On Sunday evening I was out to dinner with a girlfriend I’d graduated from high school with on the Island. My phone rang showing mom’s number. It was her neighbor calling to say mom had fallen, slipping on the brick walk and hitting the back of her head on the one brick step. Mom had the where-with-all to call 911 and then call her neighbor. I was a mile from the tiny, brand new hospital on the Island and got there 20 minutes before mom did. One nice thing about a small community is when the nurse invited me to relax in the waiting room, I asked if I could chat with the ER doc about some things that were going on with mom. “Oh sure, Honey, come on back!”
The 6cm deep laceration took 9 stitches to close up. It was really ugly. A hematoma had formed under her skin and the bleeding was impressive. Her blood pressure was super high for someone on BP meds. The CT scan came back negative. The doc said he wanted her to stay the night. Mom, not liking this, asked me what I thought. I responded that if I’d hit my head as hard as she had and the doctor was suggesting I check in for the night, I’d do just that. She was doubly persuaded when the ER doc came back saying her PCP wanted her to stay too.
This is a VERY small facility. That night there were two RN’s, a tech and a doc, for the ER and the 12 bed hospital, granted, with mom, only 2 beds were in use. Once mom was in her room, she wanted everything immediately. She kept walking out of her room back into the ER (a mere 30 feet) to ask what was taking so long about getting her something to eat and an extra blanket. I ran interference as best as I could. She couldn’t understand that they had to get the exam room back in order (clean/sterile, supplies, etc) first, in case another emergency rolled through the doors. I explained this to her multiple times to no avail. Hello dementia!
I got back to our friend’s guest cabin, my Island sanctuary, close to midnight and decompressed over a couple of glasses of Malbec. I was back at the hospital before 8am, after running through the shower at mom’s (no running water at the guest cabin yet this year), in order to meet her PCP. She was discharged, but again couldn’t understand why everything took SO long. I told her it was like car dealership time. One ought to be able to walk into a car dealership and buy a car, out the door in two hours. It always takes 5-7 hours. It just does. While she thought this was funny, it didn’t stop her from repeated complaints and trying to walk out of her room to grouse at someone, anyone. In the morning I had more reserves to keep her out of the staff’s hair.
We made it off the Island that afternoon in order to attend her second opinion neurology appointment early the next day.