Saturday, July 14, 2007


The house is quiet. Sometimes I like quiet. Today I don't. I've got errands to do and I'll do them, alone.
The thing is, Mom is still in the convalescent hospital and Bobby is still boarding. I took him to Vicky's before I left for Lassen. We thought it would be best that he have doggie company all the live long day while we are both away. I'll bring him home when Mom is back.
Chuggy and I decided to put Mom in the hospital the Wednesday before last. Lots of little things added up to a ten day stay and a week in the Village.
First, a bad case of pink-eye. Then a slurry speech pattern and signs of memory loss. When she told me that it hurts to 'go' and she had a fever of 101, I thought it was time. She admitted that it hurt all the way up to her shoulders...eek!
"Is that why you wanted me to buy cranberry juice?"
After much negotiating, (which seems to be the way we do this anymore) we were able to convince her to let us get her medical help.
We did fall through the cracks at HVMC emergency this time, though.
The wait in the waiting room was short, maybe an hour. When we were in a room with a bed the first thing they wanted was a urine sample and so she toddled off to the loo.
A man came in then, an ordinary man in plain scrubs with a stethoscope.
"Are you Janet?"
Thinking he was a nurse or a lab person or something I told him she was in the bathroom but would be right back. After 20 minutes I followed her, only to discover a frustrated gramma. See, the last few weeks she has had trouble with her over active bladder and now she couldn't go at all! Oh well. She got back into bed, got comfortable.
They took x-rays, blood, took her temperature, blood pressure, and put in a catheter.
We were in a four bed unit and I listened to the various maladies come and go; stomach aches, broken bones, high fevers, malaise. When four hours and six fellow patients had passed, I questioned the attending nurse.
"Oh, she's going to be admitted. She has uro-sepsis; a severe urinary tract infection, and she'll need IV antibiotics. Her temperature is 102, her blood sugar is off the charts and her blood pressure is high and highly erratic."
I waited another hour and then I wended my way to the nurses station. I just stood there and looked at our nurse.
And I stood there.
And stood there.
"Is everything okay, Ma'am?"
"I don't understand," I said.
"You don't die from broken bones. You don't die from malaise, or upset stomachs, or usually, from fever. You do die from sepsis, especially if you are a diabetic. Every other patient in our unit has seen the doctor, some beds twice over.
WHEN WILL MY MOTHER SEE A DOCTOR???? It's been five hours!"
I do not like this pushy-loud part of me but Chuggy says that my 'scrappy-ness' is what has kept Mom going.
We had a brief/hot discussion about his 'job description' (ie: BTW make sure patient sees a doctor) and I suggested that I see his supervisor.
It turns out that the (plain, unidentified, and un-labeled) man who had come in right when we'd arrived was said doctor and he had gone on to other patients and had forgotten to come back. He'd read the lab reports, made a diagnosis, prescribed antibiotic, and admitted her to the hospital, all without ever seeing her.
The nursing supervisor was all apologies; "I've spoken with the doctor and explained to him that this is unacceptable, but please understand, we do not have authority over them or their routine. Danny is an excellent nurse, this is so out of character."
I stumbled home at 2:00am.
I called Brocks to let them know I was home.
Mom was safe.

BTW, cranberry juice is not medicine, Mom. Once you have an infection only antibiotic will help.