I was rather emotional when I wrote that last post, so I want to take a moment to clarify a few things, lest anyone think that I am just not ready to let go or being unreasonable. Apparently, Nurse Betty feels that way, as she left me two VM’s, basically saying that she knew better than I what is best for my mother.

First of all, there may be a time and place for drugs like Haldol; however, I don’t know a single solitary human being that can walk in off the street, spend 15 minutes with someone and make any medical judgements, let alone suggesting a drug described as “a major tranquilizer,” and one that has horrific and potentially deadly side effects.

Picture this. Mom is laying comfortably in the recliner. A stranger comes in, and without any preparation or calming words, puts a blood pressure cuff on her and inflates it. Um, guess what – despite everything, my mother STILL knows when something hurts, and THAT hurts. This stranger continues poking and prodding, trying to restrain her patient.

Well, you’re damn right Mom was screaming loud enough to wake the dead. I’d be pissed as hell, too, and I don’t have dementia to further complicate things.

There are just so many thing things wrong with this situation that I can’t even begin to list all of them, but here are the ones that immediately come to mind:

  • With me, the daughter of her patient, sitting no more than 8 feet away, for a nurse to discuss Haldol with a member of the house staff before speaking to me is inexcusable.
  • The very first thing that nurse should have done was take advantage of the most valuable resource she had available and spend 30 minutes talking to the staff to learn about the patient. Instead, she did not ask for a single bit of background from the people who have cared for this woman 24x7x365 for the past two years.
  • That a medical professional would pat a caregiver on the back and say, “I know you’re patient now, but I just want you to know there’s an end in sight” is outrageously callous.
  • For someone so clearly unable to relate to dementia patients to even be sent into this situation is a travesty. I might add that the nurse was warned that Mom doesn’t like people getting in her face or fussing over her, yet she approached her like a bull in a china shop.
  • The fact that this nurse had no idea what meds my mother was already taking before even mentioning a powerful drug like Haldol is absurd. Keep in mind this wasn’t even the nurse assigned to my mom’s case; she was a part time weekend floater.
  • If indeed the nurse truly had spoken to the doc about this (as she told Deb) before even meeting my mother, I was clearly misled when told during several conversations that Heartland Hospice doesn’t believe in medicating people right off the bat.
  • And the fact that this nurse would argue and blatantly lie to me, not once, but multiple times when I asked her to leave, and add insult to injury by following up with not one, but two phone calls questioning my judgement is unforgivable.

You can bet that I will do what I can to make sure this woman never treats another dementia patient.

I don’t want to completely give up on hospice due to this one awful experience, but it will be awhile before I’m ready to consider talking to anyone else, and they will be grilled before they are given the opportunity to come within a foot of Eason House.

Later this evening, I’ll post some photos of Mom from this afternoon as she sat at the table drinking three glasses of juice and eating 5 or 6 crackers by herself. She definitely had some agitation today, but no screaming, and we actually had her laughing on more than one occasion.

I’ll be honest, after listening to those voice mails, a little part of me did begin to second guess myself, but spending several hours there today provided me with complete reassurance that I did the right thing.

Bottom line, don’t ever let anyone make you doubt what YOU feel is best for YOUR loved one.

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