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Sunday, 31 January 2016

Mum back in the emergency ward

I got a call this morning at around 8.30am from the nursing home informing me that mum wasn't opening her eyes or responding to questions today. They wanted to know if it was ok to call an ambulance and of course I said "Yes". The crew arrived and took her to Ryde Hospital as usual, so a bit after this second phone call I hit the road and went to the hospital. It's not far from the nursing home and I'm used to the route by now.

At the emergency ward I told the staff who I was and they asked me to go into the ward room. I spoke briefly with a nurse and then with a doctor, who told me that the infection this time was probably due to mum's legs. She has heart failure which causes her legs to swell up and leak, and she has had wounds on her legs now for several months which the nurses in the nursing home dress every day.

I went out a bit later because they wanted to put a catheter in. I headed to the cafeteria on the grounds and bought a coffee and a ham, cheese and tomato sandwich on brown bread. Then I went back into the waiting room and sat down, drinking the hot coffee. I watched the TV which seemed to be showing mainly ads for computer equipment. It was tuned to Channel Nine. Then a nature program came on the screen, showing a guy visiting caves in ancient granite volcano plugs off the north island of New Zealand. Soon he was under the water in scuba gear photographing fish. They fed dead fish to these big, flat, camouflaged predatory fish that live on the reef.

A while later I went back into the ward room and spoke to the doctor again. We went over mum's advance health directive, and I told them that the nursing home has a copy of the original document for reference if required. The doctor told me that verbal consultation with a family member is just as reliable from their point of view. I sat down in the chair next to mum's bed. Her hands occasionally jerked and wandered and she would sometimes make groaning sounds with her mouth. I tucked her hospital gown in and also the blanket as they had somehow worked free due to her moderate exertions.

The antibiotics were administered and the nurse also put a bag of fluids to drain into the canula in mum's arm. I told the doctor that due to mum's dementia she tended to be a bit disoriented once she woke up, in the ward, after the antibiotics had done their work. She thanked me for the information, and for the details of the advance health directive, and said that I could go home. They would admit mum to a normal ward soon. So I got back in the car and drove home.

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