Monday, April 30, 2012


My sister called the nurse over just as she was leaving the hospital, "I'm leaving now, and I've noticed that my dad looks really uncomfortable in his wheel chair. Could he be put back into his bed?"
The nurse replied, "He's supposed to sit in his chair for a half hour each day."
To which Jule pointed out, "I've been here for two hours, and he was sitting in this chair when I arrived. I think his half hour is up."
"Well, it's lunch time soon, and he should eat from the chair. You'll be feeding him, right?"
"No, my parking pass time is up. I need to be leaving now. Are you sure you can't get him into bed?"

Minutes after Jule left, the hospital called.
Dad had fallen, face first out of his wheel chair and cut his head. They were stitching him up and sending him down for a (nother) CT scan.

Come on.

The poor man.

(Rant coming.)
From a daughter's point of view I'm horrified and angry.
This is my dad. He keeps getting injured. WHILE IN THE HOSPITAL.
From a taxpayer's point of view (which I rarely take) I'm horrified and angry.
His "half hour" sessions sitting upright always last 2 - 3 hours because the nurses are so busy; no one has time to get him back in bed. Not to mention meal times one has time to help him with his food. Nor is there anyone available to shower him... He's had 2 showers in 69 days.
And how much does a CT scan cost?
He's had a number of them this week because he's fallen.
Today's certainly could have been avoided if they'd put him back into bed after half an hour as directed by the therapist.
While our health care system is probably one of the best in the world, it still isn't perfect.
While most of the nurses are attentive and professional, there are still some that are not.
(Rant over.)


I got to the hospital at 5, and found four laughing seniors sitting in a row in the hallway on the fifth floor.
"Hi. We're the Woodward's Choir," Hildegard says, smiling.
She points to Anne, who is wearing an eye patch, "Her eye was falling out, so the doctor put the patch on to keep it in place. She had blood shooting out of her eye like a geyser. Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh."
They are all in good moods; Hildegarde, Anne, Art and my mom. It's infectious.

Dad is still getting that CT scan, but we expect him to arrive any moment as there is a rush of gourneys being brought up from the basement. Hildegarde, tucking her toes in, lest they get run over, noted, after the 5th rolling bed squeezes past her, "It's Highway 1 in here." Then she looked at the orderly (? Is that what they call people pushers these days?) and asked if she could go for a ride next.

By the time dad is returned to his room and settled into his own bed, his supper is cool.
"You're going to feed him, right?" my mom asks.
"I'm happy to," I respond.
I start with the Cream of Chicken soup which he seems to love tolerate.
"Oh, he's doing so well."
"Look how wide open his mouth is."
"And he's swallowing so good."
"He's like a little bird."

"Dad," I say. "We've got an audience tonight. We're putting on a show."
The nurses bring in chairs for the peanut gallery and they settle in, providing a running commentary of my ability to spoon feed my dad (I'm excellent, by the way.) and his ability to receive food from a spoon (also excellent.)
He ate all his soup, his pudding, his peaches, his Ensure and some of the spaghetti hash.
The feeding team of Pete and Jane did well.
The audience got their money's worth.

I am thankful for the sunshine and laughter that friends bring to any situation.  Thankful that there are friends who are happy to just hang out and make the best of a crappy situation. Thankful that dad was smiling, alert, happy and trying to communicate with his friends:

He looks at mom, then Hildegard, then Anne.
"I have to fart."
Hildegard says, "Go right ahead. We'll all clap. Then no one will hear you."

I wipe his face with his bib and clean up his tray. Conversation resumes.
A few minutes later someone asks, "Pete? Did you fart?"
He looks around. Thinks for abit. Then shakes his head. "I forgot."

I am thankful that when I left dad tonight, he wasn't by himself.

Dad and me

Three things I'm thankful for:
1. Art
2. Anne
3. Hildegard


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