Thursday, October 30, 2008


Last night when I went to visit my mother about 8:00, I found her quite angry. The words (and non-words) flew out of her mouth, and I finally understood that she was telling me that she hadn’t had any supper. When the nurse came in, I asked her about that. With a smile and a condescending voice, she told me, “Oh, she had dinner.” Mother was adamant that she hadn’t eaten, and the nurse finally brought her some thickened milk, all the while insinuating that my mother was confused and had just forgotten that she had eaten. I had my doubts. In spite of her inability to express herself, she is quite oriented and knows exactly what’s going on. On several occasions, she has conveyed information to me accurately, for example, about the results of her swallow study, about the plans to transfer her to a rehab hospital, etc.

When I got to the hospital this evening at 6:30, Mother had just finished feeding herself supper, even though she is supposed to have one-on-one assist, and her bed was fully reclined, even though she is supposed to be sitting straight up while eating. No one had showed up to help her, so she just ate. I figure what happened last night was that dietary brought her dinner and put it on the bedside tray out of reach, and after no one came to help her, dietary just came and picked her tray back up, uneaten. I raised a ruckus, and I don't think it will happen again, especially now that the staff understands that, even though they don't understand Mother, she can make me understand and can complain to me! How easy (and shameful) it is for some folks to shirk their jobs and then use the "she is confused" defense!


Pirate Aggro said...

My mother has had several similar experiences with the care facility that is taking care of her sister who has dementia. Its a constant battle to get them to do basic things. As a result, her sister has been hospitalized twice with pneumonia that could have been prevented with basic medical care. Its another indication of what "health care" has become in this country. Hopefully now with a change in leadership some real reform can happen in our health care system. In the mean time, your mom is so fortunate to have you there as her advocate.