Banner photo of Larry Eugene Meredith, Ronald Tipton and Patrick Flynn, 2017.

The good times are memories
In the drinking of elder men...

-- Larry E.
Time II

Monday, June 11, 2012

What Grandmother Said

My grandmother (pictured to the left in 1967 with my dog Cynthia) always use to say, "This family can't do anything once if they can do it twice." What she meant was nothing ever worked the first time and we always had to do it over again.

When I left This City Hospital to go visit Mushmouth Manor they were wheeling my mom out to have a feeding tube implanted in her belly.

When I called my dad Thursday morning to ask how the operation went, he said, "They didn't put the tube in."

"What?" I actually though he was confused about the days. "When I left her yesterday they were wheeling her to the operating room."

"She didn't get the tube," was all he could tell me.

"I'll be up tomorrow," I told him and left it at that.

Not long after I got a call from the Admissions Director of Garden Green at Deep Pond. Ms Bubbly must have contacted them about taking my mother. She was calling to explain why they couldn't. They were a small facility, she said. They only had 20-some beds and she didn't have the staffing to deal with my mother's needs.

Okay, so Garden Green at Deep Pond was out and I had never even got to see the place.

I went up that Friday afternoon, having had to tend to some other business that morning, and took my dad to the hospital. When we ambled into room 261 my mom was hooked up to more tubes. (We didn't actually amble in, of course. Dad rolled in upon a wheelchair and I plodded behind pushing it.) There was a new addition to the IVs and monitors, the feeding bottle.

She did indeed now have a feeding tube, but it hadn't been easy. My grandmother had been close to right. We didn't do it once. We didn't do it twice either, but three times. It didn't get done on Wednesday after all. They had some difficulty doing it. They rolled her down again on Thursday and again failed to complete the mission. Finally, on the third try they got the tube inserted.

Now she was getting nourishment equivalent to eating regular meals every day, just without the pleasure of chewing and swallowing and tasting and enjoying. Her meals came in a rectangle bottle hanging above her head on the IV stand. It was a brown unappetizing liquid.

We were no sooner in the room when a young woman came in and informed us they were going to get my mother ready to be moved to Sunset City. Whoa, Nelly, they plugged that tube in and were wasting no time getting rid of her.

I looked around. Where was Ms Bubbly? Didn't she say she'd be right by my side the whole way? Where were the hugs today?

Shortly after two paramedics appeared with a gurney. The lead medic did all the talking. He was very cordial, introduced himself and his partner, asked what else we wanted shipped off with mom and assured us they would be gentle.

One of each got on either side of the bed, grabbed the sheet beneath my mother and on the count of three whisked her through the air onto the gurney and were off. I handed dad a couple potted plants my mom wanted and wheeled him out and down to my car.

We drove around the block to where Sunset City was located not far from the hospital. The ambulance was already emptied. It was nearly 5:00 now. I got dad his walker and took him inside and grabbed a convenient wheelchair left along a wall. There was no one to greet us. There was a counter for a receptionist, but no receptionist behind it. There was certainly no Ms Bubbly. I did not know where they took my mother.

Presently two young aids came out through double doors to a corridor where patients resided on the first floor. I waylaid them and inquired about my mom. They knew nothing and were in fact leaving for the day, but one graciously went to find us help. After a bit of a wait, another woman well decorated with tattoos appeared. She told us my mom was in Room 313.

Was any of this a good omen. The day was April 13, Friday the Thirteenth, and she was in Room 313.

I took dad up in the lone elevator and down the long hall on the Third Floor and into her room. There were three beds in the room and mom was in the middle. No one was in the others at the moment. There was an oxygen pump by the head of her bed, sending the pure gas up a tube that fit into both nostrils. It was very loud, as if not all bolted down tight.

I left dad and went back down to move my car from in front of the entrance to the parking lot. The lobby was again empty. I pressed the bar on the front door and nothing happened. The door did not open. I tried its twin to the left. Same result, the front doors were locked. How do I get out?

Just then a delivery guy pulled up behind my car and he came to the door with a package. He reached over on the wall and pressed a code in a keypad fastened here. There was a click and he pulled the door open. I breezed out.

I parked my car, wondering how I would get back in. I saw the ambulance parked nearby, the one that brought my mom. The two paramedics were standing nearby. I walked over. As I approached the one, the talker, hid a cigarette behind his back.

"You didn't see that," he said.

"I couldn't care less," I told him and asked how I got back into the building. He told me there was a button near the door. Press it and someone should come and let me in.

I walked back up the long path to the door. I found the button and pressed it. Nothing happened. I stood and waited and waited and waited. No one came. I saw a little card attached to the glass on the door. It said if no one answered the button, to call a number, which was given.

I traipsed back to my car, retrieved my cell phone from the glove compartment and returned up the long path to the door. I dialed the number and waited. I though this was another dead end, but then someone did finally answer and that someone did finally come and let me in.

I headed to the elevator and I wondered, "How will we get out of here later?"

The convoluted world of Nursing Homes was just beginning.

And where the heck was Ms Bubbly?

1 comment:

Ron said...


I'm glad you writing about your experiences with your Mother and father, even though the experience is very stressful of you. Writing (and talking) about it you will find will relieve some of your stress. Plus, there will come a day you will want to write about it and probably won't remember all the details like you are doing now. By the way, when I read you said you and your father "ambled" down the hallway I thought "Oh no, Lar wasn't ambling, he was trudging" but I see you subsequently corrected your verbiage.
Keep writing. This latest "adventure" of your will settle down soon, believe me. Then you'll be back on your old boring routine which must look pretty good to you at this point.