Never a dull moment in Memory Care. Last week Dorothy’s home was on lock down because someone tested positive for Covid 19. So, the facility was shut down for 10 days. During the last part of the shutdown moms Bursitis flared up. It’s in her right lower back, hip and down the side of her leg to her knee. It’s painful! While I called several times over the last two weeks during lock down to check on mom- no one said anything about her being in pain. I know that pain like this is quick and out of nowhere. So, I do not know how long she has been complaining. The home called the doctor, and the PA came and did an x-ray on her on Friday- no broken bones- so the doctor did nothing. Not even pain pills to help with the pain were given.
We learned of this Friday late morning when I called the home to check on mom. I immediately called the doctor’s office – but the answering machine came on. I left a message at 11:45- knowing that the office closes at 1:00. I “ASS”umed that they would call me back before they closed the office as I stated it was urgent and that mom was in pain and needed some relieve. They did not call back. I called twice after that on Friday afternoon and early evening – I did get a” live in person” every time but it was the answering service, but no call back came. Again, I stated that this was urgent, Dorothy wa sin pain and we needed to talk to someone. )-:
At 6:00 am on Saturday, I received a call from an unknown number- I do not sleep with the phone in my bedroom- and when I checked the phone at 7:30- the message said to call back on the number that they called in on. The number took me straight to the answering service, who stated that “they” could not help me- no one was on call, and it was an emergency to go to the emergency room. They called Paul as well but at 7:00 AM – and he was busy and told them he would call them right back- when he called back it his call also went to the answering service with the same response and the same response. )-: So I went “virtual” I left a few messages on the Patient Portal on the doctors website. Thinking the virtual assistant messaging might be more “logical”.
Saturday after lunch the shutdown was lifted at moms’ home, so, Paul and I went to see what was up with mom. When we walked in Dorothy was sitting in a chair with pain all over her face. I said “Hello mom! How are you feeling today”? Her immediate response was “Well Cheryl, I’m not doing good at all – my back and leg hurt so bad I can hardly stand it”. Knowing moms demented state this confirmed to me how much pain she was in. So, off we went to Urgent Care.
Two hours later- (which was a record visit to an Urgent Care) we were back at the home. After talking to the doctor at urgent care and bringing him up to speed- he prescribed pain meds-enough for 5 days- and a three-day steroid. While I’m not a fan of steroids I was hoping it would help relax the inflamed area. We gave her a pain pill before we were out of the parking lot of the pharmacy. Looking back, I wish I would have given her two. (-:
When we got back to the home, she felt like taking a shower-so, I helped her get clean and “feeling refreshed “– as she says. Still in pain but ready for supper and bed. (-:
I left a third message on the patient portal at the website Saturday evening. I let them know firmly, but kindly again to help me understand why we have not heard back from them. Is no one on emergency call? Why were pain meds not ordered for Dorothy when she was in obvious pain? Help me understand what constitutes an emergency? Aren’t old people are subject to emergencies all the time, and sometimes they do not require an emergency room visit. they just need someone on call to help them get through a “weekend”. Especially with demented folks- they cannot talk for themselves, and they should not be sent to an emergency or anywhere alone.
I also let them know of the day’s events that occurred at Urgent Care, and what the doctor had prescribed and that he had given pain meds for the next 5 days. But that I still needed someone to reach out to me.
I was off to see mom and as soon as I got there, she had just finished lunch. So, we went back to her room- I rubbed tons of cream on her and put on the hot patches. As she was already laying down on the bed, I covered her with a blanket and told her a nap might be a good idea. She agreed and before I was out of the room, she was asleep. (-: I gave the over-the-counter cream to the nurse, told her of the conversation I had with the PA and that the directive was on the way along with the pain pills. Which would be needed if the 5 days that the urgent care was not enough.
It’s Tuesday as I sit and write this, and I am still fighting for mom to be pain free. I just got off the phone with the home and the drugs are still not there and the directive they gave for the over the counter cream was “pea size” for the area. ? “A little dab will do you” is not going to work in this case. Where is the common sense? Sigh! Heavy Sigh!
At 9AM on Sunday morning I got a call from the Physician’s Assistant, not the doctor. The doctor has never seen mom, only the PA. Anyway, she informed me that the doctor instructed her to call me direct after he read the messages I had sent. I asked the questions and she answered them. She said she had put in an order for the pain pills on Friday but could not guarantee when they would be delivered. Really? The AP and I spoke for a while and got things “ironed” out. My message was clear to her- that our goal is to keep mom worry and agitated free, and out of pain and very comfortable. Dorothy has lived an amazing life, but, while she may still be “living” she is at the end of her life. She is not going to get well again, she is not going to be the person she was a few years ago, she is going to continue to go downhill from here and she needs to be able to do it in comfort, with grace and painfree. The PA agreed and assured me mom would have her medications and the directive for “BenGay” or similar pain cream – (which I asked her if she could give a directive and that I would pick up over the counter.). The phone call ended on a positive understanding on both sides.
I know the easy option would be for me to bring her home. But I cannot give her 24-7 care. I was not given that gift. Even the nurses and caregivers at the facility get to go home after 8 hours.
So, I will continue to carry the flag for Dorothy and help her in anyway that I can. As I type this, I have sent a text to the PA- waiting on a reply. I am also waiting on a reply from the pharmacy which is in Alabama- which the request for help must be made online on the portal- they do not take phone calls. ??? But I am of full hope that this issue will be taken care of today. (-:
It’s unbelievable. !@#$%%^&*() What do people do –who do not have anyone fighting for them? Why is the system at this stage of life not geared towards common since and comfort for those who need it most?
Someone please help me understand that.
Continued Love & Light,