Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Week In Review

I just realized that it's been a week since I last posted. I really wish that was because I had nothing going on.

My therapist is back, so occupational therapy restarted for me. It turns out that he was in the hospital. I've teased him mercilessly about running away for a vacation.

On Tuesday I took Donny to see the oral surgeon. He absolutely refuses to put Donny under general anesthesia. I can't say that I blame him. So instead he's going to give Donny a pill to relax him and then pull all his teeth. But of course that can't happen until he talks to the doctor and finds out for sure what kind of infection Donny has in his legs. I think that the blood cultures should be done now, so that shouldn't be a problem.

On Thursday I took Donny in for a follow up with our doctor about his legs. We've been there so many times lately that I'm beginning to wonder if the doctor hates to see us coming.

That afternoon he had an appointment with a doctor for Social Security. Donny thought that he'd be seeing a regular doctor, but that's not what happened. He saw a psychologist for some mental testing that they wanted done.

That appointment was actually rather interesting. It started with an interview. The doctor would ask Donny a question and then we'd sit there while he'd try to figure it out. Then the doctor would turn to me and let me know that now it was okay for me to answer. There were very few questions that Donny could answer. Even when the doctor was asking about Donny's sibling's mental health history I knew more than Donny did. I was shocked to realize how little Donny remembers now.

I was able to sit there and watch the doctor administer the tests. It was really interesting to see what Donny could do and how much was beyond his grasp. There was even one point where the doctor and I started discussing how interesting it was to see how Donny's mind processes information.

And then yesterday I had a day without Donny. I went to therapy in the morning. In the afternoon my mom and I went out to her friend's house to pick yams. The field behind this lady's house was harvested earlier in the week and the owner had said that what was left behind she could help herself to. He also said that she could let her friends help themselves as long as they understood that it was at their own risk, if they fell on the uneven ground his insurance wouldn't cover it. So now we have more yams than we'll ever eat.

Last night I had to go in to work, I thought for about an hour. When I got there I had more to do than I realized. I was printing raffle tickets when the printer stopped working. I got no error message or anything, it just wouldn't go. It took me a few minutes to figure out the problem.

If you open your printer up most likely you'll see a cable that looks like a ribbon that runs the thing with the ink cartridges back and forth. That cable had completely disintegrated and the wires inside it had frayed and snapped. The worst part is that this may end up being expensive to repair. My dad said that the part is cheap and the labor is easy, so getting one installed shouldn't be that expensive. (He's my leading authority on all things computer, since he's a programmer.) He also said that unless we know why that happened it's pointless to try and fix it. So I broke the printer at work, possibly beyond repair. Not bad for a couple hours work.

And then today I had a midterm in my tax preparer class. It was actually pretty easy, but since I never found time to study I was a nervous wreck going in. I can already tell you one thing I got wrong, it was a bonehead mistake that I made just because I was nervous.

That's what my week looked like, how was yours?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

ER vs. ER

The fun began again. Yesterday I was sitting in class when my cell phone rings. It was Donny letting me know that he was going to the hospital. His legs were swollen and had ared area on the front of them when I left the house that morning. He said that they were even bigger and the redness was spreading. I got off the phone with him and made arrangements to go to the ER to meet him.

On the way to ER the friend that I was with called my mom. She apparently was unaware of the fact that her and my dad were taking Donny to the hospital. When I finally got it straightened out it was a case of miscommunication, but it was frustrating getting things resolved.

I ended up waiting at the ER for an hour before Donny arrived. (This was to be expected since we live about 45 minutes away, but my class is just a couple miles away.) When he got there I signed him in and the waiting began. I hate going to ER unless it's bad enough to think the person might need to be admitted. However, on a Saturday our choices are limited.

Donny had been signed in for probably an hour and a half when he got one of the hall beds. This was much faster than I had dared hope for, so I was pleasantly surprised. The only real problem that I have with a hall bed is that there's no curtain to pull around Donny so that he can't see what's going on. When he saw a lot of people being discharged around him he started complaining about being ignored. He stopped everybody in scrubs that he could get to stop to try and get what he wanted, whether it was a blanket, something to eat, or pain meds. And we were by the door to the break room, so I had to hear an endless complaint about how the nurses weren't doing anything but drinking coffee. I hate hall beds now.

Finally one of the nurses that Donny stopped said that he'd go check the board to see where we were at in waiting for the doctor, since it'd been a while and still no doctor. He came back and let us know that he'd try to find somebody to see us since we'd been waiting longer than anybody else and, even though you get bumped for more critical patients, it had been too long of a wait. I was surprised that anybody would actually say that somebody had been kept waiting too long, especially in the ER.

When the doctor got there he seemed rather put out at having to deal with Donny at all. He barely said anything, did a quick exam, and disappeared. I don't understand why, but he seemed to have ordered every test under the sun. They did a chest exray, sonogram of the legs, EKG, and a wide variety of blood tests. The blood tests and sonogram made sense to me, but not the exray or the EKG. When they came to do the EKG I asked if there were concerns about his heart, and the nurse said no, the doctor just ordered every test for Donny. It was just odd.

In the end they decided that it was cellulitis and that he could go home once he'd had his antibiotics. The doctor came to tell us this and he started talking about the prescriptions that he was going to give Donny. At that point we let him know that our pharmacy is closed until Monday. He said to go to Walgreen's, just down the road. I let him know that we're on MIA and so we can only use the one pharmacy and he looked at me as if I was something unpleasant that he had just stepped in. The only reason that we even said something is that one of the ladies at our pharmacy said that there's supposed to be an agreement with the ER that if they see an MIA patient on the weekend that needs meds at home they'll be given enough to make it to Monday out of the hospital's pharmacy. I won't make that mistake again.

When Donny's nurse needed to do the blood tests and put in the IV she had a really hard time with it. She didn't manage to get it until the fourth try. It was really hard on him. And then the IV only worked for a little while. When the IV quit working the nurse came back to take a look at it. She said that it hadn't gotten pushed in too far and she pulled it out a little. Donny let her know that it was really hurting him, but she seemed unconcerned.

A little while later Donny asked me to check if his IV was still dripping. At the same time that I was telling him that it had quit working again another nurse came by and heard us. Since it was change of shift he just took a look at it himself. Donny's IV had fallen out completely and was just dangling there. This guy had no problems getting a vein to pop up for him, and he got the IV in without any trouble. Or at least, without any trouble until Donny sat up. Then his freshly placed IV started dripping blood everywhere. There was enough blood that he could almost make the claim that he'd been shot and have it look believable. Oh well, at least that nurse was willing to joke around and so he got Donny back into a good mood.

We signed in at ER at about 1:00, Donny got discharged at 9:00. It took 8 hours to find out that he had cellulitis. But at least I know that he didn't have a heart attack. I got home and fell into bed.

This morning I got woken up by the sound of my mom saying Ow repeatedly. A little bit later there was a knock on my bedroom door. It was my mom. She fell in the shower and reinjured herself where she hadn't healed yet from falling 2 weeks ago. She wanted to know if I would take her to the ER.

At least they use different ERs, so I get a little variety. The one that she went to today was recently rebuilt and it's nice. There's 2 rows of room with a nurse's station in between. I finally found one ER that has a window for the staff. And the covers on the light have pictures, so there's something to look at when you're laying in bed. It's really nice there.

We walked in to ER around 9:50. My mom checked in and a few minutes later was seen by triage. A doctor came in and talked to her in triage. We were sent back to the waiting room to wait for exrays. After mom had gotten exrayed we went back to the waiting room for just long enough to speculate how long it would take for the exrays to be done because we figured that's when she'd be taken to a bed. She was in a room for less than 10 minutes when a PA came and let us know that she hadn't broken anything, and he did a physical exam. He determined that there was deep tissue bruising and told her how to take care of herself. A few minutes later we had discharge instructions and prescriptions. We walked out the door at 10:55. It was amazing.

What really amazes me the most about these experiences is the difference in attitude. At the county hospital it's assumed that you're there looking for drugs, especially if you're of a low enough income that you get MIA or MediCal. The nurses are more apt to be cynical, and we find a lot more rudeness. Where I took my mom today they took her word for it that she's not on drugs and they didn't bat an eyelash when she asked for pain killers. But what sticks out in my mind more than that is how nice everybody was. We were treated like regular people, deserving the same respect and common courtesy that you would ask be extended to you. I wish that more people would just treat others how they would want to be treated if they were sick and in a hospital.

