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.