Two weeks ago, we got a call from the assisted living place MIL lives in, Grossmont Gardens. She (likely) had the flu, and as a result, couldn’t get out of bed, and soiled her bed. She’s also not bathing or setting out clothes to be washed. Rich agreed to upgrade her service to include adult diapers and (sort of enforced) laundry.
Then Thursday last week, she landed in the hospital again. This has happened twice before. She’d stay for two or three days and go back home. Mostly dehydration and joint pain.
This time, however, it was a week. Then she couldn’t go straight home; she had to be “evaluated” first. The hospital wanted her out, NOW!!! So she went to a “rehabilitation center,” which is a nursing home. It was HORRIBLE, just like all nursing homes. The first morning, they tried to get her out of bed. It took two nurses to just lift her into a sitting position on the side of her bed. She was screaming and crying. They rated her pain as an 8 on a scale of 10. She kept saying she just wanted to go back home. It breaks my heart.
It was clear to everyone, including her doctor, that she is not going to be running on a treadmill. She’ll probably never walk again.
She has congestive heart failure, her kidneys are failing, and so are her lungs. The arthritis in her knees is getting unbearable, and it’s spreading to her other joints. She’s not eating anymore. Could barely force down four tiny bits of pudding, maybe a teaspoon in all. She is still drinking, though.
Towards the end of the first day, Rich busted her out of there.
Since Grossmont Gardens has rehab in their own facility, we’re not sure why she had to go to the nursing home in the first place. It’s so damn confusing. No one will give you a straight answer about anything. No one is in charge; no one is responsible or accountable. Confusion and apathy reign as you get sucked into the system.
Anyway, the lady he spoke to was quite indignant. “We have PROTOCOLS, you know.”
Rich: “Well, I’m telling you what her protocol is going to be. I’m withdrawing my consent for her to be there.”
Lady: “This is HIGHLY unusual.”
Rich: “And that affects me how?”
Lady: “Do you know what TIME it is?”
It was 4:30 on a Friday afternoon. She probably had a local bar in her immediate future. I sure would have if I worked in that shithole.
Long story short, we got her out of the nursing home and back home to GG, but in their Health Care Center, which is skilled nursing for the bad cases. Still, it’s a night-and-day difference.
The nursing home is dingy, dark, and noisy, there’s constant TV noise blasting from your neighbor, who’s only 3 feet away behind a curtain. No window. Roommates die every other day. The P.A. system blasts scratchy orders all the time: “Nurse. To. Room. Three. One. Eight.” Comatose-looking people parked in wheelchairs in the hallways. No one speaks decent English. The food is nauseating.
In contrast, GG’s Health Care Center is quiet, spacious, airy, peaceful. Her room is huge. There are TV’s, but little personal-sized ones that swing over to the bed on an arm. She has her own room and a window. The staff there already knows and loves her. We are SO relieved.
Now it’s basically hospice time. She’ll be kept comfortable. Dementia is starting to set in. She asks everyone who comes in what time it is. When they answer, she says, “Oh my. I really should be getting up. I need to clean upstairs.” Rich says the last house they had with an upstairs was when he was a baby. Since she stopped eating, it probably won’t be more than a couple of weeks.