The past two weeks have been a roller coaster ride with my mother. She was placed in the hospital 3 weeks ago with Pneumonia, she had a sever case and was hospitalized right away when I brought her into the ER. It was a really rough stay for her, which I will spare you the details as there are some that were very hard on her. I can honestly say that she had the family very worried about her and if she would pull through after a blood transfusion, 8 different antibiotics, and not being able to hold anything down. There were many other things that she had to endure and honestly I wished I could change places with her daily so that she would be okay and be able to go home. I had never seen her so scared, so weak, so fragile, and just pleading for something to finally work and get rid of it.
She had such great care at the hospital! Amazing nurses, Dr’s, therapists, everyone did an amazing job and I know that’s why she started to get better. The Dr’s even stated that she was not their “Normal” case of Pneumonia. My mom looked at me as we both laughed, I explained to the Dr. that we do NOT do anything normal. It’s to boring, we have to spice things up, if there is a 1 in 8 trillion people something out there one of us will get it. We have to keep them on their toes and give them a run for their money. lol The Dr. did agree with us, and he laughed with us as well.
She was better and then my daughter and granddaughter got sick so she couldn’t come home right away. So she went to a Rehab center, which we thought would be great for the little while she would be there because she would have physical therapy and she would have therapy to help her strengthen her throat muscles as she was having a problem with eating foods without choking. So we found a place that was close to our home, so if she needed anything I could be there in a matter of minutes. So she was moved to the Rehab center. The first night, I got her settled and she was worn out from the trip there and everything she had been doing at the hospital. So she went to sleep, and I was there the next day for her.
First shift had been great, very attentive, very kind to their patients, smiling, laughing with them, I thought “Perfect, she is going to get really good care here”. I went home for a bit because she was sleeping and didn’t want to wake her. I come back and my mom’s skin is a sheet white (for her) she is Italian so she has a darker skin color. I look at her and I’m like “OMG! What is going on is she relapsing?” all the sudden I’m asking myself “Why am I not hearing her oxygen concentrator?” I look at the machine and it’s turned off!!!!!!! I turn it back on and have my mom breathing deeply in and out so that she can get the oxygen, push the nurses button and the CNA comes in. I ask her why the oxygen is not on and WHY is my mother looking this way??? She states that she turned it off. I asked her “Why? I need you to explain to me why you would do this!” She said “She thought she was suppose to.” Meanwhile my mom is looking like she is ready to go back to the hospital again. I keep her breathing and if she wasn’t looking better in a few minutes I was calling the ambulance myself. I tell the CNA “that they better not touch her concentrator again.” She apologizes and said she was so sorry. I was nice with her or as much as I could be considering my mother’s state and I was busy focusing on her. The CNA left the room and I continued to monitor my mother. She had been without oxygen for a couple of hours, so I was livid. My mom started to look better, and I sat with her to ensure she would be okay for the rest of the shift. Her color improved and I was breathing a little easier. So I sat with her the rest of the shift to ensure that she would be okay. Meanwhile, the staff is not coming in to check really on her, even with the CNA knowing what happened. So I wouldn’t leave her till she was sleeping.
The next day I go in during the day shift and my mom was wore out and sleeping from the event the night before. However, her coloring had improved which I was thrilled to see. So I let her sleep and then came up later. My mom was already upset when I got there. I was asking her “What’s wrong?” She looks at me and said it’s taking 45 minutes to an hour to go to the bathroom, get juice, or anything else. So I told her “I will be staying with you again this evening, so I need you to relax and breath in through your nose for a minute.” I wanted to calm her down. I took off my jacket, got her walker and took her to the bathroom. She then sat on her bed and was filling me in on the care of the 2nd shift. (Same shift as the turning the oxygen off) So I sat there for a while to see what was going on. I was understanding why it was taking so much time they were in the halls joking around and laughing, on their cell phones, and so on. So I just got my mom the things she needed and if her roommate needed something I went out and got them and told them because they were ignoring the “Call buttons”. So I was a little annoyed myself with the whole situation. I stay for the shift and make sure she has everything she needs and gets to the bathroom and anything else she needs.
Then I go in and my mom is happy with the staff in the morning, She seems a little tired but she is doing okay. We get to 2nd shift again and I go in as soon as I get the kids home from school and my daughter’s job. My mom is already worked up because it’s changing of the shifts, she dreads 2nd shift. So I again stay with her the whole shift get her to the bathroom and everything she needs. We then decided that I would be bringing her all her meals as the food left a little to be desired and she was having a problem eating it. The shift continues with the staff ignoring the call buttons. So my brother and I discussed it. We decided that she needed a “New Nurses Call Button” so I went to the store and bought her an air horn. Oh, yes, I am THAT daughter. Did I mention it’s an air horn for a 64 ft. boat??? Yes, I tested it before I brought it to her! I also picked up some markers and some construction paper as well as some tape. I posted a letter to 2nd shift on her wall that said the following:
Att: 2nd Shift Staff:
My Mother has been given a “New Nurse’s Call Button”
since you ignore the room “Call Buttons”. It takes
way to long to get them to the bathroom, juice or
anything else that they need.
