Thursday, October 14, 2004

Yesterday I was watching a BloodMobile set up. As they were waiting for donors to show up at the donor bus, there were 3 nurses outside having a smoke break. I had to laugh.


The shit hit the fan at Mom's last night. She called us just after dinner to ask if we could take Cindy (her elderly roommate) to the hospital. Cindy was having difficulty breathing, may have had a minor heart attack (she has congestive heart failure), and the only way she would agree to go to the hospital was if hubby took her (she just adores him). Earlier in the evening, Mom had called 911 and Cindy hung up the phone on her. So a deputy showed up, as they do with all hang-up emergency calls. He convinced Cindy to let the ambulance come and have the EMTs check her out. They wanted her to go to the hospital and she refused. She was convinced that if she went to the hospital, the doctor would put her in a nursing home or back at the shitty assisted living facility.

We grudgingly agreed to take her, then started to really think about it. We live 30 minutes from them, plus there would be another 15 minute drive to the ER. Seriously bad shit could happen in the span of 45 minutes. Hubby, as a cop, is a First Responder, meaning he's had basic CPR and first aid plus some extra training. He began to worry that if something happened to Cindy on the way, he could be held liable and sued. So we called Mom back to tell her our concerns and and ambulance was already there. During the time Hubby and I were hashing things out, Cindy needed Mom's assistance to go to the bathroom and could hardly breathe. Mom decided to call the ambulance, and this time Cindy agreed.

So now we need to figure out what to do. Mom can't take the stress of Cindy refusing medical care when she obviously needs it. Mom was so afraid that Cindy was going to die right there before the ambulance arrived. I suggested that Mom talk to Cindy's doctor and explain to him that she also has health problems, including bipolar disorder, and can't take that kind of stress. I'm hoping that he'll get Cindy hooked up with a visiting nurse who can stay with them. Otherwise I'm afraid Cindy will have to go someplace that can provide more care.

I also can't handle the stress of taking care of both Mom and Cindy. Mom's been pretty stable lately and the most she's needed are rides to the grocery store and financial help for some plumbing repairs. If she crashes, I can't deal with getting her to doctors/the psych ward and getting Cindy to doctors as well. Hubby's still playing catch-up at work with all the cases that piled on while he was doing emergency relief after the hurricanes. I work in a town 45 minutes away and am planning to max out all my accumulated leave when peanut arrives, so I can't afford to take a lot of time off. Besides the fact that I'm trying to avoid stress like the plague right now.

I hope we can figure out a solution that works for everyone.

UPDATE: I spoke to Mom shortly after posting yesterday. Cindy was sent home at 2 am yesterday morning. The ER was full, and no beds were available, so they doped Cindy up to calm her down and sent her home with the instructions to see her doctor and get oxygen. Mom tried several times to contact the doctor's office and was finally able to speak to the nurse. The doctor's response via the nurse was that he'd see Cindy next week and made no mention of oxygen at all. Jayzus Effing Christ. What kind of medical care is that? Cindy is 85 and has a history of heart problems - I would've thought the doctor would make time to see her and get her the damn oxygen.

Now Cindy wants Mom to have power of attorney in case anything else happens. Mom and I both think it's a BAD idea since Mom's not exactly stable and doesn't need the burden of being responsible for another person. Mom's been in touch with Cindy's niece in hopes that she or her husband will do it. Cindy wants nothing to do with them, but the responsibility for her wellbeing can't be dumped on Mom.

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