ER Nightmares Part III


Present day update: I spent last Saturday at the Emergency Room with my mother, again.  Atria called me at 6 that morning and said she had fallen at 2AM, the paramedics were called, but they checked her out and said she would be OK.  At 11 o’clock when I was getting ready to leave the house on errands they called again.  “Your mother has fallen.  She said she hit her head. The paramedics just took her to the Emergency Room.”  We were there all afternoon.  They had her neck in a brace and she complained about pain in her right arm.  They took x-rays of her neck and arm and nothing was broken.  I got her back to her room at 5 o’clock. She may not be able to walk again.  We’ll see what this week brings.

ER Nightmares Part III

The social worker quickly concluded that I wasn’t insane, and said, “We’d better talk,” and she led me into a private office next to the “computer room” which I had now dubbed Doctor Central.  “Your mother does not want the tests and there is nothing we can do,” she began.  “But the doctor says she needs them.  Can’t you sedate her and do the tests?  You can tell my mother is not a reasonable person and can’t make decisions for herself.”  I countered.  “Yes. . .” she said, “Maybe there is something we can do.  We can admit her as a 5150 patient.  It is usually reserved for a person who is in danger of hurting themselves or others.  I’ll see what I can do.  You can wait in the lobby and I’ll talk with the doctor.”  A few minutes later she came out. She told me they would be able to admit her as a 5150 under the H&S Code.  They would sedate her then draw the blood to do the tests.  Finally, we were getting somewhere!  “  It should take about two hours. “You can call the ER then and find out if she is to be admitted to the hospital, which they will probably do if they find something wrong,  or she will be released.”  I turned to my husband. “Let’s go home, ” I said.  “I’m tired and I could use a drink.”

I called at 7:30, two hours later as I was told, and asked about my mother.  A nurse came on the line.  “She refuses to have her blood drawn. She is being rather difficult.”  “Are you looking at her chart?” I said.  “She was admitted as a 5150 and needs to be sedated,” I said.  “I don’t see anything about that,” she said.  “I’m going to call the social worker who talked with us.  She can tell you,” I said hanging up.  I had just dialed the number for the social worker and began explaining the situation when our land line rang.  “It’s for you,” my husband said, “It’s the hospital.”  He handed me the phone.  It was the nurse I had spoken to offering me her apologies saying she had just come on duty and wasn’t aware of the situation.  She said they would call when the tests were completed.  We waited. And waited.  Finally at nine my husband went to bed.  “Wake me up if you want me to go with you,” he offered.  I waited.  Decided to have another glass of wine.  And waited.  Finally at 11 o”clock they called.  “You can come pick your mother up.  She is being released.  Her tests were negative.”  Should I wake my husband up?  I had been drinking wine.  I decided  to just go. At this point I didn’t care if they pulled me over.

When I arrived my mother was laying on the bed completely relaxed.  She was talking with the nurse. I looked down at her arm.  She had big bruises from her wrist to her elbow.  “What happened?” I asked.  “They must have had trouble finding a vein,” he answered.  “But her tests came out fine.”   I looked down on my mother, lying there so vulnerable.  Was I wrong to put her through this?   I thought.  Did my mother really know best?


One response »

  1. Yours is one blog I dive into right away as soon as it appears in my email, Kathy. I am sorry for yours and your mom’s travails. I am thinking of you. Don’t second guess yourself. You had no way to know and what if it had gone the other way and you hadn’t had her tested? Get some rest if possible.

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