IF this “New Nurse’s Call Button” goes missing I
WILL buy one for EVERY patient on this wing and
teach them a Christmas Song with it!
The care leaves a lot to be desired on this shift!
You need to take pride in your work and remember who
is paying your pay check! If you have a problem with
this please my daughter!
The nurses requested to see what her “New nurses call button”
was so my mom showed one of the nurses. (She evidently didn’t read my whole message to them) and went to take it from my mom. My Mom said ” I take it that you didn’t read the whole note, but I think you MAY want to before you leave the room with that!” So the nurse read the whole message. She looked at my mom and said “Well, who does she think she is?” My mom said “She is my daughter, and my advocate and she GETS me what I need, but if you feel brave take my air horn, tomorrow everyone will have one! My daughter does not kid around!” The nurse put the air horn back in the drawer where she found it not knowing that my mom had a spare. lol Was I kidding about getting every patient an air horn and teaching them a Christmas song??? Far from kidding it would happen! I was already WAY beyond fed up with that shift! So I went home before this event took place to put my children to bed and then went back to check on my mom and take her to the bathroom and get her changed for bed. I get there and I get the walker to take her to the bathroom, and her color is off again, but I hear the concentrator so I think she is just worked up from the nurse. She goes to stand up and her hose is off her oxygen AGAIN! My mom starts to get upset again and I calm her down as I plug the hose back up to the concentrator again. Take her to the bathroom, get her ready for bed and get her comfortable in her bed. I shutter to think about how long my mom would have been off her oxygen if I had not gone back, it could have been all night!
I take some deep breaths and I go outside for a minute for some fresh air because I’m about to snap. I sit outside for about 5-10 minutes, I go back inside and go to the nurses desk and talk to one of the nurses that we have not had. I ask her when the Rehab Home administrator will be in as it’s the weekend and I was told they would be in the next morning. She asked if I would like to file a complaint. “YES! Yes, I would like to do just that!” I said. So she started to take my complaint and I explained everything going on and one of the nurses decided to make her way into our conversation. She stated that she had been in by my mother and that everything looked just fine. I asked her “So you checked the hose on the concentrator and it was connected?” She stated “No, I didn’t check the hose”, she started to take me to my mom’s room, where she proceeded to tell me that “It’s Okay” that she was not on her oxygen and that she will be fine. I went back by the other nurse with her the nurse that was in the room with me trailing behind. I was fuming and told her “It is NOT Okay by any means!” I finished filing the complaint and was just seeing red. I then went back to my mom’s room and get my mom settled for the night.
I talk to the Social Case Worker and explain all that has been going on. That I will NOT leave my mother on 2nd shift so she will be going home after the weekend. I’m the one taking care of her there anyways so she doesn’t need to be there. My mom was feeling up to a shower so I asked them for a 25′ oxygen hose because there is no where to plug in her concentrator in the shower room. So it has to stay outside of the shower room. Okay fine, not really caring as long as she can get a shower. The CNA comes back and tells me that “She can get a shower without her oxygen they said.” I swear if looks could kill! I looked at her and stated again “Please get me a 25′ oxygen hose.” so she leaves the room to look for one. So I can’t figure out why it’s taken so long to just grab one. So I go out to the nurses desk, I hear her say “I’m going to go check the basement to see if we have one.” Okay REALLY! so I look at her and tell her “Forget it, I’m going to run home to get one!” This is the ONE AND ONLY time that you will ever hear me say “Thank you dad for being a hoarder of sorts and having extra oxygen tubing on hand came in handy as well as the extra connectors!
I got back to the Rehab home and my mom had fallen asleep. So I changed over the oxygen tubes and let her sleep a little bit as she was so upset with everything. I then took her for a shower, I pushed her and her oxygen concentrator down the hall and then they helped me figure out where to plug it in at. I gave her a shower, and she felt better, which I was happy to see.
I got her back to bed, while she was relaxing again, I made her meal and she ate. I then got her ready to go to bed. So that day did not go as bad as normal because I was doing everything for my mom, so we were both calmer.
It has been a roller coaster ride. I just do not understand how one shift of CNA’s and Nurse could not take pride in their job. It really makes me wonder, what if I was the one taking care of one of their family members, and I cared for them like they did the residents, how would they feel??? How could the 1st and 3rd shift run so smooth but the 2nd shift be so off? I can honestly say that it was the first time my mom was in a Rehab Home and it will be officially the last! Needless to say that I have a meeting this morning with the Rehab Home Administrator, I’m hoping they tread lightly, because with the lack of sleep, being frustrated with my Mother’s care, and trying to be there and at home, I am exhausted. So I have no sense of humor left. Wish them luck!
Photo credit to forcella.biz