Hospitals are great places to be if you are ill or broken. If you are trying to fix levels of medication in an elderly body, they might not be the perfect venue. No one sleeps in a hospital; there is too much noise, too many lights, too many finger sticks at 4am. No one eats well in a hospital either, even when the food is as delicious as that at UAMC.
Though the transition was difficult, everyone is glad that G'ma is back at the pod-castle. She needs rest and TLC. Both are found in abundance there.
There ought to be a list, handed to every family member upon admission. It should tell you how to solve basic problems. What if the nurse is unnecessarily testy? Who will make the discharge decision? How will that information be communicated to the staff and the family? Who makes the phone call to arrange transportation home? Where do you park when you're picking up the dischargee? Where should compliments be sent?
Facts are crucial to calmness when a loved one is a patient. Though everyone was pleasant and helpful last week, there was often a dearth of information... or, less frequently but with more dire consequences, lots of conflicting information.
Someone ought to be in charge. That someone should be available. I'm just sayin'.....
Keeping the family updated was simply a matter of typing one message with multiple recipients... and then not losing that message in the inbox. It took me a few days to get it all organized, but last night's phone conversation with Big Cuter proved that it was working.
I started in what was, to TBG's ears, the middle of the story. Little did he realize that our son had been following the saga, complete with pictures, on his phone all day long.
There's an alarm on the recliner and an alarm on the bed and, as long as no one messes with the controls, bells go off whenever G'ma shifts her butt. That's the plan, anyway. Like all remote devices, interference from other electronic signals and indifference from the technicians leads to errors, lost signals, frantic daughters.
I had a minor melt-down this morning when I lay on G'ma's newly made bed, got up, and no alarm sounded. It was fixed after I mentioned it, but that didn't leave me feeling confident when I left for Pilates. The staff can make all the promises in the world. The proof is in the details, the execution, the recognition of the issue.
There's no place like home... there's no one who cares as much as family... there's no way I could manage this myself. It's a conundrum.
G'ma said that I shouldn't come back this afternoon if it would interfere with my daily routine. That's been the model under which we've been operating since she moved here, and, for the most part, it has worked well for us.
But this situation is different, and I know it, even if she does not. This time she requires a little bit more monitoring, a little bit more intrusion, a little bit more care. If I'm not there to make sure, little things might slip through the cracks. That was okay when she wasn't in imminent danger.... but now.....
Sleep has been elusive these last ten days. I awoke this morning with a splitting headache, running from my lower jaw to the crown of my head. My teeth were singing to me, after grinding away all night. There are drugs to take to quell the angst, but the angst will be there nonetheless. It's not my usual free-floating-anxiety-attack; I know exactly why I'm stressed.
That knowledge helps me realize that I am not losing my mind. It doesn't make it easier to bear. it just eliminates some of the frills around the edges of the emotions.
Sharing even a little bit of the story is like poking a needle into a balloon which surrounds women my age. After Pilates, talking (okay.. whining) to JannyLou before she began her own session, we found the other three women in the lobby equally engrossed in the story.
This one's father... this one's mother... this is happening to all of us in our own little cirlces of love and distress. Hearing that I am not alone makes it so much easier. Being reassured that I'm not over-reacting, that others would have done the same thing, that others had done the smae thing, that others thought I was doing well.... that's how I'm getting through the days.
The sun came up today and G'ma and I were here to see it. I have to remind myself that that, in and of itself, makes it a good day.
Sometimes that's harder to believe.