The Phone Rang Last Night

Each night when I go to bed I set my cell phone on the nightstand and wonder if it will ring during the night. Except last night; I just went to bed. I got “the call” at 12:45am and made it to Mom’s room as the ambulance crew was trying to figure out how to move her from the floor by her bed onto the transport. She was sound asleep, resting after taking a tumble, presumably on the way to the bathroom. We’ll never know what happened as she is unable to tell us, having forgotten what happened almost as soon as it did. Aides found her yelling for help during a room check.

As soon as the paramedics attempted to move her onto a backboard to lift her onto the transport they got an earful of expletives. Mom has always been a colorful curser. There’s very little meat on her 98-pound frame. I’m sure the cold, hard plastic backboard was uncomfortable at best, and she let them know it. I rode with the ambulance to the hospital hyper-conscious of every pothole.

We dodged the bullet this time. X-rays showed no broken bones. Mom slept through most of the ordeal, and I was home in bed again just after dawn.

White at the ER she had her blood pressure taken once, got a shot, and tried to climb out of bed twice sticking both legs through the bed rails. Backing her up was no easy task as she was on a mission to complete the errand that landed her in this fun house in the first place. She used the bed pan twice, received a series of x-rays, and finally demonstrated that even at 4 am, awakened from a sound sleep, with morphine sloshing through her veins and people supporting her on both arms, that she could still ambulate proving that she could be discharged. Total time elapsed: 4 and 1/2 hours. I can’t wait to see the bill.

Not a single person we encountered bothered to identify themselves to us. I still don’t know if the person who discharged us was the doctor or part of the cleaning crew. To keep Mom calm, I spoke to her very slowly and in an extra soft voice and asked the ER staff to do the same. No matter how well I modeled the desired behavior, nor how often I reminded them that her hearing was probably better than theirs, they insisted on speaking at such a ridiculously high volume it was almost comical. They did not take direction well.

Mom, on the other hand really did a great job. In addition to soldiering through all the painful poking and prodding while being totally clueless as to where she was and why she was there, tried to do everything that was asked of her. In fact she even tried to do everything that wasn’t asked of her. She answered almost every page that came over the public address system, jolting herself awake to answer, “OK, just a minute, be right there.”


14 thoughts on “The Phone Rang Last Night

  1. Oh, man. I am SO glad nothing was broken or worse. But it reminds me so much of Richard T’s book – that talking in a loud voice like he’s gone deaf.

    At least there was a small giggle when she answered all those pages……*L* Wanna have a guess about the bill. Over $10,000, I bet.


  2. Your mom’s Medicare should take care of most of it. Hope she has a good supplemental policy, too. Mother’s last hospital stay was about $40K – but that was for two weeks, including surgery.

    Medical personnel don’t listen, do they? They kept asking Mother questions like “where does it hurt” when she hadn’t a clue what they were asking. We had someone stay with her all the time when she was in the hospital (advice from my niece the RN, and It was good advice).

    Ami, hang in there. It’s a rough job, but you’re doing a terrific job. Judy

    The hospice facility that she was moved to after two weeks was wonderful. Staff that cared. That understood. That listened.


  3. Ami, I am so sorry about your mom’s fall. I am glad that she wasn’t hurt seriously. These things always happen in the middle of the night. (I think this is in a rule book, somewhere–LOL).

    Alzheimers is such a sad disease. Still one has to laugh at a few things–like your mom answering each page she heard–“OK, I’ll be right there.” Bless her heart.

    ALSO, BLESS YOUR HEART for all you do to help with this horrible disease.

    Regards, Peg Deyoe


  4. Please please take a moment to write or email the nursing director and the ED director at the facility your mother was transported to – without this feedback, these medical personnel will never ‘get it” about taking care of the special patients that alzheimers people are , including my dear mother in law.

    I just used the last of some of your mothers fabric from several years ago – thought about you both while I did it.


  5. Dear Ami, Didn’t whether to laugh or cry. What a challenge our dear older parents are. Three years ago we cared at home for my father with vascular dementia. So much like Alzheimers. One of my high points was your and Madison’s monthly newsletter during that hard time. And the letters from Jack and Amy. So thankful your mom’s hospital visit had a ” happy” ending. We are thinking of you and admire all you do to help research into dementia.


  6. So glad your Mom was okay after her fall. I’ve had two such calls from the LTC facility where my mom is. Both required stitches in her head where it hit the floor when she fell. I guess the “good” thing is they don’t remember what has happened to them. Bless you for your continued work with AAQI.


  7. Having worked as a nurse’s aide at the Frankenmuth Lutheran Home, (many years ago) it’s good to hear from the “other” side. Sometimes we got so caught up in routine and we forget the personal side of what’s happening and how it effects the family involved.


  8. Oh, Ami ~ my sister made multiple trips like yours’ … unfortunately, our mom had broken hips twice. You are 100% correct about the staff continuing their standard behavior, although there are a few special gems out there who do “get it” and have the reserves and ability to respond accordingly. Doesn’t matter where you live or who you are, it happens. So glad that ya’ll came through with “only” jangled nerves and loss of sleep. (you know that I understand far more than my light comments might suggest).

    Prayers continue…


  9. Ami, I’m so glad your mom didn’t break any bones from her fall. With all that she is dealing with, she still sounds pretty feisty. Thinking of you.


  10. While Jerry was still at home, I had a number of 911 calls that were very difficult for me to make. You never think you are going to be on the other side of one of those calls.

    The Lodi EMS were very kind and understanding. They, of course, had to haul him into a hospital and the first time we went all the way to Madison because that is where the doctor he had been going to for years was from.

    He ( the doctor) wasn’t there immediately, so in due course, got quite a dressing down and fired, if you can do that to a doctor. We have not heard from him sense and Jer had been his patient for 20 some years.

    We h ave been fortunate since he has been in a nursing facility, he sleeps with the bed all the way down and with pads on the floor. I know I sleep better at night.

    This is kind of a ramble, but wanted you to know you have many people that are thinking of you and admiring you for the job you are doing caring for your Mother.

    May God bless you!


  11. Oh ,Ami, I am so sorry to learn of mom’s fall and your midnight ordeal. It has taken me far too long to learn of your blog and this so simple way to keep in touch. I am glad to see that your mom wasn’t badly hurt. I miss her fun personlity from our youth and her enthusiastic refereeing of “packed sardines” at your house. that was so much fun Keep up your wonderful spirit in dealing with all that is sent your way. Your mom knows on some level that her Mouse of an angel is looking after her. Love and hugs to you and Steve. Ps…I loved seeing Jennie’s note. Elaine


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