We learned Mom has edema more than a decade ago when she first stepped into a cardiac surgeon’s office because she was having issues with breathing. Edema is a build-up of excess water that the body is unable to expel Mom’s presses on her lungs causing her breathing issues. Over the years, we have learned that when her edema flares up, every medication but one removes the excess fluids.
Now you would think that:
- if you have been introduced to the medical staff from the start as your caree’s care provider;
- you have power of attorney (POA) in case something happens;
- you’ve handed them everything about your caree in the Medical Information Sheet;
- and you’ve visited your caree 24 of the 30 days she’s been there for an average of 3-1/2 hours a day
- they just might listen to you about certain things?
It seems that the rehab facility’s in-house doctor decided on her own to change Mom’s water pill and not inform anyone, not even the patient. She removed Mom from the Lasix and put her on a pill that is supposed to be four times better. We discovered this by looking at Mom’s legs. (I did not just say that.) When she was admitted, she had an actual give in her skin; you could press on the shin and make an indentation. Now there’s no give in her skin at all–it is as tight as the Botox injections on Cher’s (singing idol) face.
The doctors tried Mom on this med after her heart surgery. Within a week, she had gained 20 pounds and could not breathe, much less walk 15 feet without having to stop for four minutes to catch her breath. We ended up in the emergency room and eventually spent a week in the hospital on an IV for (wait for it, wait for it) LASIX. We found out on Friday mid-day that the water pill had been switched on Friday. The nurses told Mom they would contact the doctor and see about putting her back on the Lasix medication.
“Insert Benefit of the Doubt Here.”
Saturday comes and I’m there to drop off clothes and pick up outgoing mail. I ask the med nurse if the script had been changed and, to my un-surprise, it had not. I make my way up to the nurse’s desk to talk with the lead nurse who will be in touch with the on-call doctor who is supposed to be calling in between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. I explain the situation and express an urgent need to get Mom back on Lasix. She says that as soon as the doctor calls she will discuss it with her and she will come down to Mom’s room and let us know.
9:30 a.m. 10 a.m. 10:30 a.m. It’s now 11:00 a.m. I approach the head nurse again. Without me having to say anything, she tells me that the on-call doctor still has not called. I feel the need to “and I do” let her know that, “I am not leaving until this is resolved and I will be back every 30 minutes to check in until we hear from the doctor.” She acknowledges and now we wait another 30 minutes. This little game goes on for three (3) hours. It is now one o’clock and I have been told that they are waiting for the on-call doctor to call in and to my surprise they have yet to call the doctor. Now let’s get this straight before we proceed. An “On-Call Doctor” from what I know is a doctor who is “On-Call After Hours” and is contacted if there are any concerns.
Not a doctor who calls in whenever he/she wants to follow through on cases. So then why are we waiting for the doctor to call us when they have not even called the doctor to notify him/her that there is an issue in the first place? What’s on second, I don’t know’s at home. (A Laurel and Hardy plug for those who don’t know.) It is now 1 p.m. and the charge nurse is “finally” going to call the doctor. I guess you could say I hovered around the nurse’s desk messing around on my iPad mini** just waiting to hear something, anything about Mom’s Lasix.
After walking back to Mom’s room, the lead nurse walks in directly behind me and begins talking and I can already tell she’s not going to get Lasix. She starts telling us that the doctor wants to try the new medicine along with compression stockings, elevating Mom’s feet as much as possible and limiting her fluid intake to 1.5 liters a day (50.721 oz) total. So take into account all the fluids including those to take her meds (five times a day), coffee, soda, ice tea, any water with meals and juices and it adds up real quick.
Trying this idea goes on from Saturday through Monday morning when the doctor comes in and right off tells Mom that they are “putting her back on Lasix and they have no idea who authorized the change.” Really, if the facility would have listened when we first found out about the change and began telling them we want her back on the med, that we knows works, Mom would not have had to go five days with all the excess fluid and now have to wait for the Lasix to start working and get her weight back to where it should be.
Doc, just one comment: Next time, listen. We do know a little about the people we care for.
Stand your ground, don’t give up and make noise if you need to. It took us 5-1/2 days to get Mom back on to the medication we know works. But it should have only taken one.
- Me, Myself and Mom (caregiving.com)
- Visited Mom the Day After (caregiving.com)
- Heads Will Roll (caregiving.com)
- Edema Puts a Lot of Weight on One’s Shoulders (caregiving.com)
- Three Pounds Overnight Or Six Pounds in a Week (caregiving.com)
- Slaying the Medication Worry (caregiving.com)
- Mom’s Follow-Up (caregiving.com)
- When Doctors Don’t Agree (caregiving.com)
- How Many Opinions Are Too Many? (caregiving.com)
- Priorities: Patient or Paperwork? (caregiving.com)