Advocacy, Real life, Toward better care

detective work: july 30, 2016

When I still hadn’t heard anything about Mom’s condition by mid-afternoon on Saturday, almost forty-eight hours since she was meant to be going to the hospital, I decided to go down to the residence to see if she was back, and if she wasn’t, to see if I could piece together what had happened.

It was a relief to find Mom alive, and lying in a recliner in the second-floor kitchen/dining area. She was covered with a blanket. Her eyes were closed, and she didn’t respond when I greeted her. When I lifted the blanket, I saw she had an “apron” around her neck. Maybe she had something to eat at lunch. Under the apron, she was wearing a blue hospital gown. Her arm was in some kind of sling; what I could see of it looked awful.

I sat by her side for about half an hour during which I learned through the grapevine (not from the staff) that an ambulance had been at the residence at about 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, a little over three hours after I left, and that she’d gotten back to the residence at about 4:30 p.m. the next day, Friday. So she’d been back at the residence for twenty-four hours and nobody had bothered to call to tell me whether she was dead or alive. She had a broken arm, and, just as I had suspected, a urinary tract infection.

Having a broken right arm would be problematic, but at least the UTI might be addressed. I’d seen her make seemingly miraculous recoveries from several of them over the nearly four years she’d be in the residence. Maybe she’ll get better. Maybe there’s still hope.

It would soon be time for dinner, and there wasn’t much room in the tiny the kitchenette cum dining room, so I left Mom in the recliner after saying goodbye, crossed my fingers she’d be in better shape at our next visit, and took my leave.


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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Image copyright: vectorlab / 123RF Stock Photo

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