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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I wasn't ready 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 story. I very much appreciate your thoughts and comments.
For anyone who has been along for the whole wild ride - Thank you!

I wasn't ready

I convinced myself that mom was probably right; with the medication having to be taken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to infusion and the infusion taking approximately ninety minutes, administering it every eight hours, along with everything else I had to do, would afford me very little sleep.  Knowing the lack of sleep over the past year and a half had already taken quite a toll on me, I begrudgingly agreed to moms’ suggestion of a short term placement in a Skilled Nursing Facility for the next three weeks.  I wasn't sure how this was going to play out, mom was suppose to be discharged the following morning on July 30th, 2013 and I wasn't ready.

I was pleased at how well the Discharge Planner handled our change of plans; within minutes she handed me a “short list” of SNF’s in the area that I might find acceptable for mom.  I told the planner I wouldn't be able to even check them out until the following day and asked her what my deadline for the decision was.  “Well she’s scheduled for discharge tomorrow, so I will need to hear from you by noon”, was the reply I got from the planner.  Seriously?!  Noon?!
It was nearly 8:00PM when I got back to the hotel.  Before I delved in to the research that I HAD to do that night I called my husband, then sent a text to all my siblings and my aunt letting them all know what was going on.  I needed validation for the decision I was making and was hoping one of them would have some great words of wisdom, looking back I'm not sure the collective response of "I/we trust you" was so wise.

I was really struggling with the decision to have mom stay at a SNF until her six week follow up on August 23rd; she also had a follow up with the infectious disease doctor on the 11th.  I was having a hard time deciding which was the lesser of evils.

should I just insist she go home with me with the IV antibiotics and have to make two trips back for the appointments?  Even though it was summer time, the trip would take about ten hours (round trip) each time and require three days/two nights in a hotel.  We hadn't yet even tried the car transfers, so I didn't know how much of a challenge that might be.

Or, would it be easier on mom to spend the next three weeks in a SNF here in the area until after the final appointment on the 23rd of August?  I really wasn't comfortable with that decision after our last experience with a SNF, but decided I couldn't judge them all based on one bad experience.  With the “short list” of SNF’s in my hand, once again, I began researching.    Once I had narrowed the choices down to two facilities that I felt were the “better” choices based on the information I was able to garner, I called my older daughter.  “What are you doing tomorrow”, I asked, hoping she didn't have to work.

“I’ll have the kids with me”, my daughter readily agreed to go meet me to tour the SNF’s I had chosen.  I was feeling better knowing I would have a nurse with me to inspected the facility.  And, what better way to test someone’s patience than to show up, unannounced, with a two year old and an infant in tow? Pleased I wouldn't have to go alone for the surprise inspection, I settled in for the night.

Since I still wasn't able to sleep I began random searches of the facilities I was considering.  I have heard that if you get to the second page of a Google search it means you’re desperate; that night I found that the second, third, and even 4th pages had information that I felt was useful and I was certain had fallen to the back simply because people weren't searching for “disgruntled” employees or “injured” and/or “abused” past residents.  YIKES!  I was glad I took time to dig a little deeper!  I quickly eliminated one of the two that, at first glance, appeared to be a wonderful place for mom (OK, maybe not “wonderful”, but certainly acceptable).

At 10:00AM the following morning I met my daughter and grand babies at the only place I had left on my list.  It was a big, beautiful building with well kept
grounds.  There were condos for independent living; an ALF for those who needed a little more assistance; the SNF for people, like mom, who needed skilled nursing and rehab; then there was a nursing home.  Not knowing which door we were to enter, of course we picked the wrong one and entered on the ALF side.  It took us several minutes to convince the receptionist that, with the babies, it was easier for us to walk through to the other side than to load them back up and drive around.  Begrudgingly, the receptionist finally told us which turns to take to get us through to the SNF side of the building, and then she cautioned us about how easy it was to get lost.

It turned out we did get lost several times as we wandered through the facility, I didn't consider this a bad thing.  Fortunately, everybody we ran into was very
helpful and in just a few minutes we had arrived at the SNF.  We talked to residents; nurses; kitchen workers; maintenance men; therapists and the intake coordinator.  Everybody was extremely nice (except the ALF receptionist, but I figured she was just having a bad day).  The common areas were clean and we didn't detect any unpleasant odors.  Unfortunately, there were no private rooms available for us to tour; we were assured there was going to be a private room available for mom within a day or two as we were shown a double room that was marginally acceptable.

Since we were assured it would only be a day or two before a private room would be available, we decided we could make do with the double room for that long; it was close to the nurses’ station and mom would have the bed closest to the bathroom, so that was good.  As long as I was close enough that I could get to mom quick if she needed me everything should be fine, right?

Part of my research the night before had included finding an Extended Stay motel about a mile away where I was able to get a reservation the following week.  While I would have rather stayed at the hotel where I normally stay, I felt I needed to be closer once mom was in a Skilled Nursing Facility rather than the hospital.  Remembering moms’ reservation was expiring soon, I dialed the number for the Discharge Planner at the hospital.

I knew I was past my noon deadline, but just barely; I left a message for the discharge planner that we had made a decision.  Feeling like we had done all we could to ensure mom would be safe and well cared for, we left the facility and went to lunch.

Spending time with my daughter and the babies helped take my mind off of everything else I had going on.  Listening to my grandson chatter and my granddaughter coo lightened my mood considerably.    It was nearly 1:30PM when we finished eating and loaded the kids in my daughters’ car.  The sheer delight in my grandsons’ eyes as I caught the kiss he blew was still lingering in my mind as I got in my own car and eased out in to traffic.  They say “every cloud has a silver lining”, my grand babies were mine!

As I headed back to the hospital to make arrangements for mom to be transferred to the SNF, I dialed the Discharge Planner again; still no answer.  I dialed moms’ cell phone; no answer.  I had no idea how quickly they were planning on moving mom and was hoping that my earlier message hadn't prompted them to start the move without me; the Intake Coordinator at the facility had indicated they already had mom on their list, but I hadn't thought much about it at the time.

My mind was going 100MPH; my car was going eighty as I approached my exit,
which wouldn't be so bad except the speed limit is 55!  I really have to stop that!


Tanya said...

wow I'm on the edge of my seat.

healthcare hostages said...

Don't fall off!

Anonymous said...

Yep those grand babies sure can take our minds off of things for while, which is very much needed therapy. Love to read what happens next.

healthcare hostages said...

It's the best therapy I know of for sure! I'm almost ready to reveal what happens next :)