Monday, 1 February 2016

A bad night in the ward for mum's neighbours

I had to take my car in to the garage for a rego check this morning early and they called me back about 90 minutes later to tell me it was ready to collect. There was no work to do on the car and I only paid a fee for the safety check, which was quite low. When I got the car home I finished the registration process on the internet and put the new rego papers in my wallet, then headed up to the hospital to check up on mum.

When I arrived they were washing her in bed so I stayed outside the curtain in the ward room in a visitor's chair. While I was waiting an older gentleman in a hospital gown came up to me and asked if I were mum's son. I said I was. He then asked me if mum had dementia. "Yes," I told him, "she does." "That makes me think better of her then," he said in his quiet voice. "She kept us up all night," he said. "She was crying out 'Please help me' over and over again." "I see," I said to him. He went away then and the nurse pulled the curtain back. Mum had been making a lot of noise from her bed as the nurses moved her from the bed to her chair. You would have thought they were intentionally hurting her.

I went over to mum and had a look at her. She seemed fine, although her face had a look that seemed a bit absent from reality. She obviously had not taken well to being in the hospital ward overnight, going on what the gentleman in the bed across the room had told me. "How are you feeling? I asked her. "Oh not bad," she said. She complained that she had a pain in her shoulder.

A middle aged, slim woman in nice clothes came over to me and introduced herself. I didn't catch everything she said but it had something to do with mum's overnight delirium. She handed me a green paper form and asked me to fill it in. I asked her if she had a pen and a support so I could write, and she went away. She came back soon with what I had asked for and I sat down and filled in the form. After doing this I went back to mum and asked her if she wanted some coffee, then went out to the kiosk in the building next door to the entranceway and bought two flat whites - one large and one small - and a chocolate bar, a sausage roll and a packaged sandwich. I ate the sausage roll on the outdoor furniture outside the kiosk.

Back in the ward mum was nowhere to be seen so I sat down and drank most of my coffee. The nurse who walked through the ward quickly told me that mum had been taken to have an X-ray taken. After a while the staff brought her back in a wheelchair and sat her back down in the chair next to her bed. I took the coffee and chocolate over to her and asked her if she wanted a sandwich. "No I don't," she told me.

Later the lunch tray arrived for mum but she refused to eat anything. I had a mouthful and tasted the warm lamb mince. "It's good," I told mum. "I don't want any," she said. "I'm not hungry." "You should eat some though, it's good for you," I said. The nurse came a bit later and fed her some of the warm lamb and pasta. It was the same nurse who had given mum her pills. Mum hadn't known what to do with the antibiotic which was put in her mouth, and had chewed it up, releasing a bitter powder into her mouth. "Her meal is coming soon," the nurse said to me apropos the bitter taste of the capsule, which didn't even seem to register on mum's face. But mum didn't want to eat. She just sat leaning back in her chair with her head resting on the top of the chair and her mouth partially open. She looked like she was having a hard time of it and would utter a groaning sound every now and then.

When visiting hours finished I left the ward and headed back down the highway in the car to the apartment and then went straight to bed and had a nap. I was absolutely exhausted by the morning's activities. Later, I called the nursing home because the hospital had phoned me to say that they were sending mum back there today.

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