A Custody Battle Avoided


A Custody Battle Avoided

night-690041_640On Sunday, I couldn't stop thinking that somehow we moved from caring for my mom to battling over her. It felt like we almost had a custody battle on our hands.

As I wrote on Sunday (read: The Sound of My Fury), my mom was transferred to a university hospital for a scope to locate and stop her internal bleeding. Fortunately, she stopped bleeding. Unfortunately, she was at a hospital she didn't want to be for a test that wouldn't happen.

My dad, another sibling and I wanted her transferred back to the community hospital. Another sibling and Sibling wanted her to remain at the university hospital in case she began to bleed. Another sibling just wanted what was best for our mom.

Yesterday morning, my mom called to tell us they would do the scope after all. She was to receive the scope and return to the community hospital at her request. I updated my siblings with the latest. Sibling replied to my text, "Please remove me from this thread."


Another sibling spent the morning with my mom--no scan. I attended my dad's doctor's appointment in the morning and got the doctor on board with my dad returning home rather than going with me to the university hospital. My dad seems to lose a little steam every day, which accumulates to a lot of lost steam. He's exhausted.

My dad treated me to lunch after his appointment and before I headed to see my mom. Over lunch, I updated my dad on the situation with Sibling and the request to not receive text updates from us any longer. He asked that I send one more update; if Sibling requests again to be removed from our updates, then I should.

I arrived at the hospital at 1 p.m. While my mom slept, I checked with the nurse about the timing of the scope. After calling the doctor, the nurse said, "They aren't doing the scope today. So, she'll be transferred back to (community hospital)."

Great! My mom and I did a high five and then a second one to honor the good turn of events. She was stable and the bleeding had not returned. I updated my dad and all of my siblings (Sibling did not reply) and we began our wait. My mom's pleasant mood--the best since her hospitalization--made our conversation easy and fun. She slept on and off as I checked in with the nurse regularly for discharge updates. We just needed her surgeon at the community hospital to receive her back as a patient.

At 3:30 p.m., a resident stopped in with good news. The surgeon at the community hospital accepted her as his patient, paperwork needed to be completed and then the transfer would happen.

At 5:30 p.m., we learned we hit a snag--the surgeon, in surgery until 6:30 p.m., needed to get her a bed. I called the discharge planner at 7:30 p.m. and again at 8:20 p.m. for updates. No new news and no movement out the door.

At about 7 p.m., I wondered if a transfer this late was medically responsible. Am I making her worse? My mom repeatedly told any staff who entered her room what she told the discharge planner, "I'm leaving today. I don't care what time. I'm leaving." A few minutes after I began to fret, her nurse technician arrived to take vitals. Mom's blood pressure was 124/68 and she did not have a temperature. I relaxed.

At about 8:45 p.m., the discharge planner called. "They're not taking your mom back to the main hospital. The surgeon indicated she should go to the rehab unit but she's not ready for rehab." I can't remember what I said but I confirmed the reality: My mom wasn't going to be transferred tonight.

Oh, my gosh. We just fell apart. Tears welled in my mom's eyes. I'm not sure what she said but whatever it was triggered me to play my favorite record:

"I didn't want you to come here in the first place! No one listens to me!"

"I knew this would happen! Why doesn't anyone listen to me!"

"I sent a text message on Friday morning with the question, 'Is this an informed decision?' And everyone ignored me!"

"I don't know why I can't get anyone to listen to me!"

Oh, I was singing.

I calmed down as best as I could after my few-minute rant. I apologized profusely to my mom for my melt down. (I'm sure her roommate will be publishing a blog post about it today.) I told her that we will take care of this and that I will solve the problem tomorrow. I updated the two siblings who checked in on me throughout the day. I called my dad with more bad news. And, then I spilled the beans to my mom about Sibling and all the drama. I also told her about my dad's tears throughout her hospitalization. My mom listened intently.

After my walking all over my spilled beans, I returned again to the business at hand: "You'll be fine tonight, Mom. I'll be back first thing tomorrow with (another sibling who volunteered to help) to figure this out. We have options and we'll just figure out which option will be best for you."

