Initially she didn’t get to share a room with my dad as he had contracted C-Dif (a bacterial infection – apparently common in nursing homes and very contagious.) My dad was basically in isolation. I think they let my mom visit with Dad from the doorway. It was several weeks before she could move in with Dad. The C-Dif isolation “thing” must have been a nursing home policy as Mercy Hospital had no restrictions when I asked Mercy if I could bring Dad to see Mom when she was in the hospital. I tried to get permission to take him to visit her, but was not allowed supposedly by the nursing home. I later found out that my brother Mark (Mom and Dad’s legal guardian) had restricted me from taking my dad anywhere out of the nursing home building. I couldn’t take him for walks on the nursing home grounds; for car rides; nowhere. Does anybody think that restriction was unfair? So, eventually my dad’s C-Dif infection cleared and Mom moved in with him. I think the photos accurately portray my mom’s and dad’s entire nursing home existence. Molly was usually found tightly grasping the bedrails like she was going to float away or fall out. She was afraid.
The ones showing severe bruising were supposedly caused by a fall – a fall that the nursing home said happened while my mom was walking alone in the middle of the night to the bathroom. I have my suspicions and would like your feedback if they are valid suspicions or if I’m “crazy.” One, how could she have gotten out of bed with the bedrails up? Two, my brothers maintained she couldn’t walk (i.e. the reason they wouldn’t let her go home.) The nursing home staff told me Mom could walk, but only with “assistance.” Did that mean she could walk on her own, but the nursing home preferred (or, was mandatory) that she walk only with assistance?
Both of my parents nursing home lives (I believe) were “hell.” My mom’s was the shortest and I feel the most egregious so I’d like to write about that first. However, at this point I don’t know if that description will be brief or elaborate. As I write I’m running out of emotional “gas” and its becoming more difficult; but I’ll try. I had again let my parents down. First, not getting them out of the guardianship/conservatorship and, not following thru with the promise – never to put them into a nursing home.
Basically, my mom’s day started about 5:30am when the nursing home staff (according to my mom) gave her a cold shower or bath. Then she and Dad were wheeled to a cafeteria for breakfast. After breakfast back to their room. The only form of entertainment was TV. My parents never had been daytime TV watchers, so there they sat or laid in bed no socialization; no entertainment; very little interaction with staff. I was told by staff my parents were getting daily physical therapy, but I never observed it. I visited my parents everyday usually from mid-afternoon thru early to mid-evenings, but I would mix my visits to anywhere from 6 or 7am to 9 to 11pm. On a number of occasions I would come multiple times per day including 2 or 3am. I wanted to be assured my parents were well taken care of. Actually, on several occasions I stayed overnight as staff were giving my mom benzodiazepines to help her sleep (a serious contraindication) as people with COPD can’t have benzos (or any meds) that compromise the respiratory center in the brain. She had several severe reactions to these meds that put her in the hospital. On several occasions when she had bad reactions or other health concerns that didn’t require hospitalization, I stayed overnight to make sure she was alright and well taken care of. She was wearing diapers as she had developed some incontinence. Quite a few times I observed male aids [(CNAs) of color – I know that is racist, but my mom was a “farm girl” from northwest Iowa and didn’t grow up with persons of color and “something” in her life made her afraid of such] checking her diaper by reaching under the bed covers into her diaper. To be fair, I don’t know if they were touching her genitals, but this was very upsetting for her as she was either awake or woken by these diaper checks. Go back to page 5 << >> Go to page 7