On Friday, July 29, I woke up thinking something hadn’t been right about Mom’s demeanor the previous day. Something didn’t quite fit. Except when I first arrived and she said “yeah” when I said “is it sore?”, she repeatedly answered “no” when I asked her if she was in pain. The day before that, her right arm had been painful to the touch, but aside from that, she said she was pain free. And yet she stared blankly, couldn’t speak clearly and seemed exhausted. To add to the mystery, she responded quite lucidly on several occasions, particularly with respect to the taste of the food.
All of this rolled around in my head for a bit, and then my intuition kicked in. She has a urinary tract infection. Her symptoms, such as the blank stare, were classic for an older person, and I had witnessed them all myself in the spring of 2014 when it had looked to me as if she might be dying, which of course she hadn’t. She’d made a full recovery once the UTI was diagnosed and treated.
There was no way of me knowing for sure, but I felt certain my intuition was right: on top of her other injuries, Mom had a UTI.
Sarah hadn’t called me as she had said she would to let me know what happened after I left. Had Mom gone to the hospital or had she stayed at the residence in the end? If she went, when did she go and did someone go with her? What was the diagnosis? What was the treatment? Did she indeed have a UTI as my intuition was telling me? Or was it something else?
No one got in touch with any news on the 29th either. I chose to believe no news was good news, and to sit tight. I didn’t have much choice, I wasn’t allowed to call the home with questions — it was verboten as part of the bundle of restrictions that had been imposed on me in February 2015 to punish me for advocating for Mom. But surely someone would call me if she were dying or had died. Surely someone would do that…
Do you have a family member, friend, or someone you know in long-term care? Have you seen neglect and abuse firsthand? If so, please speak out against these human rights violations, and find ways to create joy amidst the tragedy.
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