I was learning how the ‘system’ worked. The registered nurse on duty was the one who had the responsibility to make the call to the doctor if they felt the patients needed medical care. The problem was that ‘Laurel and Hardy’ were very reluctant to make the call – I was always happy when another nurse was on. However Stan Laurel seemed to run the show and the trouble always happened when he was there.
Stanley had ‘blacklisted’ Mum – and me as well. I put in a complaint about the first fall Mum had and the lack of care taken. We had a ‘meeting’. They liked meetings too – just like the hospital! Nothing was ever resolved… Stanley would go back to work – smug in knowing I just couldn’t beat the ‘system’.
I was suspicious of another fall when I arrived one day to find Mum sitting and crying and she said she hurt all over. I asked the staff – there was no record of a fall. She was in obvious pain and the medication she was receiving just wasn’t enough.
Eventually I found out from another worker that she did indeed have a fall and had hit her neck and back on the windowsill. I was furious it wasn’t recorded – there was the usual appeasement and promise to look into it – but there was never any action taken.
I’ve decided to include this video – it’s distressing still for me to watch – and this is one of the ‘better’ videos. I took this clip when I was suspicious about the fall – as evidence. This was part of the information I eventually sent on to various authorities. As you will see Mum is wanting to be ‘put down’. We would never leave an animal like this.
I always put on a cheery front in front of Mum – I took my anger, sadness, frustration – and confusion at what to do next – home with me. The carer who comes in with a pillow for Mum was an absolute treasure. He loved caring for the elderly. Workers like him should be given medals – and a pay rise!!!
Even though my sisters were far away, they were a great support – and Doug and Emma also. Son Matt was further away – but was always great at sending his healing vibes – and he has great healing vibes!
I had thought about bringing Mum home – but I knew I couldn’t manage. Everyone always advised against it. Two people were needed to help her up and down – take her to the toilet, shower her – she was a challenging patient as she was often awake at night – she was living with a brain injury as well as some mild dementia. She could be erratic and was physically and emotionally exhausting. Apart from that she would slide into depression. Most of the elderly there are on anti depressants or anti psychotics as well as a cocktail of other drugs.
The best thing I could do was visit every day and monitor what was going on. I once again became like one of the staff. I got to know the other patients – and the sad thing was that very few had family visit them. One lady would sit in the corner crying – waiting for the family that never came – another would ask every day if she was going home. Some had a weekly visit – others had no- one.
Every day I would help Mum with her lunch – and sometimes help feed some of the others. I hated the way the big security doors would open and they would all look up to see who walked in – it really was like a prison – a necessary one of course – but I started to think how much better it could be. Some of the patients would stand at the door trying to escape when someone walked in or out.
I thought about the sad turn of events for them – how it could be any of us faced with that. It made me think even harder about what was really important in life.
The nursing home had a coffee shop and I would take Mum there for coffee. We would also go out for a drive and would often sit and look at the ocean. The ocean was very calming – sometimes Mum would seem ‘normal’ – other times she would keep saying we needed to get back to the home.
Julie also arranged bus trips several times. She wanted to make it a regular event and a minibus was hired to take some of the dementia patients on an outing. It was a big task. Mum was able to do a few of them when she was well enough. Both Julie and I were devastated when they cut funding for the hire of the minibus. I was seeing it was really just a business they were running – management was not there for the welfare of the patients – or for their staff.
As time went on I got to know more and more of the staff. I tried to use the same mentality that I was now using with the horses – ie. focus on what you want – rather than what you don’t want…. it was pretty challenging and I struggled with it at times. But I was gaining their trust during this process – and that was helping make Mum’s life more bearable there.
As Mum recovered from her latest fall, she improved for a while – she was once again taking part in the craft activities and I was able to take her out for more walks and drives. But it was only a matter of time before there would be another crisis….. and this time I called on the horses for help..
To add a little bit of humour to this post, I have included a Laurel and Hardy video – for your entertainment!! It’s actually an insult to Laurel and Hardy – being such great comedians – to use their names for the two nurses – but it gives you a visual idea!!
COMING UP – HELP FROM THE HORSES
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