Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The train wreck comes to a screeching halt. Finally.

 After the Wednesday when my mom was finally told why she was still in the hospital, things didn't improve much.  Being that the lazy piece of shit social worker basically did a drive by of "you had alcoholic withdrawal, here's some info, bye" I was left to piece that puzzle back together for her.  The following day, a much better, more helpful nurse was assigned to Mom, and she told me the on-call doc would come down and talk to her. 

Before the doc showed up, however, the PA who was part of the surgical team stopped in to check out Mom's wound.  I was shocked and kind of proud that Mom drilled her on the alcoholism.  Being that NO other medical professional on that floor would speak to her about it, I was so grateful, even though she gave some bad advice about "cutting back".  Never tell an alcoholic to just cut back.  Never works.

Anyway, I love that PA because she's honest and direct and doesn't screw around.  She gave Mom the low-down:  "even if you drink one glass of wine a day, and you come in for surgery, and go into withdrawals like you did, your body is telling you it NEEDS that drink.  Your body is conditioned to needing that alcohol."
I could have kissed her straight on the lips.  It was ALL I wanted from the hospital staff.  A straight-forward explanation of what happened.  Was it so fucking hard?  Nope.  Poor PA didn't know she was going to be the addictions counselor as well as the one to sign Mom's release papers (from the surgeon).

So when the on-call doc for that floor checked in, and was supposed to be THE one to deliver the speech, he tried to get out of it.  He was in the middle of telling her she was being released when I barged in to say "Um...the alcoholic withdrawals...can we address that?!?"  His response shouldn't have been shocking:  "Um, seems you might want to look at your drinking if you went through withdrawals. I am releasing you now...."

Say what?!?  At that point I just glared at him, and made a note of his name.  I am still mulling over whether or not I should lodge a complaint against the hospital.  The bit with the social worker is what really galls me.

 After all that went down with my mother and the hospital, I would love to say it got much better when she was transitioned to a physical therapy rehab.  It did not.

The rehab she was sent to was about as grim a place as one could imagine.  Essentially a nursing home, my mother at 68 was the belle of the ball and a whipper snapper to boot.  She was in this place for 9 days, and thankfully her mood was much more calm, relaxed, and generally pleasant.  Seeing as how her roommate was in the advanced stage of Alzheimer's, I am sure Mom had a lot of time to reflect that her situation was a lot more bearable.  She had an EXCELLENT physical therapist there (and not just because she and her husband organically sustain their garden like me...and gave me a brimming bag of worm poo to spread around my tomatoes!) which was the only good thing.  Unfortunately, PT was only once a day for about an hour.  The rest was spent lying in bed listening to other residents scream, moan, cry, and whimper. 

Having to face the reality of what life could look like when Mom gets older (and the dementia sets in) and how we (as a society) have learned to keep the aging body alive, but the mind starts to go....has had a profound impact on me.  That place was like a hellish bus stop on the way to death.  Disgusting food.  Always the smell of urine and feces.  Attendants too jaded and underpaid to give a shit.  And this place?  ONE OF THE BETTER IN OUR REGION. 

So I sprung Mom over holiday weekend, and took her back to her place.  Free at last!  Got her all set up, and then went to enjoy a party with old friends. 

Mom is extremely happy to be home.  I am happy to report that she brings up the withdrawals from time to time, not really wanting to believe it, but I can tell that deep down she knows the score.  I have been able to emotionally detach, for the most part.  I got the name of an addictions counselor, so hopefully she will take the name and make an appointment.  It's all I can really do.  It's been a hellacious 3 weeks.  I am emotionally and physically drained. 

So it's a good thing tonight is Bingo Wednesday.  Game ON.

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