Waiting to hear the words, “I’m sorry”

To be honest, I don’t even NEED to hear the words, “I’m sorry”, what I need is for people to stop blaming someone or something else for EVERYTHING!!!

Before I begin “todays story”, let me state that I am currently kind of angry and very disappointed. Even though TECHNICALLY I didn’t do anything wrong, I am still owning some blame for something that never should have happened. I’m not being a dick about it, but I am also not accepting, “well you have to understand”. I don’t have to understand. You fucked up. You should apologize. Seems pretty simple.

Several weeks ago, my mom (who has dementia) was told that she needed to have cataract surgery. Because this is something I have been dealing with for some time now, I have become quite good at taking charge of and handling affairs that she can no longer manage. In this instance, I made the appointment for her surgery. I went over all of her medical information (including the fact that she is extremely anxious and suffers from dementia) with the nurse and pre op people. I made sure everything was prepaid. I made sure they had a copy of her power of attorney. I made sure that her prescriptions were filled and my father would oversee their use. I reiterated numerous times that they would need to allow my father to stay with her until she went to the operating room. I was assured that there would not be a problem with this….. Until there was.

A week before surgery, while I was in Colorado. I received a call saying that because of an outbreak of Covid at the surgery center, they would be shutting down for two weeks. “Okay, no problem”, I said. Who was I going to be mad at? Shit happens right? Two weeks go by, and I have to go through all of the preop information again. Also not a problem. I remind them that my father will need to stay with my mom up until the last possible moment. “That won’t be a problem”, we have it notated in her chart. After hanging up with the surgery center, I sat down with both my parents to go over the new information. I reminded them that because of Covid, they might say that my father couldn’t come in. He would just need to tell them to review her chart because they were making an exception for them.

My Mom’s surgery was scheduled for 8 am yesterday. At 10:34, I got a tearful call from my mother yelling, “they wouldn’t let dad go in with me!!! They messed up the surgery!! It hurt so bad I was screaming so they had to stop!”…etc etc etc

Good thing there wouldn’t be a problem huh?

After “talking my parents down”, I called the surgery center and politely asked to speak to “whoever was in charge of listening to complaints”. I briefly explained that my mother had a bad experience and I wanted to talk to someone who could give me more information. I was transferred to the “Director of blah blah blah’s voicemail”. My message was worded something like this… “Hello I’m Grace, my mother (her name) had surgery at 8 am this morning. I just received a very panicked phone call from my mother stating that something had gone wrong during surgery and they wouldn’t let my father in or explain anything to him even though I was assured this would not be an issue. Can you please review any case notes you have and call me back?”

To her credit “director girl” did call me back that afternoon. BUT the first words out of her mouth were, “I can only discuss limited and general information with you because of the HIPAA laws”. I responded, “I am not calling to yell and scream. I am calling because my mother is very upset and I would like to know if you can provide any insight into what happened there today so I know how to proceed.”

As I waited for her response, I thought to myself “Don’t say hippa, don’t say hippa”…. Guess What …..she said HIPPA. (SMDH)

In case you aren’t aware of what Hippa laws are, here is a brief definition : The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) is a federal law that required the creation of national standards to protect sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.

DEEP BREATH

I interrupted her spiel to say,

“I need you to listen to me”. shut the fuck up and stop hiding behind hippa

“I have medical power of attorney over my mother that overrides Hippa” which you would know if you actually read the case notes before calling me In fact, not one person in your office has ever spoken with my mother about her surgery, all communication has been through me. The reason for this is because she has Dementia. Because she has dementia she needed to have my father with her to assure her that what was happening was ok. If you read your fucking notes you would see that! I was assured numerous times before her surgery that this would NOT BE AN ISSUE! More importantly though, I need to know if something went wrong during surgery.

She responded, “I’m going to have to check her records to find the power of attorney, will you hold?”

“Sure not a problem” you fucking moron

When she came back to the call she said, “Ok I found the power of attorney and I see the notes that your father needed to accompany your mother”.

OK and someone fucked up right?!?!?

Can you tell me if something went wrong during the surgery? Why was she in pain?

A whole bunch of big scientificy words came out of her mouth. (to be fair, I guess I did ask for that.) But what I also heard were more excuses….

“NORMALLY this portion is not painful” “Yes she was quite upset” “She had to be sedated, but then everything was fine.” “Because of covid, we don’t let patients bring anyone in with them unless it’s medically necessary” “Your father didn’t argue”

FINE?!?!?!? You not only sedated my mother without her consent, but you didn’t tell my father that she had to be sedated?!?! something he might want to fucking know since he would be taking care of her!!!!!!!!

“So what you’re saying is the surgery was a success and there were no complications?”, I asked.

YES. Someone from post op will be calling her tomorrow to discuss that.

Wow! Just wow!

