This week has kind of been a blur and a mixture of emotions. However, finally, my Mum has been hospitalised!
Monday started with me in fighting mode, as we entered week four of her inability to move. I phoned the surgery, and explained it was a week since the doctor had said it was urgent she had x-rays, but we had heard nothing and we needed to know what was happening. The person I spoke to was very helpful, and said she would make a call to find out what stage it was at, and let me know. She was as good as her word, and called me back to say the request had been received and we would hear in due course, because it was marked as urgent, but the person who could give an exact time and date was not there until the Tuesday, when she would call again to get answers. At this stage I just lost it, and the tears came. I was tired, and mentally exhausted, and just cried. I demanded a doctor come out to see Old Person, as I didn’t know what else to do with an 88-year-old that couldn’t get out of bed. I was told the doctor would call me back. She did. Firstly she spoke to Old Person who explained the pain wasn’t getting any better, and her leg was till not weight baring. She then asked to speak to me, and I went through the whole thing, and to be honest, I was quite snotty with her, and a couple of times she told me in her best condescending voice that she was trying to help. She agreed to come out and examine her again. When she arrived, she spent about 15 minutes examining Old Person, before talking to me, and explaining, she would phone the orthopaedic consultant at A & E to discuss the best way forward, and she would then call to let me know what was happening. Of course she didn’t call back that evening, but we felt we had taken a small step forward.
Tuesday arrives, and Old Person seemed down. I think she is totally fed up with people doing nothing but lip service. The doctor then calls, and says they have decided to get her x-rays that day, so they can make a decision about what to do. Then the laugh comes when she says for me to take her to the hospital! I of course refused, again explaining there was no way she could manage the stairs, so the doctor begrudgingly agreed to arrange an ambulance to collect her, but it could arrive at anytime. The positive was that because the GP had arranged for her to go to A & E , she wouldn’t have to sit and wait, but would be seen with priority. I therefore got her dressed and we waited. She had two handsome young men arrive to get her out of the house, strapping her to a chair to carry her down the stairs. Both boys were very clingy as they put her into the back of the ambulance. D even tried to stow away with her! She was then off. I didn’t go with her, partly because of the boys, but also to do with her being able to explain what was happening in her words.
About 2 hours later I got a text from her to say she was still waiting, and had seen nobody. The next one came another hour later to say she had been told there was no transport home, and she would have to make her own way – yet she had not seen a doctor at this stage! Eventually she said she was at x-ray, but having to wait for the pictures to be reviewed before they would make any decisions. Then the news we had been hoping for, she was being admitted. The x-ray had shown that her hip was dislocated – she had seen three different GP’s at the house, as well as nurses every day, making her move to dress her wound, and a physio, and yet nobody had noticed that her hip was dislocated, and I am sure they weren’t overly sympathetic a lot of the time to the pain she was telling them she was in. It is believed that the way they manipulate the patient during the operation to drain an abcess at the base of the spine, is known for causing problems, and with her already damaged hip, it had been put out.
I had a call from the ward to tell me where she was, so I could take her in some bits she may need.
I went in that evening, by myself, and she was by herself in a side room, looking thoroughly fed up. She had been left on the trolley, in a store area of the ward until a bed became available – its unbelievable! She was however now comfy, but had been given nothing to eat or drink since she had arrived at the hospital about 11am – it was gone 6.30pm! I asked if she was fasting, and was told she wasn’t, so I asked if they could get her some water, which she finally got just as I was leaving a couple of hours later!
She said they had admitted her, until they could work out what to do with her. They had however told her, that because of her age, they weren’t too happy to operate! Her orthopaedic consultant has had her jumping through hoops doing tests recently to check she was fit to have the original realignment, so to suddenly be told she was too old, had really upset her. They had asked her consultant to come to see her, but he is based at the other hospital, so it is a case of when he can make it over. I am horrified anyone could say this to somebody. It smacks of cruelty, to say to an older person that because of their age they don’t deserve a quality of life. Is she meant to just sit and vegetate until she dies? I just hope her consultant is more understanding to her situation! I tried to talk positively to her, but it was quite hard to find much to be upbeat about.
Today, she sent me a text this morning, to say she was given nothing to eat yesterday, but her corn flakes this morning tasted wonderful!!!! She had slept well, although they had woken her about 11pm to offer her sleeping tablets! They have confined her to her bed, which means toileting is happening via bed pans, and she has managed to flood the bed twice already! Hopefully if they keep her immobile for much longer, they will fit her with a catheter. She sounded happier in the morning light, but had not yet seen her consultant. One gaggle of doctors had been in to see her, and their attitude was to ask why she hadn’t got a stair lift she could use – she pointed out she didn’t have to money for that, and having one wouldn’t actually mend her hip! She seemed to have her fight back.
I went in with the boys after lunch, and she looked much more rested. It must help her mental health to know she is in an environment that can manage your pain relief. She was still waiting to be seen by a doctor, let alone her consultant, but kept being told someone will see her at some point today. She was talking positively about not letting him just fob her off with doing nothing because of her age, and that he has already explained to her about the risks involved in an op – hence all the tests she has been having recently, and her attitude has been that if 1 in 10 die on the table at her age, then it means 9 out of ten live a much better life afterwards! I don’t think she is being unreasonable to demand a quality of life, that doesn’t involve sitting in bed for the next 10 years. I just hope she stays strong when he actually talks to her, and that he has a plan to get her out of pain, and mobile again.
On a purely selfish note, having her in hospital, means that we should get away on holiday next week – the boys need it, and D had many tears about going without me, and me missing M’s birthday if I stayed home. I just don’t think it is right if they try to send her home before getting her sorted, because as it is, out house just isn’t suitable for someone who can barely walk – we have a deep step at the front door that she has problems with ordinarily, her bedroom is upstairs, and our downstairs living is open plan, so there is no way we can make a bedroom for her, and these are just the things I can think of without really thinking too hard!
Time will tell how we move forward from where we are now. Today though, she is in a place where she can be cared for and looked after in a way that I just can not do. I am just hoping now I know she is safe, I can get a better night sleep!