Saturday, June 23, 2012

Nursing Home Nearly Killed policy.

So Mom has a heart attack on June 9. Goes into the hospital and is treated for the heart attack and a bladder infection. A week later, she's released and goes into a local nursing home for therapy. And that's where the horror story starts.

The first day Mom has shortness of breath and requests oxygen. None is given. Her 02 levels are okay says the nurse. I tell the RN that oxygen helps her to feel comfortable. Totally ignored.

By Sunday afternoon, Mom is in terrible pain from a growing bladder infection that is spreading to her kidneys. I inform the staff. On Monday the pill arrives as Mom suffers the terrible back pain of the kidney infection. The pill arrives at noon, so a nurse tells me, but they wait to 4:00 pm to give it to her.

Mom appears to have the symptoms of fibromyalgia, so I won't let her start therapy. I tell the nurse until her pain is managed better I'm not pushing her into therapy. That the kind of pain she's in could trigger another heart attack. Mom can't even stand the weight of the blankets on her feet. An aide handles her too roughly while bathing her, so I flat out tell the nurse that from now on I bathe her.

By Tuesday, Mom is getting weaker. She doesn't have much of an appetite and the hospital food isn't that good. She's on a pain medication that makes her hallucinate bugs on the bed to my cats dropping out of the ceiling and floating around the room. She's picking at the food I'm trying to feed her because she can't feed herself.

By Wednesday morning at 6:00 am, Mom is coughing up a clear mucus that turns to a light tan color by 8:00 am. She informs me that she can't swallow anymore. I inform the nurse and a chest x-ray is ordered. Mom is in terrible pain and asks me to get her out there.

Now the really bad part starts...

I go to the nurse's station fed up that it's taking too long for the chest x-ray and inform them that I'm taking Mom out of there. Going to call an ambulance as soon as I get Mom ready.

Her nurse and the head nurse come in. I am informed that it is against company policy for them to call an ambulance for a patient that leaves without the doctor approving it. Okay, so I'll call for the ambulance. Oh, no, I can't do that they tell me. Why? I ask. The ambulance won't come unless the doctor releases the patient. And the hospital where I am taking Mom will not accept her. The only recourse is to discharge her and take Mom in my sweltering hot pick up truck over to the hospital in it. It's about 130 degrees inside my pickup by the way. It's June in a Mississippi sun parked in a asphalt parking lot 130 degrees hot.

I almost believed them, too. Must have been the uniforms. I moved my truck up to the front door to get Mom. It's too hot in the truck for a 93 year old woman who recently had a heart attack.

Anyway, something in my spirit begins to doubt these two. This can't be true. I'm trying to save her life. I get a hold of AMR wheelchair services and they tell me that they will gladly pick Mom up and take her to the hospital but a staff member at the nursing home has to make the call to them before they will. I go back inside and asked two staff members to make the call, but they refused. Against the nursing home policy again. But, I said reminding them, you said they wouldn't come, but they are willing to come out to take Mom to the hospital. They ignored me.

I go outside to my truck fuming mad, fist pounding teary eyed upset, my most dangerous side. I call AMR again and beg desperately with the dispatcher for AMR to come get my mother out of the nursing home and take her straight to the hospital she was released from. I was asked if she had trouble breathing and I said yes. You could hear the congestion in her lungs when she coughed up the phlegm. Five minutes later the ambulance arrives and off goes Mom back to the hospital.

And would you believe the nursing home still refuses to cooperate in saving her life by holding us up in getting her to the hospital? When an ambulance picks up a patient at a nursing home, something called a pink sheet is given to the ambulance driver. The nursing home staff refused to turn it over. Mom and I are moved as one then the other ambulance driver go back to get the pink sheet. They get their pink sheet. One of the nurses is now in trouble with AMR for refusing to turn it over, too. It's illegal what was going on with the way they handled me pulling Mom out of the nursing home and I hope that nursing home gets fined for it.

At the hospital...

A urine sample is pulled and it's the color of tomato juice. Thick and full of pus. I cried like a little kid in the ER when I saw it. I didn't know Mom was that sick.

Now's she's going into three days at the hospital that I was told would not accept her back receiving oxygen treatments to remove the excess fluid build up in her lungs as well as medicines for her kidney, bladder, and lung infection.

