My mother surprised me last Friday. I went to pick her up to take her to get her hair done and for lunch. No, she still wasn’t ready when I got there. What took me by surprise was when we left the room and began walking down the hall. She took a few steps and then stopped. “I don’t think I can go any further,” she said. “Shall I get the wheelchair?” I said expecting an angry reply of “No, I’m never going to use a wheelchair. I don’t need it.” Instead it was a calm answer of, “Yes, I think that would help.” Except for the pain of lifting it in and out of the car trunk, I think I was happier with using the wheelchair than she was. Instead of walking slowly three paces behind or in front of her, we were able to zip into the restaurant and right up to a table. Afterward I took her on a quick tour around the mall before her hair appointment. Oh, how free that felt!
ER Nightmares Part II
We only had to wait about 10 minutes before my mother was called in to see the doctor. As we were shown into the small room back of the intake desk we passed several people with white coats who were facing computers. When we were settled and my mother’s blood pressure taken, one of the white-coated doctors entered the room. The doctor gave an explanation similar to what the other doctor had said. They were going to draw blood to do tests that would determine if there was an infection. Septicemia could be very dangerous. After my mother was settled in the room next to the “computer room”, I went back to sit in the lobby. I well remembered the last time I took her to a lab to draw blood. She refused to get out of the car. This was in the middle of summer. In 112º heat. After an hour’s worth of time with my going back and forth to the lab telling them, “It’ll be just a few more minutes,” she finally gave in.
From the lobby I had a view of my mother sitting in her chair waiting. Soon a young male nurse walked up to her, talked for a few minutes and then left. I knew what had happened. I left the lobby, passed my mother and entered the “computer room”. The young nurse was sitting in front of one of the computers talking with the doctor. “Are you going to take my mother’s blood?” I inquired. “She told me she didn’t want me to do it,” he said. “So,” I said, or something like it. “We can’t take her blood if she refuses,” he said, with the doctor nodding agreement. “I thought the tests were important. She doesn’t know what she is doing. She isn’t capable of reason,” I said raising my voice a bit. “Well, what we can do is call a social worker,” the doctor offered. “Maybe she can talk with her.” “Great,” I said. They said when she came they would tell her I was waiting in the lobby and she would meet me there first. After about 40 minutes the social worker, a large amiable woman, came to meet me and I had high hopes. As we entered the small patient room she asked one of the nurse’s assistants to get my mother. As I began to explain to the social worker why we needed to talk with her my mother slowly entered the room with her walker. I still can’t grasp what happened next. “She’s crazy,” my mother said pointing to me. “I brought her to the hospital and she refuses to have her blood taken.” I didn’t need to have taken psychology courses to know this was a classic case of projection! As soon as I had closed my mouth, I began to protest. Sensing conflict, the social worker asked me to leave so she could talk with my mother alone. 10 minutes later she came up to me in the lobby. “Have you just been released from a mental hospital? Have you ever been in a mental hospital?”
To be continued . . .