1.23.2014

Monday Memories With My Mom - RETURNS 3

     On December 2nd, just as things were starting to look up and I was seeing signs of hope for getting better care for my mom, I received the dreaded call.  My mom had again fallen.  Although my mom has had a number of falls these past few months, this time was a bit different as I was told that when the aides went to get my mom for dinner, they found her on the floor in her living room.  They wanted to know if I wanted her sent to Emergency.  Normally, my mom rebounds rather quickly from her falls.  In this case, they reported she was tearful and complaining of back pain.  She was also saying that she DID want to go to the hospital.  Normally she says "no".  This is such a hard call -- how do you determine whether the nightmare of an ER visit is necessary when you did not see what happened and aren't there to see what's going on.  This time, I was a bit scared so I ultimately decided not to mess around with it, particularly since she was complaining of back pain.
     I asked that she be sent to the hospital a little further from her place and a bit closer to me and my brother -- just in case it ended up being long term!?  My kids happened to have the day off school that day and I got the emergency call just as I was making dinner.  I contacted my brother by text and asked if he could meet me at the hospital.  I live about 30 minutes from my mom's apartment so running up there isn't super quick.  I asked the Med Team to call me once the ambulance had left with my mom.  I also reminded them to make sure "Muffin" went with my mom as well as her list of medications.
     I began to gather up some reading material for myself, my mom's identification and insurance information as well as my Power of Attorney.  It was well over an hour before she actually arrived at the hospital.  I arrived before my mom and had already gone through the admissions process before she even arrived.


     In the Emergency Room, things were incredibly slow as they always are.  I did find that doing things like standing in the hallway or just approaching the nurse's station and asking what we were waiting for did seem to get some attention.  I was very patient, but after hours of not much, I needed some action!! 
     I was grateful to have my brother there.  The moral support was nice as there have been many times in the past that he was not around to help and these trips alone are not fun.  Eventually we were moved around a bit and my mom was taken for a head, back and hip CT.  After waiting and waiting again, the results showed no signs of any breaks and only showed some arthritis in her back.  Meanwhile, it was getting later and later and minutes seem like hours in the ER.  My mom had not eaten or had anything to drink and they did not want her to.  She also had not had her nighttime meds.

 

     The upside was that my brother and I had plenty of time to talk about our Christmas plans and catch up on some things.   Although my mom did have many many questions, eventually she seemed content to listen to me and my brother talk and would occasionally ask some questions.  I may have mentioned before, my brother is a firefighter and is not the least bit flustered when it comes to these emergency type situations.  He even took the liberty of writing on the white board in my mom's room under "Things I Would Like My Care Team To Know" -- "I Like Channel 4 and 147".  Two of my mom's favorite things to talk about -- her favorite tv channel and her apartment number.  At that point we were getting a bit giddy and we regressed back to our childish ways!!

 

     Finally, the doctor came back and did some more evaluating with my mom.  She seemed to be getting a bit feisty and was fairly entertaining in her banter with the doctor.  As it got later and there was talk of releasing my mom, I told them I was fine with that.  However, I was not sure if we wanted to transport her back by ambulance or possibly have my brother do it.  I told the doctor I was fine with releasing her, but first I wanted to confirm that she could walk.  There was a time a few years ago that my mom was released from the hospital, and she couldn't even walk the two steps to the car.  I am not sure I will ever understand how hospitals receive someone transported by ambulance, who has been on a gurney all night, flat on their back the whole night and then they talk of discharging without the patient EVER getting up!???  It just doesn't make sense to me.  How do they know everything is in working order!?
      The staff grabbed a walker and with a little initial assistance, my mom cruised down the hallway fairly easily.  I almost wanted to laugh because I was not sure if we had all been "duped" by my mom!!??  You have to wonder if she really was having back pain -- I doubt we will ever know for sure.  Of course, in the end I was relieved.
      By this time it was after midnight and my brother offered to bring her to the apartment in his car.  I met him at the apartment and he left soon after as my brother had to be at work at 6 am.  I continued to get her settled back in eventually was able to locate and update the Med Team staff to keep an eye on her.  As luck would have it, I had a mammogram scheduled for that morning that I was trying to get in before the end of the year and I knew I probably wouldn't be able to reschedule it.  It was hard to leave and trust the staff, but I had to think of myself, too.  I got my mom to bed and prayed she would be okay through the night.
     In the morning, I talked to Sheri by phone to update her on our adventures.  True to form, the Med Team staff (she works for the same company) did not advise her of any of my mom's fall or her Emergency Room adventures.  There seems to be a definite lack of communication between shifts and coworkers.  She has quickly figured out that they do not pass information on to her.
    Because of this recent experience, I now have on my list of "Things to Do" putting together an "ER Bag" with all the necessary things to bring to the hospital, including clothes for my mom, a checklist of things to ask the Med Team or paramedics, important paperwork and identification as well as things to pass the time.
     Thankfully, there were no apparent repercussions from the fall, but it was a very long night!!

 

5 comments:

Julia said...

How can they give proper care if they don't communicate what is going on ! It's a good thing that you are covering all the angles.

I'm glad that your mom wasn't hurt or had broken a hip or something. Emergency visits always takes for ever.

Thanks for sharing what you are going through to ensure that your mom gets proper care.
Keep at it. You are doing a great job. I know it's not easy.
Hugs,
JB

Shirley said...

After fighting with the computer down loading software,I decided that I would do some reading. I read both 2 and 3. You really do wonder and not getting the answers can be frustrating. I know exactly where you are coming from about getting answers. I am glad you have someone to help in the morning. At least for part of the day you know what is happening. Take care. Hugs and Prayers from Your Missouri Friend.

yaya said...

Cindy, I feel so bad because I didn't see that you've posted 2 other posts..how did I miss them? I love hearing about how your Mom's doing and I'm so sorry that an ER visit was needed. I too hate hospital visits and I work in one! You are doing such a great job of keeping tabs on your Mom's care. I'm glad your brother was there for support and company. I still can't believe how the facility gets so sloppy with the communication of her care. I think you are very patient with them and I know it's so hard to keep up with all that needs to be done with your Mom and also keep up with your family duties. I hope this year brings only good things to you and I also hope no more ER visits! Glad she's OK and didn't break anything!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I am thankful that you have your brother for support. I hope you will continue to lean on one another.

Donna said...

Geez, Cindy!!! I guess the only way I learn all of these things is to check in on your blog! Please remember I'm an empty nester now and only a phone call away! I can help if you need me...just call, girlfriend!! Love you!!