Fighting for Justice ~ the hospital stay pt. 1
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
After the paramedics were able to get my father calmed down and some meds into him to help him relax for the short ride to the hospital, we left his room. I stopped at the front desk, pulled the manager on duty aside, and showed her the video clip of what happened early that morning, and she was shocked and appalled. She asked me to forward it to the director, and I assured her that I would do that. I arrived at the emergency room before the ambulance did so, I was able to get the paperwork started, and once my dad arrived, and they had him in one of the cubicles, they called me back there. I had informed the staff and, I'm guessing, the paramedics that he had Alzheimer's, so it was best for him not to be left alone, so they got me back there fairly quickly. Out of an abundance of caution, the paramedics had placed one of those "C-collars" on dad, and I was glad they had given him some meds to relax him because those things don't look comfortable at all!!
I don't recall how long we spent in the ER before they transferred my dad to his own room, but it was for quite a while. They took some X-rays to make sure nothing was cracked or broken, and they took blood and urine samples for the whole panel of tests, which is pretty standard when you go into the ER anymore. So, we waited in the ER cubicle until at least most of the test results came back, AND a room was available. Ultimately he was admitted due to an altered mental state.
This wasn't the first time we had been in this ER/hospital, so I kind of knew my way around the maze of hallways that all seemed to blur together as the aide wheeled the gurney style bed to the elevator to go up to the room my dad would be in for the next four (4) days. As they got my dad settled into the hospital bed, they also brought in a "TeleSitter" for his room. This was something new to me that they had not done the last time he was admitted to the hospital. As I understand it, this is a remote patient monitoring system that has a staff person monitoring multiple patients via audio and video feeds. There is a camera system set up on an IV type pole in the corner of the room, and in the case of my father, who was a fall risk if he were to get up out of bed and ignore the bed alarm, the staff person monitoring the video feed would come across the audio and ask him to get back in bed. The staff watching my father must have been informed that I was staying with him in the room because they deferred to my judgment most of the time when he tried to get out of bed.
When dad got settled into his bed and drifted off to sleep a little, I called my husband and let him know that I would be staying at the hospital with my dad. I still hadn't given him or anyone in the family the full details as to what was going on and what led to him going to the hospital in the first place. That was normal for me; I kept it to myself and figured I would handle as much of it as I could on my own. He was my dad, and there was no other person to do it besides me since I was an only child. I then talked to my daughter Megan who was living at our house at the time, and asked her to come over to the hospital the next day so I could run home, take a quick shower and pack a bag for myself since I knew it would be another couple of days that we would be there.
I was hoping dad would be settled down and take it easy that evening and into the night, but I wasn't that lucky. He didn't want to take his meds for the nurse, but he finally took them for me after some discussion and pleading. After he took his meds, we talked for a while like we usually did on my visits with him, and as usual, it turned to him wanting to go back home. I had to remind him that he had a pretty bad fall, and he had to stay in the hospital for a little bit to make sure everything was ok. I wasn't going to tell him what I had captured on video; I figured if he didn't recall it, that was for the best. That night was not a very restful one for either of us. He would wake up and want to get out of bed which would wake me up, and I would get him to lay back down and remind him what was going on, and then we would both drift off to sleep and start the cycle all over again.
I say the cycle would start all over again, but for me, it was a cycle of watching him drift off while I was researching elder abuse. That pretty much consumed my night, and I really couldn't sleep at all; that was to be the norm over the next few days.
to be continued...