My thoughts……

Good luck with that you fucking idiot. I already told you all of the information you have for her is mine. When you call her, you will get me. You guys fucked up on so many levels, and now you want to blame covid and tell me everything was a success?!?!? What are you going to do to make sure this never happens again. Why haven’t you apologized?!?!

What came out of my mouth

I understand that Covid has made things very difficult for everyone. I would not want the stress of your job for anything. Although it may not make sense to you, when they call to talk to my mother tomorrow, I am going to need them to apologize to her for not allowing my father to be with her. They will also need to reassure her that she will recover completely from the surgery. Now because you only have my phone number and I want to make sure this happens, I also need to know when to expect this phone call so that I am with my mom when it comes in. Can you give me an approximate time?

I am aware that an apology won’t undo what happened, but neither will excuses. I thought I had done everything that was necessary to make this as smooth as possible. Apparently, I should have gone with her. That’s on me. I will know better for next time. I apologized to my mom for not being there, and have tried to assure her that everything will be ok.

The surgery center is supposed to call at 10:15 central time today.

19 thoughts on “Waiting to hear the words, “I’m sorry”

  1. Even though it won’t do you or your mother, or, for that matter, your father I hope this prompts a review of hospital procedures. Although, really, a hospital should be a place where they pay attention to details.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hopefully you will get something called a Press-Gainey survey that measures patient satisfaction and you can vent your spleen. The visiting thing is tricky, and I only say that because I know we started prohibiting anyone accompanying patients again just recently. But we do have certain exceptions, although I’m not sure dementia is one of them. It should be.

    Bottom line is they fucked up big time. If you want to get some eyes on this, look up the place she had the procedure done, find out who their CEO is and send them a letter. If nothing else you’ll know it got to someone important. You might even get an apology

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We just got home from her follow up appointment with the doctor. He apologized up and down for the pain she had without either of us saying anything. She is not having any pain today and overall the surgery was a success. The surgery center on the other hand….a big fat fail. I will keep my eyes open for the survey and maybe just put the link to this post in there…lol

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Some apologies we’ll never hear. Though they can’t undo all the harm that was done, we’d sure as hell feel better.
    So sorry what your mom and whole family had to go through. I wish we could say, You fucking moron! What were you thinking?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Arrggghhh for fuck’s sake. I’m so sorry for your poor mum. My heart would have broken getting a call like that from her so obviously distraught, and quite rightly so. I’m glad the surgery was technically a ‘success’, but jesus, you went through all of this and they SHOULD have known better. All they have to do is read notes and follow them, yet that seems to difficult. It doesn’t inspire much hope, does it? It’s none of my business so I probably shouldn’t shove my oar in, but if it were me I’d probably follow it up with an official complaint in writing just to get it off my chest and to hopefully ensure this doesn’t happen to another patient. Stuff like this makes me fume so much. And the shit about HIPPA is great until a situation like this. I have authority to deal with my dad’s medical jazz, but I’ve had plenty of nurses and receptionists cause problems because they don’t simply look at the screen to see the authorisation.

    Waiting for a genuine ‘sorry’ may be like pulling teeth with these guys. I’m sorry, Grace.

    How’s your mum doing today? Is she feeling a little better, does she have any pain? I’m keeping my fingers crossed she’s physically okay and that the cataracts has been helped with the surgery  ♥

    Caz xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She is doing much better today, and is less confused now that she the sedative has had time to wear off. Overall the surgery was a success. I am still debating over how to proceed with the surgery center. They did call at 10:15 as promised, but only to ask if she was still in pain. I was driving her to her follow up appointment and had the call on bluetooth. She was calmer about the whole thing so I didn’t push for an apology and they didnt offer one.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Grace, I am so sorry that your Mom had this awful experience. It’s just heartbreaking! I’m glad she’s not having pain today, but that doesn’t excuse the lack of compassionate care yesterday. Our surgery centers here have rules against people accompanying the patients, but they do make an exception for patients who need assistance. I really hope your Mom gets the apology she deserves. The fact that they would treat someone with dementia they way they treated her is completely unacceptable.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Dammit, Grace, I am so sorry that it all went sideways and that the experience was so terrifying for your mom. It’s crazy to me that people in positions like this care so little for the well-being of those they are supposed to be caring for. I hope they own it and apologize, but that seems about as likely as me farting a diamond out my ass, based on what has transpired so far. Hopefully, I am wrong. Sorry, girl. Hang in there and take lots of deep breaths! xo

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There have been scandals up here due to covid where it was discovered that people were being starved in long term care homes. There was a case in Quebec where the staff just abandoned the residents–truly awful.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I remember with my Dad, even though I knew he wouldn’t remember, it was so hard to see him so upset in the moment. You have so much on your plate, my friend. You really are so incredible. I would have crumbled long ago.

        Liked by 1 person

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