Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Picked my grandmother up from the hospital on Sunday. This is her fourth time in this year, maybe more. I’ve lost count. I mentioned on one of those visits, that at her age, whenever she feels under the weather, or has minor chest pains, they rush her to the emergency room as a precaution. Better safe than sorry. But they inevitably keep her there overnight for observation and we all worry, and wind up getting pissed at their snail-like incompetence.

Back in July I said how they forgot to transfer her expensive medications, making me drive all over the Valley playing prescription pick-up. The blunder this time was just as infuriating.

For starters, no offense to Filipinos or any immigrant group, but I really wish more native-born Americans would go into the nursing field. Simply because I’m frustrated at trying to decipher their Tagalog-tainted speech when they’re providing important medical instructions. Or, please, Miss Manila, RN, learn the difference between your P’s and F’s before telling me about my grandmother’s new prescriptions. “She take pour fills fer day por the pirst week. Take the fills with pood.”

What the puck?!

Getting Grandma home was a real hassle. Poor thing was really tired, moving painfully slowly and still in her nightgown and some disposable hospital robe-thing as she shuffled through the lobby of the old folks’ home. Of course all the yentas at the place had to gawk.

And when I got her settled in her room, and helped her out of the robe, I realized…they left the IV tubes in her arm.

I wouldn’t dare try to remove those things, so I called up the hospital, got the head nurse on the phone. She said, “Ohhh, I porgot!” She asked if I could bring Grandma back. A half-hour drive, not to mention making her go out again? Oh, and did I mention it took nearly an hour just to get a wheelchair so we could get the puck outta Kaiser Fermanente?

Someone from Health South was supposed to come and do an at-home follow-up visit the next day, so the woman at the hospital assured me that it would be okay to leave the tubes in ‘til then. Fine.

But Monday came and went, and then Tuesday. No one came to see Grandma. I was at work, becoming worried that these plastic tubey things in her wrist would cause an infection. By the end of the day, I was livid. Got another mispronouncing med tech at Kaiser on the phone, and explained that no, there’s no skilled nurse at my grandmother’s place to do this job, and I’m an hour’s drive away from her right now, and I shouldn’t have to schlep her all over town to correct their mistake. (Granted, I would have if I had to, but I shouldn’t have to.) They finally dispatched a nurse to make a house call and the problem was solved.

My sister went through this two months ago when she picked up our grandmother from the last hospital visit. But since my sister’s been swamped with work, I took care of it this time. She didn’t finish working ‘til 2:30AM, when she accidentally called me on her cellphone, waking me up and nearly inducing a coronary when I saw who was calling at that ungodly hour. What?!What happened?! “Oops, sorry,” she said. “Must’ve hit redial from earlier this evening.” Thanks, Sis.

I didn’t really wanna write about this, but it helps to get it off my chest so I can calm down... yet not forget. I talked to my grandmother today, and though still not feeling great, she’s at least in better spirits. Actually chuckled when I made my usual wise-ass remark about her having to put her skydiving, bullfighting and stuntwoman plans on hold for a while. Or at least until after she turns 91 in January.


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