Archive | December 30, 2010

Expert opinion

A couple of nights ago, I was waiting for the Boo to go down for the night so I could enjoy my sushi in peace.  I was feeling a bit better from my cold but I was still a bit tired.  Then I get a phone call from the home.  Mother had fallen down again but this time she fell on a plate she was carrying and had sustained two large lacerations under her chin.  I put on my coat, grabbed a hot chocolate at Starbucks and went to meet the transfer ambulance at the emergency room.  I walked in just as the ambulance attendant were briefing the incoming nurse.  She was alert and chipper with a huge bandage wrapped around her chin and head. She was even laughing.   Her top was soaked in blood.  By the way, I saw the emergency room doctor we saw a couple months ago and said a quick hello.

It took 12 stitches to close up the cuts and mum handled it quite well.  Of course, I sat in the waiting room while all the stitching was done.  I changed her into a hospital gown as her top was soaked and drove her back to the home.

I called my sister the next morning to let her know what had happened.  She wants to know what the action plan is.  What?  An action plan?  Other than perhaps changing her shoes as the nurse requested, there was no action plan.  She stumbled and fell on her plate.  I don’t know what more can be done since the last time we had a care conference, all medical issues had been addressed and her medications were decreased.  She has improved in both her mobility and balance since then.  I also hired a companion 3 days a week at a cost of about $1500 a month.  All of the medical information was forwarded to her and discussed over the phone ad nauseum.

Then last night, my sister calls and puts her friend on the phone who is some sort of psychiatric nurse or something.  She basically said my mother should be in bed all the time or strapped in a wheelchair or else all we could do was pray nothing happened to her.  What the FUCK?!  I tried to patiently explain to her the reality of taking care of elders in a home and that restricting mobile dementia patients was not exactly quality of life.  There is one nurse and two f/t  care aides on the floor of 30 residents.  They are also supplemented with  a couple of people from leisure services for activities during the day.  Then she suggested I could get advertise for volunteers to take care of her all day long.  Volunteers.  Why, yes, the home does have approved volunteers who visit the home and serve tea and coffee to the residents.  Most of them don’t speak fluent English and none of them are trained to deal with dementia patients.   I got increasingly agitated and then asked her to put my sister back on the phone.  I then proceeded to tell my sister exactly how pissed off I was.  Her response, in the condescending defusing tone that you take with irrational people that she just wanted me to hear someone else’s (read: expert) take on the situation.  Guess what, I’m the fucking expert now.  Then she got off the phone.  Hubby was around to hear at least half of the conversation  and he just about had a fit – well, no, he did have a fit.  Which I kinda hate cause I don’t need his fit taking over my fit.

I have no intention of writing her a long email going into graphic detail about how much I don’t appreciate the opinions of her friend who has absolutely no idea of what it takes to take care of my mother and that thinking that restricting my mother’s ability to move would be in her best interests.  I believe that emails are not the most effective way to communicate sensitive issues.  In fact, it is a bit passive aggressive and should only be used as a last resort.  People tend to remember only what they want to in them. Don’t want mother to fall down?  Don’t let her get up at all!   Great idea.  My mother has a walker, but she can’t remember to use it and she does not have one on one care all the time.  So that’s why I hired the companion.  I can increase the days she works though.

I understand that people care and that people have their opinions.  I don’t even mind hearing them most of the time.  But when someone implies well, then since I won’t listen to her all we have is prayer to rely on – THAT PISSES ME OFF.  #1) don’t put someone else on the phone if you have something to say  #2) if you had any faith in prayer at all, then you should feel confident and relieved.  #3) you have no idea what  you’re talking about because you can immobilize YOUR patients, but you have no right to suggest immobilizing my mother.  In any case, I need to speak to my sister on the phone  and when I calm down, I will.  I will also remind her that she can take over my mother’s  care any time she wishes to or demonstrate that she has faith in my ability to do the best I can.   I understand that she feels helpless and wants to have input.  I get that, but she has to demonstrate a little fucking common sense.  She can’t micromanage the situation.  I am the one who gets the calls, I am the one who has to go the emergency room.  Sometimes I wish she could have moved here because I would have made her jointly responsible and then she could take over and I have a break.  I wish I could share responsiblity but since my sisters are 3000km away, that’s not going to happen.

I just had to get that off my chest.  Thanks for listening.