients, and their families, if possible, to introduce ourselves.  We want to make sure you have a chance to ask questions; voice concerns, whatever”, the coordinator was bubbly, “You know, make sure we are a good fit for your mom”.  Hhhmmm, I wonder if anybody has ever considered assuring a “good fit” BEFORE a patient was admitted.  “If you can’t be here……” the coordinator began.  I cut her off with an assurance that I would most definitely be here and that I most definitely had some concerns.

I could barely see through the tears spilling from my eyes by the time I made it to my car.  I knew from past experience that I had a very small window of time before my vision would be too compromised to risk driving; I had to get something for my migraine and I had to do it fast.  I dried my eyes and sat for just a minute before heading to the closest store I could think of; Walgreens was only a few miles away.  I drove about a half mile before I knew I didn't have time to make it to the drug store; the fluttering in my eyes was making it too dangerous to drive much further.  I didn't even have the energy to make a snarky remark to the cashier at the 7-11 about the outrageous price they charged for Ibuprofen before I stumbled out the door.

Knowing I had let the migraine go too far to be tamed by just two ibuprofen and also knowing I was going to trade incredible heartburn for my vision, I popped five tablets in my mouth and washed them down with a luke warm Pepsi.  I sat in the parking lot with my eyes closed until I could see well enough to drive.  It was after noon and I had to be back to the SNF by three; a nap was out of the question, but I had to eat.  I pulled through the first fast food place I saw.

I had just finished eating and was pulling out of the parking lot when
I heard my phone ring.  Of course the phone had gone clear to the bottom of my purse and I couldn't get my hands on it.  I decided whatever it was could wait until I drove the few miles back to the facility; then I decided it couldn't.  I only made it a block before convincing myself I HAD to know who called.  Less than a minute later I was sitting in another parking lot fishing my phone out.  I smiled as I listened to the voice mail; what a nice surprise for mom, I hoped I could keep the secret.

I returned to the SNF just after 2:00PM with just under an hour to spare.  “Hi”, I smiled at mom as I walked in her room.  The smile faded when I saw the look on my mothers’ face.  “What’s the matter”, I tossed my purse to the chair as I stepped to moms’ bedside.  “I need to go to the bathroom again”, mom seemed agitated.  “Have you pushed the call light”, I asked mom as I scooted the commode closer.  “Yes, but they had to wait until the walker was brought back and it just got here”, my mother rolled her eyes.  Huh?  Where had it been, I wanted to know.  Evidently the walker had been taken back to the therapy department as it was needed for other patients; they would be back for it again soon.  Seriously?  This was NOT going to work.

Deciding it was going to be less stressful to just help mom myself than waiting for an aid, I set my anger aside and prepared for the task at hand.  After several failed attempts by mom to get up using the walker, I realized the platforms had been adjusted up for someone else; it was too high for mom to effectively use.  I struggled for several minutes trying to readjust the walker to fit mom, when I noticed she was fidgeting.  “I don’t think I can wait”, my mother looked desperate.  I moved the walker and was able to help mom to a standing position by using myself as a rail.

Keeping my hands on mom to steady her, I caught the leg of the commode with my foot and scooted it in to place.  I lifted the lid in preparation for mom to sit and was disgusted to see there was still feces in the bucket.  “You must have gone again while I was at lunch”, I’m sure I sounded surprised.  Mother assured me that she had NOT been up since I left as the walker had been taken away within minutes of my departure.

I tried to hide my irritation as I eased mom down on the commode; it was too late to do anything else.  Once again we were almost finished when the curtain was pulled back, “Your light was on, do you need something?” a nurse asked.  I couldn't help myself, I growled at the nurse as I expressed my displeasure.  The CNA (the same one who had assured me she would take care of mom “and the commode”) had slipped in sometime during my diatribe.  I don’t know what I expected at that point, but a blank stare from the nurse and a shrug from the aide who said, “I didn't know it was there”, wasn't it.

Suddenly I was looking forward to three O`clock………………….

No comments: