Monday, July 28, 2008
Just an insured old lady
…HA’s 90-year-old mother took a header and opened a cut in her forehead. Her pulse was also too slow from a fourth BP med her doctor insisted on adding 72 hours before.
…Her caregivers called 911. HA and her sister drove over immediately. The paramedics gave them the “if it were my mother look” and they reluctantly agreed to take her to the Emergency Room for stitches.
…What ensued was a 48-hour nightmare. First, she could not just get stitches. Over six hours, she got a chest x-ray, CT scan, blood work, urinalysis, and other tests.
…She was so parched, she begged for water hour after hour. An ice chip. Anything. No! What if she threw up? First, she was not getting surgery. Second, what if she were? People never eat lunch and then get in a car wreck?
…She suffers from dementia and begged for water again and again. No water. No vaseline for her lips, no chapstick, nothing.
…What about the stitches? This seemed unimportant. About Hour 9, a doctor peeked at her, she needed to be admitted to the hospital, he said. Sure, she could have water—or a sandwich, would she like a sandwich? After nine hours!
….Finally, a medical student looked at her cut—said it didn’t even need stitches, but the student threw in two for practice. The numbing medicine hurt like mad!
…That night nearing midnight, there was no bed. Sure, HA could take her Mom home against medical advice—didn’t she want to take good care of her, though? Finally, they said they had a “sitter” who could watch over her in the ER and then upstairs when she got to her bed.
…After 11 PM, HA left. At 6 AM, HA called. Her mother had never left the ER. No bed, no sitter. Liars!
…HA’s Mom was also sort of weird, raving, etc. Turns out they had drugged her. She was there for too many drugs and they drugged her!
…When she got the bed, she was out cold. HA could not take her out of there then. So she assured herself the sitter would be there.
…Two hours later, she called—the sitter had been assigned to another patient.
…HA and her sister went back to the hospital (1.5 hour round trip). They called a nurse registry and found someone to come sit with her all night. Hire your own nurse in the hospital? What’s strange about that?
…HA’s Mom had been laughing and joking, then she went to comatose almost, then wan and weak. And HA and her sister sat there most of the time and could not make the proper decisions to make it stop. Should they have said no to her doctor on the fourth med, no to the paramedics, no to admitting her, which?
…They would have had better luck getting her out of jail.