Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Joe in Martin, TN

It took all day, but we finally got a bed in a lock-down unit for Joe. It took going to a different state, but fortunately, not too far from us at the present time. Martin Healthcare in Martin, Tennessee, has a lock down unit and had an empty bed. Thank heaven.

The social services person, Letitia, at Medco in Paducah, worked tirelessly today to find a place. Thank you, ma'am. I appreciate your effort. You managed to pull off a task I am totally unqualified for. Again, thank you.

I spent from 2:00 p.m. until a bit after 5:00 p.m. waiting, hiding from Joe, while they found a place, faxed papers, got a confirmation, got discharge papers signed and done, got referral papers signed so the new place would know the proper meds and medical things they needed to know, and packed up his stuff.

Then I met Joe, got him in the car and headed toward Martin. He was so terribly happy. He thought he was going home. I couldn't tell him I was just taking him to a different facility. He babbled all the way from Paducah to Martin. He was delighted to be out of there. He was delighted with the day. He was delighted with all the new roads. My, wasn't it a long round-about way to Arlington. He either knew every single road we were on or had never seen them before in his life. He talked about how long the trucks were. He talked about all the lights. He talked and talked.

When we arrived, he was going to wait in the car. The people at the new place had it all together and had a wheelchair and personnel waiting for him. I told him he needed to go in. He agreed, but when they wanted him to sit in the wheelchair, you could see it come over his face that he realized he was in another facility and not going to Arlington.

While the staff got him settled in his room, I spent the time with the new social services person, Debbie, signing paperwork, reviewing policies, and getting enough information that it will likely take me 2 days to process it all.

The new facility impressed me with its cleanliness, its spaciousness, its light airy feel, its furniture, and its patient to caretaker ratio. Joe is finally in a locked ward from which he cannot escape. The personnel on the ward, at 8:30 in the evening seemed like long-term employees, not young staff that were new-hires. They seemed to know their business, seemed to know their patients, seemed to have endless patience with them, and seemed to know how to deftly handle difficult patients.

I was forced to leave Joe a bit before I actually had meant to because he was becoming so agitated, argumentative and loud. He was already yelling at other residents. He was extremely angry with me and totally incapable of understanding anything other than he wanted to go home, and I was preventing that. Everything was a load of crap.

Of course he could walk. Of course he wasn't falling down. Of course I didn't have to care for him. Those were the main issues he could deal with. Dealing with you won't wash, you can't shave anymore, you stink, you shit and pee in your pants, you wander, you won't quit going, you won't quit trying to burn, you won't quit walking to town were so far out of the realm of his brain that they're not worth even trying to deal with.

So I left him in the hall, propped against a corner, in his khakis, t-shirt, shirt, and lined winter coat with the hood up over his head shooting dagger looks at me and anyone crossing his path.

I arrived at Lola's house around 9:30 p.m. worn out. Aunt Agnes had again come to my rescue and sat with my Mother. My regular sitter had been at the hospital because her daughter had fallen in the shower, smacked her head on the faucet and was in surgery. It was late for my aunt, and I could tell she was tired and anxious to go. There is no way you can express the gratitude you have for family that will come to your rescue when you're in a tight spot and are begging for help.

May I please, please, have a few days to breathe, to handle the present business affairs, to go to the courthouse, to meet with the elder care attorney, to consider what's next, to simply sit and recover one day? With any luck at all, in the locked ward, he is safe in the hands of people that can finally handle him and will not kick him out because he's too difficult. May he not have another stroke or health crisis for enough weeks that I can figure how to and actually go about resolving other personal care issues with Lola, my husband, and myself.


Barbara Sweeny said...

I'm so glad you found a room!! It feels like a small miracle. And please please please may that buy you a respite. It's brutally hard -- but try to tell yourself that if your Dad knew what you were going through, he wouldn't want you to have to do it. When we started thinking of my mother as a 4 year old (on a good day) it got easier emotionally. You don't expect toddlers to "get it." Joe can't get it either -- and it's not his fault, it's not your fault, it just totally sucks. I pray you get a respite.

Anonymous said...

The good thing about locked units is that the staff is experienced in handling combative, confused, and otherwise difficult patients. It sounds like the place you found is a good one, and I hope it helps that it's closer to you, though I know traveling to take care of Lola is still going to be difficult. I really hope that the lawyer can help you sort things out.

Your recent missives about planning so that the people affected don't have to take on such a burden have hit home. My mother is pretty organized and savvy about things, but I think I'm going to give her a call and discuss some of the finer points of their wishes. There's no way I'm commuting between California and Florida if one of them gets sick...

Hang in there, girlfriend. This too shall pass. Keeping those dpns waving for you.