Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary

It appears I took the summer off

I didn’t intend to, but I was a little funked out and Mom was really ill for a couple of months. Turns out part of her problem was liver stones. Yeah, that’s right, liver stones. I didn’t know there were such things. It was a surprise because she had her gall bladder and its stones removed about 15 years ago.

She had some big babies — 4 were about 2 cm each — and a host of  small stones.  They transferred her to U of I hospitals to remove them. She was in and out of there in a flash and the way they dispatched her home disturbed and still disturbs me. I know there’s a drive to shorten hospital stays to save on costs but to send a 90-plus-year-old home without first contacting the family member (me) living in the home and transporting the patient via the airport shuttle vehicle and dumping her in an apartment with no one to attend her is, to say the least, in my eyes BAD FORM.

Oh yeah, they also had been told that I was an amputee using  a wheelchair. How much physical help could they really have thought I would be to her?

They had no physical therapy evaluation in the papers they sent home with her but told one of the nurses at the assisted living building (Ridgeview) associated with our senior center that she could care for herself.

Hockey puck. She couldn’t get out of her chair herself.

Also, they sent her home still having extreme pain and muscle spasms in her back.

You’re practically defenseless in a hospital if you’re old, don’t hear well, don’t have a family member or a patient advocate at your side at all times. Of course, the doctors, nurses, etc. when questioned about things all said they had  explained to her. I couldn’t be there but I’ll bet I can tell you none of them asked if she was hard of hearing or spoke up when they saw her hand cupped by her ear.

She’s sharp as a tack, bullheaded and vocal about her rights but she’s also proud and not likely to ask beyond one time for someone to speak up.

Shortly after she was unloaded at home – it did seem to me they treated her like cargo – we knew she was in desparate need of physical therapy. Her GP in Iowa City helped us out with a script for PT that allowed us to place her in a nearby care center that has its own PT department.  She was there about 3 weeks and is now back with me though she’s not fully recouped.

I’m having a devil of a time getting her to move beyond an occasional trip to the bathroom, but I keep trying to motivate without nagging.

Wonder where my streak of stubborness comes from?

A change in direction

I’ll be back blogging more often but the blog entries will be more general though I will keep talking about dialysis and the journey with kidney disease, diabetes and all the other lovely medical issues in my life.

Feels good to be back.

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September 19, 2009 - Posted by | kidney

4 Comments »

  1. Kathy,

    So sorry to hear that your mom and you had a bad hospital experience. Having worked in a hospital for over 20 years, I can tell you that a patient cupping her ear is a CLUE. I can’t imagine how they missed it. On the other hand, it’s good to hear that your mom is getting the help she needs and to hear from you.

    Take Care,
    John

    Comment by John | September 20, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks, John and JET. Unfortunately it’s not the first time we’ve had a less than satisfactory result from UofI care.
      I will be trying to keep up with the blog though it might turn a little more general than so dialysis/transplant specific.

      Thanks for commenting. It’s always nice to know people are reading.

      Comment by iowakitkat | September 20, 2009 | Reply

  2. Hi kathy, Are you still on dialysis? Any prospects for a donor? I have had three kidney transplants and all were cadivaric. WOuld love a live HEALTHY donor. Two of my friends were tested and were found to have illnesses they did not know about. I am stuck on dialysis for over three and half years AGAIN. UGH….Need to find a donor. Best to you, JET

    Comment by JET | September 20, 2009 | Reply

  3. Kathy, sorry that your summer was such a bummer. I missed you (yeah, I am a stranger and a lurker, but I can still miss you). I’ve been following your blog for quite a while now and I look forward to more posts.

    Are you still working on your Historical Fiction project? Do you belong to any writers groups (either on line or in person?)I joined one in the spring, and it has really made a difference in my writing – now I feel as though I have a deadline twice a month to meet with other people – it helps, and it is great to put CKD & dialysis in the back seat from time to time.

    Hoping that your Fall is a good one, your mother is doing well, and that you can put the events of the Summer far behind you.

    Best,

    Anna Bennett

    Comment by Anna Bennett | September 25, 2009 | Reply


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