Recently I had to visit someone that I have known since my childhood in a Rehabilitation Center. She has always been a nana to me and I was truly devastated to hear she was in a situation where she couldn’t take care of herself. I knew nothing about her condition prior to visiting with her. I called the Rehabilitation Center to make sure that she was still there. The woman on the phone said she wasn’t there. I replied that she had to be, as I was told the previous night that she had been brought in. The woman looked again and said she saw her name but could find her. After looking again, she was able to find her. I asked what the visiting hours were and I was on my way.
I arrived at the Rehabilitation Center. It was pretty on the outside and in a very nice part of the town. It’s decorated nicely. Definitely quite welcoming in appearance. Things definitely change when you get in the patient rooms.
Upon entering my Nana’s room, I’m immediately smacked in the face with the smell of self deification. The smell is so pungent that I immediately have the urge to vomit and my eyes start running and my throat is soar. My Nana’s roommate appears to have lost her mind talking to herself the entire visit and yelling out various comments and statements.
Once I peered behind Nana’s curtain and was again hit with an even more pungent smell than from her roommates side of the room, I was saddened to see how fragile she had become. Her small tight quarters was very unkept. Her medicine/food tray was filthy, still full of trash and spills. Her portable toilet was full and smelled horrible. She herself had soiled herself and was wearing soiled hospital socks.
Upon first look, Nana couldn’t tell who I was. But once I was closer she could both see me and hear me and knew exactly who I was. She told me how much she missed me and how happy she was to see me. I showed her pictures of my children who she loves and has cared for through the years. Suddenly, without cause she started bellowing. I asked her what was wrong, and she said she was happy and sad at the same time. She said “some people are really nice and some people are really mean to me. I want to go home.” I asked her what had happened and why she was there. She couldn’t quite remember other than to say that she has trouble standing and that there was something wrong with her legs. She asked me to try to find out when she w going to Revere to live. I went out to the front desk and spent more time waiting to speak to someone about my Nana than I had actually spent visiting with her. It was clearly obvious that I needed to speak to someone. One nurse was eating her lunch, the other was on the phone. They both just looked at me. After 10 minutes, I asked the woman eating her lunch if she could help me. She asked me with what I told her. She said I’m on my lunch break, but she should be off the phone in a minute or two. It ended up being 20 minutes before I realized that she was talking to one of Nana’s friends who had her Healthcare Proxy. I asked to speak with her so I could find out what was going on. I told her what I had observed and that I wasn’t at all happy. She told me that she was working on everything and not to tell my Nana what was going on.
I returned to Nana’s room to kiss her goodbye. I could stay no longer as I could no longer stand the smells around me.
I was angry that no one seemed to care about the patients they were supposed to be caring for. If only they imagined themselves in that very condition being treated that same way. I told my husband that I never wanted to end up in a place like that, pretty on the outside, deplorable on the inside. Please make sure that wherever your loved ones end up that it is in a place that you could see yourself in. If that doesn’t seem to exist, then don’t leave them there, because some day yourself may be there.