Friday, October 19, 2007

And More Narcotics

I've been trying to think of a really great post, but I can't get past my gratefulness for percocet. On Wednesday Donny woke me up WAY too early wanting pain killers. I pointed out that it was 6 hours until his next dose and begged to go back to sleep. He let me, for a while.

Wednesday was a bad day, but Thursday was worse. When Donny's hurting he spreads the misery around liberally. Apparently I have no clue about anything because I refuse to give him more medicine than what's prescribed. Never mind the fact that it was his habit of taking too many that made the doctor ask me to take over his medicine in the first place.

So, after 2 straight days of being yelled at for not giving him extra pain killers, I cracked. On Thursday night I gave him 3 benadryls and put him to bed. It was the first night of decent rest that I'd gotten in a while. I'm considering stocking up on the stuff.

I actually shouldn't need more benadryl. We went back to the doctor today and asked for more painkillers. At one point I was muttering under my breath about how short Donny's life would be if he didn't get any more pain medicine. I think that the doctor heard me though. It was decided that since Donny's liver is already completely shot that we really don't need to worry as much about Tylenol. So Donny got a prescription for percocet.

When I took the prescription to the pharmacy the lady gave me a funny look and headed to the back where the pharmacist is. She had just looked in the computer and so I'm sure she saw that we picked up morphine on Monday for this same person. I was absolutely positive that she was going to come out and accuse me of drug seeking and refuse to give Donny his medicine. Apparently the pharmacist didn't have a problem since they filled the order without any more strange behavior. Or maybe I'm just paranoid because I read too many blogs about people who are just looking to get high.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Little Things

Today was a day of little pleasures. I woke up next to my husband, who actually got a good night's rest. I had a slow, lazy morning. We went on a picnic at the city park. We sat there and watched the kids playing. Then this evening we went to my friend's house and visited with her for a little while. My two year old nephew, Dennis the Menace, even gave me kisses goodbye. He always does my heart good. I baked bread with my mom this evening. After it cooled the whole family had some, and we sat around talking and enjoying each other's company. All in all, a really good day.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Kick Start

Today was supposed to be a good day. I was prepared for our doctor's visit today. I had a list of questions, and a list of what's gone on since last month's visit. I just knew that today would be great. Boy was I wrong.

I got woke up at 4:00 this morning, for no apparent reason. And then, Donny put his hand in the small of my back and used that hand to push himself up. Talk about painful. He had no clue what he'd done.

Somewhere around 5:00, just as I was falling back asleep, a very pissed off husband came and demanded that I go out to the garage. (The garage is his hangout.) It seems that he had gone in the kitchen, turned on the light, and then turned on the garbage disposal. When there are two people using the living room for a bedroom this is a problem. I guess that Donny wanted me to defend him, but I wouldn't. The whole thing blew up out of proportion and my husband nearly left over it.

As if this doesn't make for a bad enough day, it got worse. We went to the doctor, and I asked my questions. The doctor says that Donny's in the end stage now. He also let us know that our insurance won't pay for a transplant. So there goes my last hope. We started discussing how to make the end better. He won't guess as to how long we've got, but I'm scared. I don't know what we'll do. It seems like life works really hard at kicking us while we're down.

My great-aunt suggested that I write to Montel and see if he'll help. She said that sometimes the talk shows will hook people up with doctors who are willing to do the surgery for free. I don't see how that can work when you have to wait for a liver to become available, but I'm desperate enough to try almost anything.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

High Ideals

I've been thinking about my recent posts. I'm beginning to think that maybe my expectations of nurses are too high. I have a hard time believing that it can't at least partially be me when there's so many bad experiences clumped together. Maybe I just need to make my expectations fit reality better.

I can tell you where I got my expectations from. They come from a hospital in the state of Washington. My husband had gone to visit his daughters and became ill. None of the people that he was staying with realized just how serious it was. I was at home in California, so I was of no help to Donny.

On April 18, 2007 my step-daughter had just gotten home from taking her husband to work and decided to check on her dad, since she was worried about him. She found it hard to get any sort of response from him and decided to take him to ER. She had a friend come help her get him out to the car. When they were in the driveway they noticed that he had turned blue.

The friend that was carrying Donny put him down on the ground. They felt for a pulse and there wasn't one. Donny's oldest daughter keeps up her certification in CPR because she volunteers at a summer camp for handicapped children. She administered CPR until the ambulance arrived. The paramedics (EMTs, whatever they were) took over doing CPR and got Donny breathing again.

I got a call while Donny was still being worked on by the paramedics telling me what had happened so far. It seems like it was no time until the girls were calling me from ER, and yet it seemed to have taken forever. The doctor's said that I needed to come right away, that Donny wasn't going to make it. They said they would try to keep him alive until I got there.

Before I hung up the phone I had a ticket for the next flight up that I had time to get to. (We live 2 hours from the airport.) I arrived in town and went straight to the hospital. He was in ICU by that time, and so I went and sat with him in his room.

The nurse let me know that there were no hard and fast visiting hours, that I could stay as much as I wanted. I chose to stay the night there. By the time that the girls went home the night shift was on. That first night nurse was so patient. He taught me how to read the monitor, so I could see what was happening. He told me what all the equipment was and why Donny needed it. He helped me understand.

Every nurse that we had after that was the same way. The second night that I was there I told the night nurse that if I asked too many questions to just let me know and I'd stop. He told me that there was no such thing as too many questions. Every nurse that Donny had was more than willing to explain what they were doing for him and why. It didn't matter if I had asked the same question before, they explained it again. One nurse looked so proud of me when Donny's youngest daughter asked her a questions about a medicine she was giving him, and I answered. I got it exactly right too.

Not only did the nurses do an outstanding job of explaining things, but they were friendly and professional too. They took the time to talk to me. When I would go to the cafeteria they didn't seem to mind reassuring me that if anything happened they would call my cell. They cared, and it showed.

This is the standard of nursing that I look for now. This is how I think that the ideal nurse should be. Yes, there were moments of frustration, and of miscommunication. But the overall standard was what I described. I don't want perfection, I want caring, understanding, and professionalism. Am I asking too much?

Friday, October 12, 2007

Lessons In Frustration

Early this morning I received a call from the hospital. At first my heart went about three times it's normal speed, but I shouldn't have worried. Donny woke up today and he wanted to know when I'd be there to visit. One of the best calls I've ever gotten. I let the nurse know that I'd be there around 8:30 and we hung up.

I arrived at the hospital when I said I would, parked, and went in. I walked in to his (private) room, only to see some stranger in his bed. So that's when I found a nurse to tell me where my husband was hiding. Apparently he'd been moved and nobody had thought to let me know. Not a big deal, just a minor frustration.

I managed to get there before the doctor did rounds, so I got to talk to her. She said that Donny's ammonia levels were fine, but that she wanted to keep him for another day for observation. We talked a little more, then she left.

A little later I noticed that Donny was spacing out. A previous hospital had said that these were absent seizures brought on by high ammonia levels. But his levels were normal, so I started asking questions. The nurse let me know that the doctor overseeing the resident who was caring for Donny was about to do rounds and that we should ask him.

Dr. B came in and I started discussing a few issues with him. I asked him about the seizures and he said that there were still some after-effects going on in Donny's body. He advised me that once we had kept Donny's ammonia levels normal for three months, if it was still happening, to ask our regular doctor about it. That's when I looked down and noticed that Donny was in the middle of one right then. I pointed it out to Dr. B. After seeing what I was talking about for himself he advised me that Donny should see a neurologist in a couple of weeks. He also let me know that he would call and speak to our regular doctor personally to let him know what was going on. He then said that he'd be discharging Donny that day.

About 20 minutes later we were told that an EEG had been ordered and we had to wait for it before Donny could be discharged. I'm not sure how it happened, but we went from being told to wait a few months to being told let's deal with this today. It has me wondering what my doctor said. He doesn't pussy foot around about stuff though. That's one reason that I love him so much.

Donny's EEG was completed around 1:30. According to what the doctor and the nurse told us, that meant Donny was ready to be discharged. Somewhere around 3:00 the respiratory therapist came in to check his breathing, by this time the resident and another doctor had been by(at different times) to see him. We were telling her that we were expecting him to be discharged any time now. A few minutes later the therapist came back and let us know that there wasn't anything in his chart about discharge, and so we might not need to be packing up yet.

This was when I went in search of his nurse. I found her sitting at one of the computers used for charting near the nurse's station. Dr. B just happened to be sitting right there too. I walked over and asked whether or not Donny was being discharged. Once I let them know what I had been told, Dr. B got up and made sure that his part of things was done.

We waited and we waited, still, no discharge. We asked the nurse, and she didn't really answer us, and then she left the room. Call lights started getting ignored. It really felt like we were getting the brush-off.

At a little after 5:00 a new patient was brought in for the other bed in Donny's room. The nurse told us that she had to get him admitted and then she would do Donny's discharge. At 6:00 the nurse was headed over to the other bed and told us in passing that she wouldn't be able to Donny's discharge, and we would have to wait for the night shift.

The new patient's wife is a retired nurse. She worked for Catholic Care West in Ventura County for 30 years before she retired. She commented that the wait was unreasonable. But we couldn't get anything done. This lady was rather upset at the lack of care that was given by the nurses. It makes me feel better knowing that I'm not the only one that finds them lacking.

Fortunately I have all of Donny's meds here at home, because the only pharmacy that we're covered for closed at 6:00, and you couldn't drop off prescriptions after 5:00. They're closed for the weekend.

At 8:45 p.m. Donny was discharged from the hospital. I believe that the very first thing that his night nurse did was discharge him. I've never been so glad to get home in my life.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More Hospital Stuff

I went by and checked on Donny today. When I walked into his room it reeked. It was so bad I was gagging. Apparently, the enema worked really well. It looked like they were set up to bathe him, so I waited for the nurse to come in. After about 5 minutes I decided that looks could be deceiving, and maybe I should make sure that his nurse knew there was a problem. The only hitch in this plan was that I had no idea who his nurse was.

So I stood in his doorway hoping to catch a nurse running by and ask for the nurse who's name was on his dry erase board. After a couple of minutes the charge nurse noticed me and came over to see if I needed something. I explained the situation to her and let her know that I just wanted to be sure that his nurse knew. She found the nurse and told her.

About 30 minutes later his nurse came in to check on him. By this time I was needing to leave since I had just stopped in between doctor's appointments. I talked to her for a minute and then she said that she was going to be bathing him now. She walked out of the room and I stood there and waited about 5 more minutes. I finally tracked her down in the hallway to ask a couple more questions that I had thought of. To be fair, she wasn't goofing off. I firmly believe that she was busy that whole time.

The problem I'm having is this. My husband had to lay in his own filth for AT LEAST a half hour. It may have been longer, but that's how long I witnessed it for. Now, I realize that you only want to change him once, and I know that you're busy, but what about him? Would you like to be put in restraints, sedated, and then left to lie in your own filth for a half hour? There has to be some sort of middle ground here. Wouldn't putting him on a bag be more humane?

I truly do understand the nurse's position here, but I want to cry at what I see Donny going through. I know he'll remember this, he always remembers what happened after the fact. And I know he was awake, because he looked at me. In fact, he gave me the most pitiful look ever, and there was nothing that I could do for him. For the next 6 months it's going to be next to impossible to get him to go to the hospital, no matter how bad he needs it, this will affect him that much. Isn't there some way we could improve this situation?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What a day!

Today was nowhere near what I had hoped for. I thought that I'd get up, take my time getting ready, and then go to work. And then this afternoon I'd take my grandma to her appointment with the Orthopedic Surgeon. Boy was I wrong!

I knew I was screwed when I tried to wake Donny for his meds. He was hard to wake, and very uncooperative. I tried to give him his meds, but he shook his head like a little boy and said, "I'm done!" There was no getting anything in him.

I started off trying to get him out of bed. He went into the bathroom and insisted that he was sleeping. I got him out of there, but he went the wrong way down the hall. After a lot of hard work I managed to get him in the car. I buckled him up and it was off to the hospital for us.

I pull up in front of ER and run in for a wheelchair. I then opened his door, unbuckled him, and asked him to get in the wheelchair. He got out of the car, but would not sit down. I finally gave the chair to the next people who pulled up.

After pacing in front of ER for a while I finally got Donny into the ER. But again, he wouldn't sit down anywhere. Finally the security guard asked me to take him outside so that he didn't get the other people in the waiting room riled up. So I let him go out, and I stayed inside to check him in. And the pacing outside of ER continued. After a while he did finally go in and sit down on his own. That's when I finally got a chance to park the car.

We waited for a little bit and then triage called Donny up, but he wasn't about to go anywhere. So I went and let the triage nurse know what was going on. He was really nice and agreed to come help me. We got Donny to move about 10 feet, and then he was done cooperating. The nurse finally called for help, and Donny was forced to cooperate.

As we headed back towards a bed I started counting people. It had taken 3 security guards, 1 law enforcement officer, and 2 or 3 nurses to get him to go. They held his arms behind his back and made him walk to a bed. I couldn't help but wonder if that's what's meant by the term "frogwalk". It took 5 big men to pin Donny down and put him in restraints.

After all was said and done, it was just what I expected. His ammonia level was 216. So my husband is in the hospital, in restraints and sedated.

I did finally go to work, about 8:00 tonight I went in. I got done what absolutely couldn't wait another day, and then I came home. It's been a long day. The only bright spot was coming home to my mom being out of the hospital. It was good to see her again. I've missed our time together.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Ammonia Levels and Psych Meds

There are times that I wish our doctor lived with us. This evening Donny started acting like his ammonia levels were elevated. I know for a fact that he took his lactulose, I watched him drink it. The dosage must not be right.

The problem is, by the time we go see the doctor he'll be fine. That leaves me looking like an overreacting wife when I insist that his mental status was altered. The only thing that I have going for me is the fact that the doctor knows me, and trusts me. Hopefully he'll believe me when I describe what's going on.

With any luck there will be a change in meds. I'm hoping that the altered mental status isn't a permanent thing. If it is then there may come a time that I can't care for Donny at home. I hate the thought, but just today was bad enough to make me wonder what to do.

On the bright side, my mom might get to come home in the next day or two. She's doing much better, but she started a new medication and they want to monitor her on it for a couple days to see how it's going.

New meds are always scary. At one point my mom was on so many psych meds that she was a zombie. For two years she barely qualified as being alive, and she had no quality of life. My mom, who's always been the out going, lively one, was doing nothing but sit there and stare out in space or lay in bed and stare out in space.

When my sister decided that she'd had enough, it took two paper grocery bags to carry my mom's meds. A really great doctor helped us get her off of almost everything, but we're now a little leery of new meds. The good thing is that my mom has a great medical doctor (finally) who will take a look at what she's been given and help us understand it. And we know that never again will we allow one med to be prescribed on top of another to the point that it gets out of control. It may have taken a while, but we've learned to ask questions.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday Night Entertainment

Have you ever noticed that there's nothing good on TV on Friday nights? And if you're broke there's not a whole lot to do. Which leaves me with some very boring Friday nights. That's why I developed my own Friday night entertainment.

Every week on Friday night I will take somebody to be admitted to the hospital. Last week it was my husband. He got out Tuesday, so I needed something to do today. And if you ask my mom she'll tell you that's why she's in the hospital right now.

The truth of the matter is that she's not doing well and we couldn't keep her safe at home anymore. Does it make me a bad daughter to be relieved to put her in the hospital? I hate the thought that I might get too busy and my mom wind up dead when she's at home.

This isn't how I always felt about this. I still remember the first time we had to put mom in a psych hospital.

I was 13 years old. Mom had been having a hard time for a while, but we were helping her through it. I was proud of my ability to get her back when she was lost in a flashback. I liked being able to help.

But mom just got worse. She started hallucinating. We came home one day to find all our dishes smashed on the kitchen floor and mom sitting on the counter. She thought that there were snakes trying to get her. It became routine that I'd have to check under her bed for snakes before she'd get up.

My dad finally decided that we just couldn't care for my mom at home anymore, and he found a psych hospital she could go to. It was about 2 hours away, but it dealt with her issues. So we packed up her stuff, hopped in the van and set out.

We got there and my parents had a lot of paperwork to do. My sister and I were to wait in the waiting room until they were done. I sometimes wonder if I looked as scared as I felt.

