Hit the Wall? Keep On Going!

You’re walking down life’s highway when in a flash—it’s gone!
Instant freefall.  Helpless panic.  How can you go on?
Gravity has turned on you and it happened in a blink.
Life has changed instantly before you had time to think.

If this had happened early in life, you’d be more equipped,
and not so vulnerable to storms that buffet your ship.
Obstacles can then be seen as opportunities.
Doors open as doors close; they’re possibilities.

But Mom was 84 when her world changed dramatically.
Exercise was good for her; her doctor said emphatically.
But late one Friday, with her half-mile completed,
she hit the wrong switch.  Instead of stopping, it speeded.

She left the treadmill violently and sailed through the room.
She landed with a thud and lay helpless in the gathering gloom.
Doors locked and injured seriously, she felt so all alone.
She started crawling on both knees to try and reach a phone.

She did, but to no avail, her injuries wouldn’t permit.
Her arms were useless to her now; all she could do was sit.
Dislocated shoulders, two she had, we would find out later that night,
made use of her arms impossible now; concern turned into fright.

She knew she needed help badly now and that it was up to her,
to somehow get a phone call out, to reach a rescuer.
Painfully, she tugged at the cord until she reached the receiver.
With a trembling voice, she wouldn’t have trouble getting anyone to believe her.

One busy signal after another, she thought, ‘of all the times!
When I desperately needed someone; they’re all on other lines!’
She finally reached a son who said her neighbors were almost there.
An ambulance, too, was on its way; all answers to her prayers.

Her faith today would be sorely tested, but nothing could compare,
to the agony awaiting her, all in the name of health care.
Admitting Mom took long enough, on weekends hospitals are packed.
But once she entered their world, she sadly found out what they lacked.
Compassion, attention, the help she needed, were all missing in action,
except for one nurse who knew her, who tried to show compassion.

But medical care a nurse can’t provide,
no matter how caring or hard she tried.
First things first: Mom needed a room; they “stored” her in a hall.
No one checked her condition, despite her pitiful calls.
She needed a doctor, and desperately now, for she was growing faint.
Her pleas had changed to ‘Take me, Lord’, a more pressing plaint.

Mother had persevered through life.
A mother of three, a homemaker, a wife.
Hard work had steeled her; had made her this way.
But her 85th birthday was a mere four days away.

She had rolled with the punches that life had brought.
One would think, “Ah, I worry for naught.”
However this night would prove too much,
when she was left with only her faith to clutch.

A medical doctor finally arrived at her side.
“Friday nights, we’re slammed,” was his lame aside.
My mom wasn’t the only one in danger that night,
the Hippocratic Oath was also about to die!

With hands-on care, that doc finally realized,
the suffering and pain in this patient’s eyes.
“Two dislocated shoulders?!” he asked incredulously?
On one patient?  At one time?  How can that be?

That doctor alone couldn’t get the job done.
He called for help; this required more than one.
I was told to leave; to go back outside.
This was going to be painful. I’m sure that she cried.
It proved more difficult than even they assumed;
it was some time before we could return to the room.

One would think the night couldn’t be more chaotic,
but then we heard something so incredibly idiotic.
To recap, the patient is 87 and lives 20 miles away.
A diabetic, she lives alone, preferring it that way.
She’s had open heart surgery and now has dislocated shoulders.
All this information is accurate and in AnMed’s folders.

It’s been hours since we arrived, so it’s almost midnight,
both shoulders have been reset, but she’s still feeling fright.
The medicine for pain hasn’t quite done the job,
she lays weakly on the gurney and continues to sob.

She’s suffered enough, time to move her into a room,
that’s when they dropped the bombshell on us in the gathering gloom.
“She’s being dismissed; you’ll have to take her home.”
“But shouldn’t she be admitted?  She can’t be left alone!”

We were appalled…caught flat-footed by their gall.
Oh sure, their rules helped them make this call.
But wouldn’t a dash of common sense have made this better?
Instead of following your rigid rules to the letter?

They quickly agreed: “She’s fragile and shouldn’t be left alone.”
The hospital policies are quite explicit and tell us she must go home.
Her injuries seem tragic, but not quite so severe,
that we should provide a room overnight here.
(To force a widow lady out with these problems into the night,
could have created a life and death situation from this plight.)

Mom would not go to her home that night,
and we were too exasperated to put up a fight.
Since the hospital bureaucracy had a heart of stone,
I did what any son would do…took her to my home.

There she stayed until a brother took a turn.
Her recovery was slow, but we quickly learned,
this 87-year-old wonder…our family’s matriarch,
was a remarkably tough lady, with a lot of heart.

As we guessed, she couldn’t wait to get back home;
to get back in her surroundings, her comfort zone.
With excellent caring neighbors to call and check her,
she gradually recovered from the fall that wrecked her.

Wounds have healed, though the memories remain,
of friends and family and others who came,
to her rescue on that fateful night.
But one memory always brings back the awful fright.

The pain, so severe, she thought she would die,
seemed to last forever on that fateful night.
And the hospital, that former bastion of healing and hope,
was, on that night, just a cruel, cruel joke.

So, next time around, this is how it’s gotta be.
When someone I love suffers an injury.
It’s sad to say, but I’d rather be dead,
Than suffer the indignities of a place called AnMed.


This entry was posted on Sunday, June 15th, 2014 at 12:27 pm and is filed under Family. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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