Monday, July 30, 2012

Ya Gotta Have a Big Mouth...

Once again it pays to have a big mouth & ask a lot of questions. It was Mama's fourth ER visit within the last six months! If I didn't push for her to be released from the hospital, she would have been there all weekend. And we all know that not much can happen in the hospital on a weekend.

Me: Is this test necessary? Was that test necessary?  I want to speak to the doctor now. She received her transfusion overnight & is very anxious to leave, I want her released. She is disoriented, remember she does have Dementia.

Nurse: Ohh, that's right she has Dementia. Well, the doctor won't be here for a few more hours.

Me: Oh, really? I just heard the doctor being paged. I need to speak to her & clarify the situation. I know the wait isn't necessary just to speak to her, especially if Mama doesn't need anymore tests.

After using my charm & refusing to take NO for an answer, the doctor magically appears within minutes. She agrees with me that yes in fact Mama is fine now & can leave. BTW, I was correct again... the test was not needed. Nor was the wait to have the test (that couldn't be done over the weekend anyway) which would have caused Mama more anxiety & confusion staying in an unfamiliar place. We packed her up & left... Phewww!!!

My ADVICE for other Caregivers... Speak up, don't take NO for an answer & keep asking questions. Be like your loved one with Dementia & KEEP REPEATING YOURSELF to EVERYONE - the nurses, the doctors, anyone & everyone. You know your loved one more than anyone in the ER or the doctor seeing them for the first time. Have your info available (meds, history, etc) most nurses or doctors do not read the charts or will ask the same questions that are already listed in the charts! Don't be afraid to speak up & question things & always ask about any alternative options. Don't accept the first suggestion & say what you feel your loved one needs (think Shirley MacLaine in "Terms of Endearment" - "Give my daughter the shot NOW... thank you...")

Hang in there & know that you can do it!


  1. I am my 92-year-old grandmother's primary caretaker. We've been to the ER twice in the last couple of months. One time she was being tested for clots in her legs. Didn't have any, but the nurse had said that they'd probably keep her overnight to observe. I thought I should try to fight it, because she lives in a home with only 15 residents and at least 4 caregivers during the daytime hours. She's "observed" plenty. Fortunately, the doctor released her.

    But I will remember this. I need to do what's best for her -- and to be honest -- myself.

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  2. Thanks Jennifer Donovan for sharing your experience. It's a tricky situation being a Caregiver. Sometimes you just gotta go with your instincts... just like Parenting.

    Hang in there & always keep yourself strong so that you can be there for your grandmother. Laughter always gets us through the worst of our situations.