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Friday, March 7, 2014

....a magic private room!

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.
 For anyone who has been along for the whole wild ride - Thank you!

....a magic private room!

With the help of my brother for a few days and then my sister for another few days (both of who made the trip from home – 250 miles away); my daughter and her family; and a dear friend, we made it through the first week of what was to be a three week stay at a Skilled Nursing Facility for mom.

Luckily I had been able to get a room in an extended stay motel within a mile of the facility and was able to not only be there at predetermined times, but I was also able to “pop” in at random times.  More importantly, I was close in case of an emergency.

While the first week there had been no real emergencies, there had been a number of inconveniences, which (for the most part) I was able to take care of much easier by being close.  Just because it was easier to take care of these inconveniences, it was no less irritating.  For the most part (I think) I took the bumps in stride.  I didn't even lose my temper during the first two meetings trying to coordinate transportation to moms' various doctors' appointments; by the third I was getting a little testy.

During the first meeting I had been assured that I just needed to give them the dates & times of moms’ various appointments she would have during her brief stay; they would take care of everything else.  During the second meeting I was told there was a conflict with their transporter and asked if it would be OK if they had to change a couple of appointments”.  I must have looked pensive as she quickly added, “It might only be a couple hours…… most a couple of days”, to which I replied “As long as it’s OK with her surgeons/specialists” and as an afterthought added, “but remember we are planning on leaving for home on August 23rd”; the coordinator assured me she understood.  I really hoped she did understand.

Hoping (but not convinced) the appointments were going to be taken care of as discussed, I headed for the dining room where mom was clearly enjoying lunch with my brother as he entertained the ladies at the table – the glow in moms face made me smile.

My smile was replaced with a scowl when I took mom back to her “shared” room to use the restroom. Although her roommate was very nice, she seemed to ALWAYS be sitting in a recliner (complete with a footstool) in front of the sink and less than a few feet from the bathroom door.  The room was too small to have that much furniture in it and it was nearly impossible to get mom in to the bathroom.  After a lot of struggling, I was able to maneuver the wheelchair into the tiny bathroom.  I helped mom back out of the bathroom and in to her bed and returned to the coordinators office – AGAIN.

I waited in the hall while the coordinator finished a call.  When she ended the call I popped my head in the office and asked if I could have a few minutes of her time.  “So, what’s the outlook for mom being moved to a private room?” I wanted to know.  I knew it had only been a couple of days, but I didn't know how long we could tolerate the current situation.  The coordinator apologized and said she didn't think a private room would be available for a week or so.  WHAT?

I was livid.  I may have used a few choice words as I explained for what seemed like the 100th time that mom required too much equipment and assistance for the shared room to be adequate and reminded her, in no uncertain terms, one of the reasons we had chosen this facility (over another a few blocks away) was primarily due to the availability of a private room.  “I’m really sorry”, the coordinator offered a sympathetic smile as I started to leave her office.  I was almost back to moms’ room when I turned around and went back to the coordinators office – I had one more question.

“Sorry to bother you again”, I said as I stepped back in to the office and sat in the chair directly across from her, I did not wait for an invitation.  “I have another question for you”, I announced.  The coordinator encouraged me to ask anything – they were here to help.  “What’s the procedure for having mom moved to another facility”, I wanted to know.

I finally had her attention; the coordinator quit looking at her computer screen and met my stare.  Although she did her best to assure me this was the best place for mom to be and they didn't want her to go to another facility, the coordinator said that if I felt it was best for mom they would honor my wishes and arrange for transportation.  “Thank you.  I will talk it over with my mom and get back to you”, I said as I walked out of the office.
Damn!  I really hate it when my bluff is called.  I don’t know what I had expected.  Had I really believed they would just magically have a private room available for mom if I acted like I would move her?  What was I going to do now?  As bad as I felt things were at this facility, I had visited the other facility and felt certain it was no better.

I headed back to moms’ room, but as I approached the elevator I changed my mind.  I decided I needed to get some air and clear my head a little before I went back.  I really didn't know what to do and wanted a few minutes to myself to think.  Part of me wanted to march back in to the coordinators office and demand that mom be transferred to the “other” facility, but part of me knew that we would likely face many of the same challenges and it could even be worse.

Mom was probably wondering where I was, I had told her that I was going to the restroom and had
now been gone nearly 45 minutes.  I just couldn't go back in until I calmed myself down.  I was so angry about moms’ living arrangements I was having trouble concentrating on anything else.  I had threatened to have mom transferred to another facility due to the unavailability of the private room and was told that they simply didn't have one.  So, now I had a decision to make and I didn't want to make it for the wrong reasons.

It was important that I set my anger aside and focused on the big picture.  Would mom be better off at the other facility?  Would she be safer?  Would she be happier?  Would she have a private room there?  These were all questions that I had to consider before making any decision.  Oh, and I guess I should ask mom what she wants to do, huh?

I laughed at myself for not thinking to ask mom what she wanted before I went on this rampage; for having to remind myself that, although her back and her knee had been through some pretty major stuff, for the most part her mind was fine.

Realizing that mom may not be near as upset as I was about the room situation, I headed back inside feeling a little better that I didn't have to make the decision myself.  I was almost back to the elevator when I heard someone call my name from behind.  I turned to see the coordinator heading toward me, “I’m glad you didn't leave”, she smiled brightly.  “I might have a solution that would get your mom in to a private room sooner”.

Ah ha!  They did have a magic private room!

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