When the Medical Staff Just Doesn’t Listen

pills_medicationWe 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.

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Avatar of Richard

About Richard

My name is Richard (@kreisr1), I am a Tri-Fecta caregiver, for my mother who has COPD among other health issues. I co-care for my brother in-law who has epilepsy and co-care with my wife's for myself, I deal with Chronic Back Pain. entire life and now after living alone, in a care facility and a group home setting we had to move him in with us to provide him with the care he needs.  Finally, with my wife who is also my co-caregiver I care for myself, I have had chronic pain (mid-low back) for 21-1/2 years thanks to a drunk driver.  I write my own blog, pickyourpain.org where I share my pain with humor, as I see thing, "Pain Without Humor is Just Painful."  I am involved with caregiving.com in several ways, as well as participating in several of the weekly caregiving.com blogs, I also am involved in their Twitter chats, I also host the following groups, SPOT (Stamp Procrastination Out Today), A Task A Day, The Men's Group, Healthy Caregiver and several others.  I am also the moderator for the Caregiving.com Quiz Show and have a seat on the bi-monthly Hot Topic's show. I'm here to not only improve Roberts life, the lives of those I touch on caregiving.com and pickyourpain.org but to find a way to improve my own live.

5 thoughts on “When the Medical Staff Just Doesn’t Listen

  1. Avatar of PearLadyPearLady

    Sounds so familiar, Richard, mainly b/c I’ve been in that position as you are, only it took even longer of me up their collective butts. (It didn’t end well…we ended up leaving due to all the stress. I’m not sure if we’ll ever be over the experience, but still attempting to learn from it.) Like you said, one has to remain on their toes 24/7 regarding every decision made because they just don’t listen well. Blessings to you for dealing.

    Reply
  2. Avatar of RichardRichard Post author

    Lisa and PearLady,

    Thank you both for reading and commenting to one of my blogs. The end result to this and every visit we’ve made to the hospital, being for the ER or just a regular doctors visit, is that you as the patient need to be vocal about your care and if the patient is elderly, hard of hearing, mentally challenged, or does not speak the language well, “Take an Advocate” along, take notes so you can reference them later and have the doctor write out “Legibly” anything that not understood (medication, dosages, directions, etc.) You have to take charge of your medical care and can not just accept what the doctor is tell you. If you smell a skunk, get a second opinion, we did and to this day I believe it saved her life.

    Have a great day,
    Richard (Kreisler)

    Reply
  3. Cathy Mitchell

    I remember many years ago when my father was in ICU for thirty days with pneumonia (that I will always believe he got in the hospital after simple lung surgery) and my mother broke her leg and had to have surgery in the same hospital. I overheard one nurse say to another, OMG their daughter will live here and be “hell on wheels” with everyone if we aren’t perfect. Yup, I was. I learned a lot. And that was 1981,

    Reply
  4. Avatar of RichardRichard Post author

    Cathy,
    It’s amazing that in 33 years medical technology has improved by leaps and bounds and the one part that does all the interacting with the patient has stayed pretty much stagnant. Thanks for the comment and for taking time to read my posts.

    Reply

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