My brother Mark graciously offered to come up from San Francisco today to sit with Mom and be the texting pipeline to Trish (wife), Susie (Mom’s sister) and Jimmy (other brother) so that I could take the day and work on the kinks in my back, get some work done for work. I agreed and jumped at the offer. He knows I am persistent in getting text messages out to the collective when I receive updates. Of course when it comes to my mom I would expect nothing less. We knew that Mom would possibly be transferred sometime between Friday and Monday all depending on how Mom felt and when they could get her back on her own regimen of medicines.
It was just about two hours into the day when I start getting calls from Susie regarding Mom and her medicines as well as Mom needing food or at least water. Susie wanted Mom to have a meal tray no matter what and that’s all there was to it. The second issue was mom getting her regimen of meds at the moment Susie was under the impression Mom was to be getting them and finally the nurse’s call button, which is not wrapped around the nurses neck handling that bed on that day.
Issue Number One with the food and water: I couldn’t see an issue there because yesterday, the day after the surgery, they had her up and were feeding her a normal diet. I was at a loss for words on the issue last night after I left.
Issue Number Two: I explained it to her exactly how Mom’s cardiologist Dr. Pratt explained the medication issue to me when Mom was getting her lung drained of blood and then scrapped clean of 40+ years of cigarette tar. When the patient goes through a surgery where anesthesia is involved there is a formula more or less that takes into account the patient’s body weight, height, male/female, amount of anesthesia used during the surgery, number of hours the patient was on anesthesia during surgery and so on. From that they determine “about” how long before the anesthesia will be out of the patient’s system and when the normal meds are administered so there is no possibility of a negative interaction between them.
Issue Number Three about the nurse’s call button and them not responding within seconds of you pushing it: I’m surprised due to the number of times between Mom (one of seven) and her sister Martha (two of seven) have been in the hospital over the years. Nurses handle on average six to 10 patients a shift and at any time you press the “call button” your nurse could be six rooms down changing a soiled bed, three rooms up doing the intake of a new patient, even next door assisting a 90-year-old patient in the restroom. All of these things take time and the call buttons are taken in order of importance. If you need another blanket, you may wait while another receives medication or gets changed or gets help to the bathroom. So the key word here is Patience.
I understand while in the room with my mom who snapped her femur inches above the knee and just had surgery to insert a rod and then add a plate and six screws, moaning and tearing up and if barely touched, screams at the top of her lungs in utter pain is awful. I get it. I’ve pressed the “call button” more than twice or even four time before. All I’m saying is that patience needs to be key here. Remember the nurses have bosses and they’re called the doctors. They can’t give the patients anything without the doctor’s approval and that include,s but not limited to food, water, medicines. They cannot even allow the patient up unless there is an order from the doctor in their file. Nurses are overlooked in the amount of work they do, the hours they work and the crap they put up with from people like you and me when our loved ones are in pain. Pain without Humor is Just Painful says it all. Your loved one is in pain and there’s nothing funny about it and it is painful to watch.
Finally, the issue of transportation and skilled nursing facilities. This is an area that I’ve always handled when it came down to it but withoutt being there today it threw Mark and Susie for a loop. The case manager like visited the room to explain that Mom would most likely be going home either Friday or Saturday. Mark heard, “And you are responsible for finding a skilled care facility for her to go to as well as the transportation to that facility.” Of course they go into a panic and wonder why are we having to set all this up and also pay for it and in turn call me to find out what’s going on. I explain that he must not have heard her correctly and that the hospital sets this up. He then swears up/down that’s what he heard. Upon assuring him I will call the case manager and resolve this I hang up and proceed to make the call to confirm what I know, I hope, is right.
I receive the case manager’s assistant who will be setting everything up. “Did you catch that?” I explain to her what was going on and what Mark heard. The case manager confirms that, upon Mom’s release, we have the option of choosing which facility she will go to. The case managers assistant will do everything possible to get that approved if they have a bed available. Regarding the transportation, depending on the severity of Mom’s injury, if she can go via standard transportation, insurance will not pay for medical transportation. If she can go via a wheelchair they will not pay for a gurney or they may only pay a portion of the cost and we would be responsible for the remainder. Simple misunderstanding corrected with one phone call.
I should have a business card made up to hand to the doctor, case manager, therapist, physical therapist, etc. with my contact information on it and to save this from happening again. They can contact me and we go from there. (IDEA!!)
- The Queen and the Grape, Part II (caregiving.com)
- Happiness and Fear as Discharge Approaches (caregiving.com)
- Another Surgery? Probably (caregiving.com)
- Better! (caregiving.com)
- Why Not Leave a Message (with Information)? (caregiving.com)
- Visited Mom the Day After (caregiving.com)