Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Mum back in hospital for treatment of cellulitis

The deputy manager from the nursing home rang me at about 8am this morning to tell me that mum's leg wasn't responding to oral antibiotics and that they wanted my permission to move her by ambulance to the hospital. I agreed straight away, because I knew how bad the leg had become: red and hot and uncomfortable. "Poor mum!" I thought.

About an hour later the hospital rang me to clear up some things about the advance health directive (AHD); they had pointed out that mum had specified in it that she didn't want antibiotic treatment or intravenous saline. I told them to rather go ahead with these treatments so as to cure her infection.

I had a meeting scheduled at home for later in the morning and didn't get up to Ryde Hospital until almost lunchtime. Mum was awake after I parked my car and walked to the ward the staff pointed me to. She looked at me with her big, gentle, Yoda eyes - giant orbs in a pale face - and said she was feeling ok. I went out to get a pie and a cup of coffee. I bought a coffee for mum as well, and she had some when I got back to my place beside her bed. I spoke with two young doctors about mum's situation and they said the cellulitis is treatable; the confusion with the AHD had derived from the definitions it used about mum's physical state. Rather than terminal, she was suffering a condition that could be treated. At least I confirmed that it was the 2014 AHD that I had helped mum prepare that we were all talking about.

Later, I spoke with one of the ward's nurses, an older woman than the young doctors, who had years of experience evident in her lined face and accommodating smile. I fed mum some of the lamb-and-pasta with broccoli that appeared soon after. I filled out a communication form that would help ward staff in case of mental deficit such as delirium. I offered mum sips of her cooling coffee. When the visiting hours elapsed I left the ward. It was just before they were to move her bed from its location in the transient section to a more permanent place in the ward. 

1 comment:

residentjudge said...

Hi. I'm sorry to hear that your mum is back in hospital. It's always such a difficult place for older people. I used to get frustrated that no-one would think to loosen the lids on Mum's food when it arrived. She didn't realize it was food, and wouldn't have been able to work out how to open them anyway. Hope she's out soon.