Through a series of incompetence decisions, negligence, ignorance, and lack of caring my mother went from a vibrant, independent, happy little old lady to one that needed round the clock care... Care that I might add she did not receive.
All of her children (including me) left her care in the hands of her aged husband and her doctor. Her husband loves her deeply but he was ignorant about how to make sure she was receiving proper care. He knew something wasn't right but was afraid to make waves so he kept his mouth shut and said not a word to anyone. Perhaps he thought that if he said anything the situation would have gotten worse.
Her doctor didn't do the proper tests to find out why she was loosing the use of her legs. Judging purely from his actions I can only assume he just thought her age was catching up to her. First he gave her steroid shots. That helped for a while. But then about 5 months ago Mom fell 3 times within a couple of days and the doctor placed her in a nursing home for rehab. When physical therapy didn't work... He just discontinued the therapy and left her stuck in the nursing home as she steadily lost all use of her legs. He never discovered the ever enlarging tumor that had surrounded her spinal cord. How long did my mother seek treatment for legs that hurt and didn't work properly? ... over 2 years.
The nursing home... There has got to be some special kind of hell waiting for the people that work there. My mother was stripped of her dignity, made to feel shame, and suffered needlessly at their hands. She was at the mercy of a medical staff that didn't care enough about their patient to even provide the most basic of services.
My mother, who could not stand on her own, was placed in a wheelchair in the morning and left there until bedtime. No one came to make sure she was escorted to the bathroom leaving my mother no option other than to soil herself. At bedtime my mother was put in a sling and "hosed off to remove the manure" (my mothers own words as told to me Wedsnesday morning) then placed back in bed. None of the staff noticed the gaping, oozing, rotting bedsore the size of a tennis ball on her backside.
Well I suppose someone did finally notice that the stench of rotting flesh surrounding my mother wasn't the stench of soiled panties because she was finally transferred to the hospital for treatment. While trying to determine the extinct of the bedsore (which went all the way to the bone!), hospital personnel discovered the tumor. A tumor according to them that would have been operable if discovered sooner. How much sooner I don't know...yet.
My sister and I made the 8 hour trek up to see Mom Tuesday night/Wednesday morning to find out why she had bedsores and why the tumor went so long without being discovered only to find that she had been rushed back to the hospital. Just a mere week after receiving the blow that she would never walk again and never go back to her home, her gall badder acted up. I'm going to assume that when the doctor told her she was too old for surgery on Wednesday morning that he really meant that she was too weak. I'm also going to assume that as the doctor delayed readily available treatment (at another hospital) for someone as old and supposedly weak as my mother had become, that he was hoping the meds he administered would ease her problem. He was wrong. Her gall bladder erupted late Thursday night. I sit here now waiting for the word that the poisons leaching into her body has finally, painfully claimed her life.
I'm writing this not only because I'm so very angry but also to urge all those children with aging parents to take an active part in their health care and to ask questions...whether wanted or not. I cannot say whether or not me poking my nose into Mom's care would have prolonged her life. Nor can I say that it would have helped save the use of her legs. I would have probably trusted the doctor too thinking he knew more than I did. Alright I wouldn't have trusted the doc. I never trust docs to know best but I would have probably kept my mouth shut as I did research if I had been up to date on Mom's condition.
I can however state for a fact that her quality of life would have been better while at that nursing home. I assumed that because she had a loving husband by her side that the staff wouldn't dare to neglect their duties. I didn't question her care. I should have.
I accept the fact the my mother is old and that she could not live forever. I do NOT accept that the care she was given was anywhere near what she should have recieved.