Mom’s Misadventure

Mom wanted out of the hospital very bad. We couldn’t blame her. She was very frustrated, depressed, and angry and determined that if she went home everything would be okay. She decided she had had enough one day and wanted out. They couldn’t keep her there because she was an adult and could check herself out. Technically she had recovered from what she had gone in for. The problem was her weakness. She wasn’t able walk very far, walk up and down stairs, which her apartment had 3 of, among most other basic needs to live on her own, even with home care.

I got a call at work that she wanted to leave and I yelled and begged my sister for her to be kept in the hospital. Mom could hear me yelling through the phone and I just didn’t care. It was not something that I would have ever done in another circumstance but I just couldn’t help it. I knew that if she left it would be a disaster. I was afraid she would fall down the stairs, break a limb, among so many other things that were going through my mind. She was so fragile. Home care wasn’t set up, nothing was ready. But the doctor couldn’t hold her so they put her in the wheel chair and sent her down to the car. My sister drove the half a block to my Mom’s apartment and went up the driveway. My sister helped my Mom out of the car, which took a few tries and Mom stood up took 1 or 2 steps and fell to the ground. My sister tried to help her up but Mom couldn’t hold any of her own weight. After a few tries, the lady that lived below Mom drove up. She had helped pick Mom up off the floor before when she had fainted and was trained for this type of situation. So between them they got Mom off the driveway and back into the car. My sister drove her back to the hospital. They hadn’t even touched her room yet. The nurse at the Emergency desk seemed to know to expect her back and notified the nurses on the second floor that Carole was back.

Mom never walked on her own again. She had either a walker or was in a wheelchair. It was incredibly sad to see and broke my heart. Leaving for those 10 or 15 minutes set her back farther than she could have known. But she was still determined to get out. And so we talked to her about the options and what had to be done for her to go home. She wasn’t happy about any of it. She made things very difficult for the nurses and the doctor. And I would like to say right now that it was incredibly hard to deal with at the time but there is no room for judgment. None of us were in her position. None of us were facing what she was facing. None of us knew, or know now, how we would behave if we were in her shoes. But these are the facts.

Finally there was a meeting at the hospital. My sister and I went and sat in a family room at the hospital with the people on Mom’s “team”. The doctor, head of the nurses, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social worker, home care were all there to figure out what would need to be done to get Mom out. Each member of the team said what they would need. And we would have to provide proof that the list was taken care of before she could be released. More home care, a new apartment, wheelchair, lift recliner, commode, hospital bed, walker and tub seat were the main ones. Mom was angry and she wasn’t shy about it, in the meeting and after. She said she didn’t need any of the things they had requested, except the new apartment. So we sat with her while she vented and then I told her to just go along with them. So what if they wanted to put that stuff in her apartment. If she didn’t need it then it would just sit there. She didn’t have to use it just because it was there. I told her to just say yes to whatever got her out of the hospital. I made it sound like we were getting the best of them; like she was outwitting the “team”. We made jokes about the hospital bed and the commode. I said maybe Auntie A would like the adjustable bed to sleep in. She might enjoy it. And with the commode it would be like she had her own bathroom. Meanwhile in my head I was just hoping this would work. I was saying anything to get her on our side; anything that would get her to agree to the conditions. We were desperate.
So she finally agreed and we set out to make it happen.