Nursing Nightmares

While my mom was at work the other day, my dad fell while hunting the elusive Percocet. He must have banged his head on the refrigerator on the way down and then lay unconscious in a huge puddle of blood for a while. From what we can tell, he eventually came to and unsuccessfully tried to dial 911. He then got up on his walker and made his way out to the apartment hallway where someone found him collapsed in front of the elevator.

He sustained a huge purple lump on his head and a large cut that needed stitches. The lump on his head reminds me of the third eye that all of my childhood goldfish developed, causing my mother to immediately flush them down the toilet.

Because Dad is too big to be flushed, the hospital sent him to a rehab for a few days. Unfortunately, they actually called two rehabs and the wrong one picked him up. Now, don’t get me wrong, the people that worked on the main floor seemed to be very nice; however, the people that worked on the first floor or cellar as I liked to call it were somewhat forgetful…of my father.

He was admitted Wednesday night. Thursday was Thanksgiving and my mother went to the nursing home by herself – she said he didn’t want any company. On Friday morning, I picked up mom and on the way over, she started telling me how horrible the room was and that he was in the basement.

The elevator doors opened to a cacophony of sounds. Hammers, drills, saws. A sign read, “excuse us for our appearance while we are under construction.” Dust was everywhere and the paint fumes were choking. Plastic sheets hung from the walls. Contractors were shouting. I could see that down the hall, there was a day room where many of the residents were holed up, watching TV, but my father wasn’t one of them.

I found his room or should I say, the somewhat refurbished broom closet, I discovered he had no phone or television. He was sitting in the dark ( the broken blinds were drawn and only the bathroom light was on). I asked him why he didn’t have a TV and he told me that when he asked the nurse about a TV and phone she said, “You ain’t got none.”

I blew up. I caused a shit storm. Within 5 minutes, two different men came to his room and tried to install a phone and a TV. I threw them both out. I ran upstairs and demanded to talk to the social worker who told me she had never seen the room he was in. I was yelling so loud that she eventually brought me into her office and shut the door. I made her go downstairs with me and there Mom told her that she wanted him out of there.

I immediately called the nursing home that he was supposed to be in and made arrangements for him to be admitted there the next morning. I volunteered to drive him over in my Durango that minute, but they weren’t able to get him a bed until the next morning. My sister took him over early the next day.

He is now in a lovely room at the new rehab center. I understand that this was a holiday weekend and they were short staffed, but this is just a word of warning for anyone who has an elderly parent or for that matter, anyone they care about in the hospital. Go visit them. Ask questions. Be their advocate, because no one else is.


About JJ

โ€œ"Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.'โ€ William Butler Yeats
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12 Responses to Nursing Nightmares

  1. Bex says:

    Holy crap! That’s outrageous, but alas, I think/fear it’s all too familiar, too. We have husband’s parents now in a skilled nursing area of their retirement facility where they lived in an “independent living apartment” for 10 years. Now they both need help 24/7 and have gone over to the SNF (skilled nursing facility) where they are in two separate rooms. When we were contemplating sending them there, on the web site I read some reviews of the place and read one review by the daughter of a resident there who had just been handled very poorly, the aides kept injuring her dad’s legs with her big rings and not tending to them – infection ensued – etc etc. So far none of that has happened with our folks but what you said is so true…keeping an eye on them is so important because you can’t rely on strangers to do it all, or even most of it!!!

    • JJ says:

      Don’t you think that it’s sad they can’t be in the same room together? Sometimes I just don’t understand rules and policies!

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. poolagirl says:

    That is completely unacceptable! I am so glad you made some good noise!

  3. Robin (originally from South Philly) says:

    You did what was required!!! After my Dad’s death, my Mom lived with us ten months; then independent/assisted senior living apartment complex. Upon becoming terminally ill she was under Hospice care. A Hospice liaison helped me find a private care (residential) home because I was unable to provide the type of care needed for Mom (sigh). I visited six or seven days per week and although my Mom didn’t want me to cause “problems” for her with staff/owners, I voiced my displeasure when unhappy about something related with Mom’s care. Also, provided kudos when deemed appropriate. It’s how this South Philly kid rolls!!!! Although my Mom was completely bed-bound ten months in private care (under Hospice) her mind was sharp! Regardless, I was my Mom’s advocate.

    Hope your Dad is feeling better and has a speedy recovery.

  4. I’m sorry your family is going through so much grief. The only thing sadder is that anyone at all would be forced to live in such deplorable conditions

  5. kathy says:

    Jesus! Sounds like there was a bait and switch going on! The nasty rehab center sneaks in and grabs residents so they can get the money! I’m so glad he’s in the better facility. The poor guy! Good for you for standing up against that ridiculousness!

  6. JJ says:

    I imagine two ambulances racing to the hospital!!!

  7. Judy Miller says:

    Thankfully, none of my family has had to be in a nursing home, but I have heard horror stories from my friends whose parents were. I told them, “We are still mentally capable of being our own advocate, but our parents are not. We have to be for them.” Case in point, when I was sent to rehab after my hip surgery, I was put into a room with a woman who watched and hour of Jerry Springer and an hour of Maury Povich with her two fat, loud daughters lounging on her bed laughing hysterically. After 2 hours, I was in a new room. I made a lot of noise too!!!!! Sometimes, you just gotta!!!

  8. JJ says:

    Jerry Springer AND Maury Povich??? There’s a good way to waste two hours of your life!!! Good for you got making the Noise!!!!

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