Since April my mum has been confined to hospital following a fall, suffering from firstly a bleed on the brain, and suspected broken neck, then a flurry of infections, then a really nasty e-coli one and another UTI. During all this she has been shunted from hospital to hospital, so forgive me for being very remiss with the blog.
I used to read about elderly people dying from dehydration or starvation in hospitals and not believe it. Imagine – an elderly person lying stupefied from drugs and the £3.50 an hour orderly wheels a food trolley past their room. ‘Want dinner?’ he or she says. There is no reply because the elderly person is either asleep or doesn’t want much. So the orderly moves on. The nurses are supposed to keep a record of what the patients eat and most of the time they do. But if the elderly person doesn’t have an interested family to say: ‘Hang on I was here and there’s no way dad had a whole plate of spaghetti and a banana’ then that person can so easily slip quietly into malnutrition and. . . . .
I ring the hospital to ask what kind of medication she’s on and the nurse has usually ‘just come on duty so can’t tell me anything’ but ‘she’s looking very cheerful today’. At first that made my sister, my father and I feel a little better but now it just seems like bullshit. We are going down to the hospital tomorrow to see if they are still considering her for the physiotherapy ward where she might get a stab at getting her life back – with intensive physio and speech therapy. But it all depends on beds, and the longer she stays mouldering in hospital, the less ‘suitable’ as a physio patient she’ll be. It’s all very well talking about age discrimination but behind the scenes, decisions have to be made about who is more suitable. What my sister and I are not going to allow is for her to be shunted off to a nursing home without a fight.
I’m sorry – my sense of humour has gone a bit AWOL recently.
On another note, yesterday I had a glimpse of The Girl as a teenager after I asked her to brush her teeth. ‘What – ev –er’ she snapped.