Saturday, December 3, 2011


Yesterday I received my initiation into nursing home care, and I have no other way to put it than it sucks. On the surface, the place where my mom is now a resident looks really nice. It's fairly new, with a beauty salon, a fitness center, a rec area, and other amenities. Stay just a few hours and you find out the facility is extremely understaffed, doesn't have enough supplies, and both of these create a situation where patients wait a very long time for care.

I arrived to find Mom in extreme pain. The spasms associated with MS have increased in frequency as well as intensity. I watched as my mom writhed in pain, sometimes breaking down and crying. The helplessness I felt was awful, and the look of grief on my dad's face was even worse. He and I finally said enough and collared the nurse, asking that she please give our loved one something for the pain. She came back quickly with a pain med. Mom was able to swallow it but because of her condition, she vomited a tiny amount back up within minutes. Thankfully, it appeared that most of the medicine stayed down, and within twenty minutes or so, the spasms subsided, giving Mom a break. She was much more comfortable and could carry on a conversation.

During the next few hours, I realized not one CNA or other nursing home personnel came in to check on Mom. I knew she had had a bowel movement, and I informed one of the CNAs of this, asking her to please change her. She did a cursory check to see if what I was asking for was warranted, then turned and said she didn't believe there'd been a bowel movement. She left. I'm a mom. I've changed many diapers. I know the smell of a bowel movement when it happens. All afternoon, for several hours, I kept smelling dirty diaper. Finally, a young CNA--only 18--came in and I asked him to check Mom. This time I stayed in the room and asked that he actually pull her pants down and undo the diaper rather than just lift it a little to check. What we found was not pretty. Because she had sat in it for several hours, bleeding sores developed, causing Mom further pain. I just wanted to scoop her up and take her home. I can take better care of her than what I saw in that nursing home.

I left last evening with a very heavy heart. I just kept thinking I wish I was filthy rich so I could bring Mom home and care for her. During her good hours of the day, I was able to tell her about the Bike the US for MS ride, and the smile she gave me along with the excitement in her voice at hearing this are all the incentive I need to move forward with raising the money for research and completing this ride.

1 comment:

J said...

Oh, no! That is terrible! I hope you report this incident to the facility management. They need to know about it so it doesn't happen again.