Took my dad home from the hospital today. Silver Chain (our supposed home ‘nursing’ help organisation) wouldn’t supply a hospital bed until maybe next week and wouldn’t discharge him until we had one so I went out and hired one. Then I arranged for strong men (husband, brother, friend) and women with determination (pretty much everybody ever bred from or married into my father’s lineage) to move up the stairs into his bedroom.
The bed was to be delivered today. The hospital wouldn’t send him home via state ambulance so I had to organize and pay for that in advance as well. I made sure to tell them that there were stairs and they needed to bring a stair chair or trolley and then I gave them my credit card number and they took the sum total of medical expenses incurred in less than 24 hours to over $1000 – this dying business is lucrative for somebody.
The plan was that the hopsital bed would be deliverd and left downstairs and then Dad would be delivered and be taken up the stairs and tucked into his old bed and then, evening time, those strong folk would get the hospital bed up the stairs, laughing in the face of OHS because love does that, and we would all gently fireman carry him across to the new bed.
No. Not at all. The ambulance turned up but didn’t bring a stair chair and we spent an interminable time whilst the crew got permission to use the trolley and then convert it down when we got home in order to get him up the stairs. Either that or wait for a St John one, which meant possibly not going home that day and I have to admit that I didn’t want to do anything else that would bring down my dad’s wrath upon me. He seems to have decided that I am the scapegoat for everything and I find it very upsetting although I don’t normally let it show. We were so very close and is so hard. So I chickened out; I didn’t want to give my daddy a reason to be any madder at me.
Eventually, that happened (permission granted) and off he went with his wife, and my sister and I stayed to tidy up the room and bring his possessions and drugs and nursing stuff. It was actually interesting how supremely uninterested the whole ward seemed to be in us now that he was going home to die. I had to ask several times when his last dose of breakthrough meds were, when the pain pump would be refilled, when things had last been changed etc and nobody could tell me because of shift changes. It was as if they had washed their hands of him.
When we got back to the Hotel (my dad lives in an apartment on the top floor of a very small hotel) we were met by the lift coming back down, complete with stretcher and him. They couldn’t get it through the door and it was defective and wouldn’t break down into a chair formation. The hallway was too narrow to work on it there so they had to take it down into the lobby and do it there.
They worked on it for over an hour, with no success. My father, already so deathly ill, grew grayer and grayer. There were no spare rooms in the hotel to do it. The only other alternative was on the pavement. The lobby slowly filled with the smell of faeces as his stoma bag started to overflow. My stepmother cried upstairs. They called other units.Not one in the vicinity had a chair stretcher.
I made the decision to take him upstairs and we (my stepmother and I said that we would carry him in rather than degrade him further like this). We made up the hospital bed hurriedly and five of us (the two ambulance staff, my stepmother my sister and myself carried him, using the sheet underneath him through the door, and deposited him on the bed finally, two and a half hours after originally starting.
We had to angle him, we had to tip him. I know it hurt him, because he groaned. I was sobbing silently throughout and I know my stepmother was, too. All of this was avoidable. I feel responsible because I organised this; told to do so, by the hospital. I hurt my father, made him suffer, while trying my utmost for the opposite result. The guilt continues to add up.
Remember how I said I was so ragey these days? This might be a good outlet. I may not be able to get this company’s licence but I can have a damn good try.