Eight hours in the emergency room and12 in a hospital room with my mother. And brother.
It wasn’t hell, but it sure was as close to purgatory as I can imagine.
At my insistence and her doctor’s recommendation, we took my mother to the emergency room soon after I arrived on Tuesday. She had a minor fall just before the weekend, and the doctor wanted to get her an x-ray and also — as long as she was there — get the blood and urine tests taken for which she was long overdue.
The emergency room only had one doctor on the premises. And then it turned out that the hospital itself didn’t have ANY doctors on the premises when they finally admitted my mother just after midnight.
The nurses, however, were outstanding — except for one. But there’s always one, isn’t there.
While it turned out that my mother hadn’t broken anything, she did have a major urinary tract infection going, and they hooked her up to an intravenous antibiotic.
HOWEVER, they couldn’t hook her up until they could calm her down, since her dementia was in full swing and she kept trying to fight everyone off. Solution? Drugs, of course.
EXCEPT we have yet to find a drug that will calm her down. Stuff like Xanax has the reverse affect. They finally had to resort to morphine. As long as she was totally knocked out, everything was fine. (Well, fine for her. My brother and I got no sleep, and the most we ate in all that time were cheese sandwiches and potato chips from the nearby convenience store. My reflux was starting to protest.)
Recommendations from two neurologists indicated that she needs 24/7 supervised care. With relentless pressure from me, my brother has agreed to interview home health care workers from a private-pay operation that provides aides trained in geriatric caregiving. Taking care of a 93 year old with severe dementia and all sorts of aches and pains is not a one person job. “Just keep her comfortable,” one neurologist advised. (If only!)
When the Social Worker came in to tell us what our options would be for help when she got home, she suggested a place (private pay) that provided home aids that specialize in geriatric care. Being the assertive “bitch” sister that I am, I had her immediately call the head of the outfit, who came right over to give us the information even before we left the hospital.
One or two of the possible aides are supposed to come over tomorrow for interviews.
There is enough money available to pay for help with her care, but it’s not under my control.
My brother believes that I am a lying, controlling, manipulating bitch.
I’m just going to do whatever I have to do to make sure that my mother gets the compassionate care she needs to have at this stage of her life.
Now, at home, she often speaks gibberish, will fall down if she tries to stand up or walk by herself (which she constantly tries) and has a battery of meds that we all hope will make it easier on everybody. Much of the time she cries — one breath in and on the outbreath a two-note loud sigh. Over and over. For hours at a time. This is not new; it started months and months ago.
I can’t wait to get back to my home. And I want to make sure that my brother hires someone good to help him with my mother’s care. I just don’t know how long I can last here. My sciatica is really acting up from having to help her up and down.
There is no perfect solution to all of this. I’m just too ornery to give up trying for a decent one, for my mother’s sake.