And, then her phone rang. The old room phone features a red light which flashes as the phone rings. We looked at each other, eyes wide. The flashing red light seemed to be from out of this world.

It was the discharge planner. "I don't know what happened but your mom's transfer will happen tonight. It's an Act of God," she said. "I want to get off the phone and order the ambulance before anything can change."

Oh, my, we cried, we sighed, we held hands. I texted my two siblings the good news, called my dad to share our twist of fate. At 9:30 p.m., two very kind young ambulance drivers wheeled my mom, with the widest smile I've seen in weeks, out of her room.

Two siblings and I exchanged celebratory texts. We were just elated.

Sibling and another sibling were aware of the discharge but did not check in to see if and when the discharged happened. I'm grateful for the two siblings who stayed involved and concerned and supportive. I recognize that we're fractured, though.

But, these celebrations always feels so short lived. I arrived home to my dad, siting in his recliner, red-eyed and exhausted. He also wore new bandages on his head and a hand. He had hit his head on the stove at about 5 p.m., opening up one of the wounds on the top of his head. "The blood just poured down onto my forehead," he explained. I gently added no-stick tape to the gauze bandage and ointment he applied to his head and said that I would take care of the wounds tomorrow morning.

He also said, "I now understand the impact of Sibling," he said. "You have to pick up the pieces."

Someone tuned into my radio station!! "That's exactly it," I said. "When Sibling sent that text that Mom was moving to the university hospital within 24 hours, I sent a separate text to (two siblings)," I said. "I wrote, This is going to be a mess and Sibling is going to disappear.'"

My dad went to bed at 10:30 p.m., about 90 minutes past his normal bed time. I followed at 11 p.m. At 12:30 a.m., he banged on my door. "I need you to take these bandages off," he said. "They're killing me."

It took me a few minutes to understand he meant the compression stockings the nurse at the doctors office had put on his legs to help with his swollen feet and ankles. I huffed and puffed and removed the stockings. "Don't get up again tonight," I said, as gently as I could to take the sound of an order out of my words. "I'm worried about falls." "Okay," he answered, "that thought occurred to me, too."

I attended to his head and his new wound on his arm this morning (he banged his arm on something at the gas station) and huffed and puffed to get the stockings back on. We'll see what the rest of today will bring.

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I'm glad everything worked out.\nI can't tell you enough how glad I am to find your blog.


You say \"sometimes these celebrations feel so short-lived\". They sure are worth the effort though! Best wishes to you.


Oh heavens, Denise! I bemoan the fact that I am the only surviving sibling and there you are with siblings who just cannot agree on anything. As I read through your post it seems that a big problem here is those darned, huge, EGO'S !!!!!! \nIt seems so unfortunate to me that it seems that and your Mom plus your Dad still have enough of their mental faculties whereby they can make quite a lot of decisions about what they do/don't want when it comes to their health!\nIs it not possible, at this stage of Mom & Dad's health to still have them make up a legal document (even if you have to pay a neurologist to sit in at the meeting) so that your parents can clearly spell out what THEY still want for themselves and that their children just need to butt out! Something tells me too that your Mom and Dad are still mentally capable of appointing one of their children to act as the sole decision maker. If this is still possible with them health wise, your other siblings can then read in black and white what Mom and Dad DO want and where they draw the line - thus no one can decide to medically do something with them which go against their wishes.\nIf your siblings then have their heart in the right place - if they really care to help - they just have to tow the line and agree to your parents wishes plus the wishes of the one child they have given full medical authority to. \nArgh, why are adult children fighting and creating disharmony for two unwell old folks instead of putting their ego's in their pockets and just working together for the collective good of your Mom and Dad. \n\nI am not sure what you can legally do with all of this but I just wish that an attorney to tell the other siblings to ZIP UP and to leave the decisions over to you and your parents!\n\nWarmest wishes\n\nColette xoxo


Hurray for late night Discharge! I am so sorry about your Dad and understand the bumping, bruising and bleeding that goes on so easily. I truly hope he heals soon. UGH! Family fractures are so messy, well, bandages, support socks, it's all messy! I pray today will be better too!


I can completely related to the fractures among siblings. Continue to add your Mom and Dad to my prayers.

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