I received a call one morning before I left for work that Dorothy was sick, and the nurse wanted to know if I was going to come and take her to urgent care or the emergency room. I was like, What? Please tell me what is going on. The nurse said she did not know what was going on –but that Dorothy had been sick at both ends. I asked how long this was going on and she informed me maybe 20 minutes. I asked what mom was doing right now- and she said she was in bed. I told the nurse that I would be there as soon as I could.
I did not go see mom until around 11:00 am. I figured that if she had a bug, she would be sleeping and would not want to be bothered. I took some ginger ale and crackers with me- just in case. When I went to check on her, she was indeed in bed, with the covers pulled up over her head. I asked if she was okay and felt her head- she said she was fine, and she was not running a fever. So, I told her I would be back. I stopped to clean up the bathroom and carry the soiled clothes home with me to get them washed.
I went back around 2:00 and she was up, dressed and asking me if I was there to take her out. She was not running a fever and she seemed just fine, so I chose to take her out for some fresh air. As we were walking out of the home, a caregiver came up to me and said that Dorothy was probably sick due to the way a fellow resident had treated her at breakfast.
It appears that mom was being “bullied by a “friend”. The friend had made a sign and forced mom to hold up the sign and carry it around the dining room- for everyone to read. The sign was making fun of mom and a fall that she had last year that ended up in her breaking her hip. If mom was in her right mind, I’m pretty sure she would have told the “friend” to go pound sand.
I’m assuming mom did not realize until too late that she was being made fun of. At the point of humiliation, she left the room- devastated and at that time became ill.
I can see how something like this can make you so embarrassed that it makes you sick. And after hearing this story -I had to bite my lip to not explode. I thanked the caregiver for letting me know what happened and we went on our way. It made total since to me- she was not sick now- but she was “terribly sick” just 7 hours earlier.
We left for a few hours and there was no since in me questioning mom on what had happened. She’s totally in the moment- she doesn’t remember. And I know her “friend” who had played this horrible trick on her- she is also demented, just effected differently than Dorothy.
After I took mom back, I tried to rationally figure out how I was going to address this situation. I decide to send an email to the director and let her know what had transpired with Dorothy. After I sent the email, I felt better and waited for a reply. I realize that this was not a “dire” urgency and I figured I would not hear back for a few days. A week went by and I heard nothing, so, I called and left a message, still no reply. The next day – I resent the message and called again and within 20 minutes the director called apologizing right out of the gate, about not getting back with me sooner.
She assured me that she had gathered all the information concerning Dorothy’s’ “incident” and that the “friend” (bully) had been talked to. She also told me that the “friend” had done this before to several other people and can be quite aggressive in making people do things they don’t want to do. She stated that they had spoken to her and her family in the past about this behavior.
The director assured me that this would not happen again and that they do everything in their power to keep their people safe. At this point- I felt that there is nothing else I can do; I just need to let it go. As of this date there has not been anymore issues- that I’m aware of- the problem is you never know what goes on unless you are there. And I can’t be there, so I just have to believe that all is well.
I can tell you, that it hurt my heart that someone did this to my mom. It was the same hurt when someone takes advantage of your spouse, child, grandchild, sibling and friends. When this happens to the young – we comfort them, face it, talk about it, educate them on how to prevent this from happening again and how to handle these issues going forward. When it happens to the elderly, demented folks we are limited in how we can protect them. Especially, if we do not have the luxury of taking care of them ourselves.
When I see this “friend”, I try not to treat her any differently, but I can assure you that my contact with her is limited, short and sweet.
All my brother can do is keep going to see mom, be aware, and drop in at different days and times. And continue to give mom the love and support that we can.
Love and Light!