I got sick, too. Have spent Thursday, Friday, and today laid up in the bed with a terrible cold and severe back pain. The only reason I could rest though is because Mom is out of that nursing home. As long as I live, she'll never go back into another one, too. I'll stay at her side and help her.

Got to go now, the bug is giving me a bad coughing fit.


  1. Horrible, horrible "people"! I'm so sorry this happened to her!!! An absolute travesty!

  2. Horrible, horrible "people". I pray God will pour out his wrath on them.

  3. What a nightmare! I'm very sorry to hear all of this. I hope you get well soon - you can't care for your mother if you're sick as well.

  4. I am doing better. Woke up hungry this morning though I am still coughing up phlegm. No fever and the crushing back pain is gone. Mom sounds like she has pneumonia when I talk to her on the phone.

  5. You actually have alot of power here online, Charlotte. You can write a review of that nursing home, even throw up a quick site on it to collect complaints. Of course, this might not be worth the effort, depending on how mad you are.

  6. I have to get all my facts straight first. Mom's difficulty swallowing has returned. I have to get well, too.

  7. I asked Mom's doctor if Mom was dying when AMR brought her in. He told me no, but she was close to it. Close to the line that demarcates very ill to the point of dying. Still gathering more data.

  8. How are you and your mom doing? I imagine that you are doing better, but your mother is still in the hospital. It takes a long time to recover at 93.

  9. Took ten days in the hospital to get over five days in the nursing home. Mom is released last Friday afternoon and back at the hospital again 24 hours later. Dehydrated and another UTI.

    It appears Mom can't eat or drink enough anymore at 93 years old to sustain life in her body. She is totally dependent on fluid drips or she'll die from dehydration and the resulting infections that dehydration starts in her body. She's refusing the stomach tube, so she can't be fed with a tube the nutrition she needs.

    Have arranged with her doctor to have Mom brought home next week after the UTI clears up. She's will have hospice at home so she can have fluids at home. If she continues to refuse the feeding tube, I'll have to contact her lawyer to find out the legality of it. Can Mom legally come home and starve to death? Probably not. Might have to get a court ordered feeding tube put in to make her last months more tolerable.

    Mom did okay a DNR (do not resuscitate), so maybe she can block the feeding tube as well. If Mom wants to die, she has to tell me she wants to die or I'll keep exploring alternative ways to keep her alive.

    I'm sick again, so it's very light housework and rest frequently. This cold bug will not let go.

  10. Geez. Maybe her refusing the feeding tube is her not wanting to live. Have you ever seen animals near death? They stop taking food and they go find a nice, quiet place. It has been this way with people in my own family who have died. I hope you and your mother get better.

  11. Mom was sent home on 7/3/12 to die from terminal kidney failure. Her doctor and I agreed it's best if a hospice service handles the end of her days, so she was signed up. Mom gets to come home and die. Her doctor gives her two weeks to live as her kidneys fail.

    Her appetite picked up once she was home. She prefers my cooking over hospital food, it appears.

    Mom knows she is dying and is making the goodbye phone calls to family she cares the most about. She is very weak and with slurred speech wishes them all well. She will probably go into a coma soon as the toxins in her blood build up in her system.

    It's rough watching her die, but I'm the one that was picked to do it, so I'm doing it with as much care and love that I can. I'll miss my old mom. Miss her already.

  12. I cared for my mother-in-law until I physically could not any longer. It is a hard thing to watch your loved one die, but it is best for her that she can have you there and be more comfortable at home. Blessings to you for caring for her.

  13. Mom's 24 hour urine out put has dropped to less than 500 mL. That means she is in full blown kidney failure. She is very weak and speaks in a whisper. Sometimes she hallucinates. If she goes into a coma I will have her sent to the hospice center where RN's can take care of her professionally.

  14. Whoa. 500 mL is nothing. I imagine that she is not eating or drinking much either. You have my sympathy, for what its worth.

    Dying with dignity is important. What are your thoughts on euthanasia?

  15. Thank you for your sympathy, but I am not going to interfere with the natural process of her death.

    I have learned from my Internet research that kidney failure is the least painful way to die. There is some discomfort at first, but as the disease progresses, there is less pain as the patient goes into a coma.

    Euthanasia is a personal choice by the dying person. I can't decide for someone that it is their time to die. I won't assist in that decision, too.