Somebody from the hospital staff came and took my sister and I on a tour of the grounds and hospital. They explained things to us to the best of their ability. It helped some.

Mom was finally checked in and we went to help her settle in to her room. That's when we discovered that a lot of the things we had packed to comfort her weren't allowed. And thus began the lessons in how to pack for a psych hospital. My sister and now are able to pack a bag that passes the strictest tests.

Eventually we had to say goodbye. Debbie and I didn't want to, because we still didn't see how somebody who didn't love our mom could provide better care than we could. But our protests didn't change things, and we finally said goodbye.

On the way home I cried and cried. I was heartbroken. I cried so long and hard that I made myself vomit. And then I cried some more.

My, how times have changed.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Need... More... Time!

I really thought that I might have a slow day today. I woke up and realized that the only thing on my schedule was physical therapy. Could it be? Could I really have a day with next to nothing to do?

And that's when it hit me. I absolutely had to go to work. I had already put it off too long. And I needed to return that call from disability. We've got to get them going on processing Donny's claim. And I have to get Donny going on his new meds schedule. And then this afternoon, after physical therapy, I really needed to go to Wal-Mart. And mom needed me to take her to run some errands. Oh, and grandma and Aunt Lenora need me to pick up prescriptions for them. And since I didn't get everything done at work this morning I really do need to go back this evening.

And there goes my slow day. I ended up putting off work until tomorrow afternoon/evening. If I let it be known that all my time is scheduled maybe the scheduling gods will take pity on me and put everything else off until Friday. Wait, I'm busy then. Maybe this weekend? Nope, already committed. I might be able to work you in next week, but act quick because it's going quick.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Home Again, Home Again, Fiddle-Dee-Dee

Donny's home again. He was discharged this afternoon. He came home with a brand new nebulizer and some insulin. Hopefully he won't need the insulin anymore once he's off the steroids. But until then, I get to stab him in the stomach at least once a day.

The upside to this is that it helps alleviate the scheduling issues that I'm dealing with. That's one less place that I need to be.

The downside is that I just lost my help in caring for him. As awful as one nurse was, I really liked the peace of mind that comes with knowing that he's surrounded by medical professionals if anything goes wrong. Besides, the other nurses were great! I'll really miss the help.

Monday, October 01, 2007


I spent my day beating my head against the clock. Let me tell you something, beating your head against the clock gets you nothing but a headache.

I started off by forgetting that with my grandma you need to tell her that you're walking out the door a half hour before you plan to. I said we're leaving at 9:00, we left at 9:20. And we discussed all this last night.

I got to the hospital just in time to go in and check on my husband really quick before having to leave again. I literally spent more time parking than I did in his room.

We left the hospital bound for grandma's appointment with the neurologist. The only problem was that grandma wasn't really sure where his office was. This was her first appointment and she'd failed to bring the address. Fortunately we found it and she was less than 5 minutes late to her appointment.

After that we had a short break before I had to be at my appointment. I thought that since it was lunchtime this would be a good time to eat the lunch that I'd packed. But grandma insisted that we had to go to the bank before eating. So after a couple wrong turns she found her bank and all was well. Or was it?

I think that I angered my grandmother when I insisted that my growling tummy meant that we had to stop and eat. She thought that I should be off in search of stamps. Since I was driving, I won.

After taking an entirely too long 15 minute lunch break I realized that if I didn't head to my appointment immediately I'd be late. So we were off again.

I did my physical therapy, and it was the most relaxing part of my day. I really love those therapists!

After therapy I took grandma for her head ex ray. They confirmed that her head is still there, and we decided to finally go get the stamps that she bugged me about every 15 minutes. But alas, that was not to be.

As we left the ex ray I got a call from Donny that he needed me at the hospital, so we went there. He had been given his nebulizer and needed to show me what he'd been taught about it before he forgot.

At 4:30 my grandma decides to let me know why she's been so uptight about getting her mail out. Apparently it all should have gone out last week, but she had to wait until the 1st to buy stamps. Unfortunately, she had waited until it was too late to get to a post office before it closed to mention this. So, after my panic attack, I let her know what we could do about it, and that she'd have to be happy with that.

All in all, not that bad of a day. I just wish that my whole week wasn't scheduled to be just like this.