Kathryn - Kat - Allen (katallen) wrote,
Kathryn - Kat - Allen

The Bad Thing

First... things in my home life had not been going well. I've sometimes told my friends that I was raised in a fuctionally abusive family. Sometimes I think people believe that means a normal family - it's taken me into my forties to realise how far from the truth that is -- and how that's left me open to being used and abused in other relationships...

Things got a lot less functional lately... which also meant I had a truckload of stuff to deal with, including guilt and ... eh if I talk about it I won't post this...

Anyhow... bad bad blood, and the missed doctor call resulting in anotehr row where my brother screamed in my face... and I pulled away into a game and a story (that's too weird to ever get published)

So while I noticed my mother was not well before November the 18th I didn't push or "nag" about it... until on Sunday morning I called the doctor out of hours because I thought she had a chest infection that was going way too far and I wouldn't listen to her refusal. He called an ambulance. I didn;t get any breakfast but rode with my panic attacked mother to the hospital. I sat with her from ten in the morning to six in the evening. When she was admitted. She had not wanted to stay, but when it turned out she had a pulmonary embolism and tests showed she'd been in heart failure at some point... She stayed.

It was supposed to be for a couple of days, maybe three or four. Indeed she left the intensive care ward two nights later. And then she went to Bolton ACU ward at Harrogate Hospital, and the nightmare began. She got catheterised, she got given morphine at doses that left her seeing chocolate hedgehogs and spaniards when she wasn't unconscious. The nursing staff started insisting that she must have dementia, she got a urinary tract infection, the hallucinating turned out to probably be because of dehydration (we brought bottled water and grapes but the grapes were put in her cupboard and the water out of reach and...) The nursing was really crappy, the ward was dirty, the... By the following weekend I was pulling out of the shock and despair and was scared she was goig to die from neglect and maltreatment so I started calling anyone I could think of. There aren;t a lot of people to call, and almost none who take action on a friday afternoon or over the weekend. It had taken four days to get a telephone chat with her doctor... who blamed the hallucinations on the morphine. My complaints got a meeting with her junior -- who completely contradicted the time-lime of the hallucinations that her boss had admitted to -- otehrwise known as lying to my face. I got what I could in the form of out of hours visiting concessions and being promsied I'd be told when my mother had refused medication etc... I brought in a light duvet and pillow because the ward was freezing and she couldn't sleep for nightmares. They comforted her immediately, even in her confused state. The next day I came out of hours as arranged -- and was sent home... and told the duvet was an infection risk. (Given the depth of crap under her bed that was a serious joke)

Long story short... further complaints, eventually to management level, continued broken promises, a chest infection where it apparantly took twelve hours to order and administer the antibiotics (because it was a weekend)... discharge dates that were cancelled.. dehydration so bad they had her on a drip -- on two occassions -- sudden anaemia requiring blood transfusions. I got my dentist in because there were clear signs that certain foods were hurting her mouth... and it turned out she had three missing fillings and had severe traumatic ulceration. Although I'd arranged this visit, asked permission several times, and given exact times etc the junior doctor she asked to speak to then tried to berate me about having got a dentist in (although the hospital no longer offers any dental consultations to patients in their care). I didn't let him... and had the surprising news that doctors and nurses keep seperate notes/records and neither reads each others... I... stopped being amaed about anything after that. The pressure sores were simply inevitable given her mistreatment.

In the end I was basically at the hospital or feeding my brothers... and falling in to bed exhausted to do it again, and again... and be charming to the nurses, and the doctors, and making complaints count and getting mother to accept treatments and dashing in early because one this and... persuading my mother that home was still there and she would get out...

It took three weeks. At which point in her discharge papers I also discovered that the regular 'what if something happened she'd safer here where she can get treatment' was somewhat negated by Dr Watts having taken it upon herself to write my mother a DNR... your basic do not resucitate with a note about not telling her relatives this paper existed. Given one of Dr Watt's excuses for my mother's problems was that she must have an underlying dementia... And my mother says she never agreed to that -- and all through her treatment insisted that I was consulted, even when she was out of her head...

So, the weekend I was scared she might die of neglect and fretted about the possible existance of a DNR (these things have happened a few times in other hospital horror stories) -- not actually paranoia

Anyhow... I got her out. I got her home. So far so good on her health... it was hard to get her eating and drinking again. The worst ulcers have only just healed over. Her digestive system was shot, she's lost much of the control she still had of her bladder... I'd been nagging about her loss of muscle mass and her sitting for too long in her chair (which yes, probably led to the embolism) but three weeks without walking and with almost no food have left her... skin over bones. And it's hard. As hard now she's improving and having fits of temper and resentment and... yeah well the troubles from before weren't going to vanish because she needed/needs me more.

Life is not a story -- life is not the movies or a tv show.

Some childish part of me never quite gives up hope... but yes, I fought for her because I didn't want to find out how crappy I'd feel if she died in her worst nightmare.

I'm kind of worried (and was while I complained) about going in for an operation in this same hospital...

And I didn't come back to lj, or online, earlier because I didn't have much time, and because I couldn't face my online life. The couple of times I dipped a toe in the water I left feeling uber depressed... because my internet life has been all about the fail of late and if I thought I was too exhausted to try and start some of it over six months ago... want to guess how exhausted I am now? :)

But, I guess these posts are a lot like the past two months -- doing what needs to be done because while there's a whole world of hurt that will do what it wants with me that doesn't mean I have to be a jerk or a coward or a lazy git.

[Which also means that yes, there was a teeny Christmas tree and the full Christmas dinner (which was one of the first times Mother ate her whole small portion). ]
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