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.

Parenting your parents

Do you remember when you were a child and could not wait to grow up or get older? Be honest, I think everyone felt that at one point. Then almost overnight, you became an adult. I know that it doesn’t feel like that when you are going through your pre 18 years, but when you are in your 40’s looking back at the things you’ve done in your life, it sure seems like it’s gone pretty quickly. I graduated high school, had and raised children. ( I’m even a grandma now) I’ve been married …..and divorced. Bought and sold a car (or two)…hell bought and sold a house or two. I’ve traveled to far away places, jumped out of a perfectly good airplane….The list goes on and on.

I have also lost many people that I’ve cared about. I’ve held and comforted people while they were suffering, and tried to help them up after their loss.

My point is that I feel like I have done MOST of the things that adults are expected to do. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure I still have a lot to do with my time on Earth. I think my ‘confusion’ or quandary is that I never thought that one day I would be ‘parenting my parents.’

During the last couple of years, more and more frequently both of my parents have begun to rely on me. ….ALOT (Sometimes I feel like I’m being given chores AGAIN) Sometimes I think, OH My GOD you’ve got to be kidding me?!?!?! and then OTHER times ( like when I go to yet another classmate’s parents funeral ) I realize I would move heaven and earth to keep them around as long as possible.

I saw a meme or something on facebook one day that said, “when you lose your parents, you are an orphan. When you lose your spouse you are a widow. When you lose a child there is no word for it, just like there are no words to describe the pain.” I also don’t believe there is a word for the child that parents their parents. I wasn’t “in a hurry” to get to THIS part of life.

My mother has Dementia/ Alzheimer’s.

About a year ago, my father was told that he was going blind.

I am in a “new” phase of my life, that I was not prepared for.