So, it’s been a few weeks since I last posted an update on my mother’s health situation. I wish I could say that’s because all has been running smoothly. Rather, I have been absorbing what it must be like to grow old, to have heart failure, to watch your independence slip away.
We brought my mother home after she signed herself out of the hospital, AMA. For the next 24 hours, she followed through with the oxygen requirements, medication regimen, but she drew the line at having VNA help her.
In fact, she kicked the nurse out.
At least, the nurse was gracious. I wondered how often that kind of thing happened. Considering the fact the nurse maintained her composure, I figured that kind of thing happened a lot.
From there, the situation got dicey. Mom was unsafe in her home. Nights were the worst as she continually removed the oxygen tubing because it interfered with her sleep. Then she’d wander from room to room. My sister and sister-in-law had been able to sleep over for the first 2 weeks, and each night there was a new problem. She’d take out the O2 knowingly, or it would fall out as she tossed and turned in her sleep, or she’d have vivid dreams that she was sure were real and got up to investigate.
Each morning the O2 level was in the 80th percentile. Every time we tried to reason with her, she would ask about her doctor. She was still upset that he hadn’t been allowed to visit her in the hospital, and was convinced that only he knew how to help her.
I tried in vain to get an appointment earlier with her doctor, but no luck. He was booked solid, and the best we could do was to wait another 4 weeks before we could see him. The practice offered appointments with other practitioners, but my mom only wanted HER doctor.
I understand she comes from a time where doctors made house calls, where you saw one doctor for absolutely everything. There was no such thing as ‘specialists’ or a ‘team of doctors’ when my mother grew up, and that’s the healthcare system she remembers and longs for.
Unfortunately, she happened to have the one doctor on the seacoast that is nicknamed ‘Dr. Sexy.’
No, McSteamy’s not my mom’s doctor. But judging from the giddy female patients around town, Dr. Sexy could easily fill in McSteamy’s shoes now that he’s off the show.
Wow, major aside. Back to business.
My mother grew more belligerent when she learned she couldn’t get in to see her doctor. She was convinced there was some sort of conspiracy against her.
We had a family pow-wow and laid it on the line with her. She had to keep the O2 in if she wanted to get better. We brought in some surprise key players (alas, not Dr. Sexy). I guess this could be termed an intervention, although there were no letters read and there was no official mediator.
We got through to her.
For the next 3 weeks, she was one surprise after the other. She changed her mind a lot, fixated on her meds, wanted to drive again, accused us of selling her furniture. But! She wore the oxygen, so for the most part, she was on an upswing.
Still, I counted down the days till we could get that damn appointment.
Curious about how this all started? Catch up: