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melting but not down

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The calm before the storm

After a couple of weeks of placid mum, I had two days of grouchy mum, complaining bitterly about the lack of care on the ward (at teatime 'they haven't given us any food all day!') and wanting to go 'home'. Non-PC mum also played a blinder - a black male nurse was keeping watch on A and V - two very poorly patients with a tendency to try to get out of bed; he was mostly seated near them but occasionally got up to manoeuvre them gently back into a comfortable position or allay their anxieties. If mum referred to 'that darky over there' once, she said it half a dozen times in her deaf person's loud voice, despite my telling her she was being rude. She insisted on commentating on her interpretation of the situation - he was lazy just sitting there all the time doing nothing, he was wearing a white coat so he would look official and then(with amazement, after I'd told her umpteen times he was a nurse) he must work here! He must have heard her but showed no sign of it, we exchanged pleasantries and he voluntarily helped me get mum from the chair onto the bed and sorted out her dirty laundry for me. He deserves a medal, I'll bet my mum isn't the only racist geriatric he has to deal with.

Yesterday she was back to cheery mum and especially enjoyed her wheelchair trip to the hospital cafe with me and lovely daughter for a cup of tea (wish I'd thought of it sooner, gave us something new to do and certainly made the time pass quickly).

A member of the ward staff phoned this afternoon. Mum was very anxious and agitated, could I talk to her on the phone and come to see her asap? As anticipated, mum couldn't really hear me but she was cross and confused. She said she'd been asking them to ring me to tell me where she was, as though I didn't know, and wanted me to go there straight away and take her home. The assistant said she'd check with the staff nurse whether it would be best for me to visit or stay away. The SN came back on the phone and said that as mum had now settled on her bed, it might disrupt her again if I went, so I didn't! Freedom!!

I'm going to see my GP tomorrow to renew my sick note (still have only half a brain, if that) and then I have to go to the hospital to meet mum's social worker and go through her assessment report. Then on Wednesday there's a meeting on the ward to determine what kind of residential care mum needs. Flak jacket at the ready.......


Emily said...

The otter is amazing! What a find!

Yes, I'll bet that poor nurse has to put up with stuff like that all the time. I was in Mississippi with my mother some years back, visiting her octogenarian friends. One woman, who needs constant care from a black woman who's been with her for years, began railing loudly against black people for I-forget-what-reason. (The civil rights movement still rankles there.) The black woman was behind her, & our eyes met. Somehow the message came: "Leave it alone, She's just an old woman who can't make any difference."

Well, I'd been well-trained not to pick fights with elderly hosts anyhow, plus clearly I was being baited, as a northerner, so I just smiled. Felt funny, though.

rilera said...

They lose their filters with dementia too. Last year when Mom was in hospital she pointed at a man and said 'That man is a real dick' to both me and my sister. My Mom would never have said that pre-dementia. We still chuckle about that.

J said...

Mom doesn't usually curse but when she has UTI or one of her really bad episodes... she can let loose with some foul lanquage.
(((Lily))) I'll send good thoughts your way.