Saturday, August 25, 2012

Rock Hard Hamburger

There is no way to describe the complete events of the past two and a half weeks.  Suffice it to say that my Mom (who lives with us) was diagnosed two and a half weeks ago with a rare and seriously aggressive form of cancer. Less than a week after diagnosis, she went through major surgery. Next was 6 days in the hospital and then transferred to a skilled nursing facility for physical therapy.
After four days in the rehab facility, I removed her due to negligence and poor care. I can't say too much about it all because of pending state investigation, but by the time I got her home last night I was shaking and wrung out.

3+ hours of facing down intimidation and belligerence from the facility staff, with all my four kids there.  Jonny (3 year old) shut his hand in the door once--much screaming, then a while later hit his face so hard he got a nosebleed.
I don't know if I've ever been so emotionally railroaded as I was during this encounter.  One tiny example is that the facility director came in and was so understanding, talked about how much she understood and supported this decision, even broke into tears. Then 10 minutes later was cutting and derogatory, then a while after that was back to compassionate and apologetic.  I finally told her to please stop the games and just do her job which is to try and keep me from leaving, and I'll do my job which is to care for my mom. A whole parade of people, some playing good cop, some playing bad cop, marching through to badger me.

The closest I can describe how I felt last night is to say that I was "emotional hamburger."  Completely and utterly ground up and spit out. Shaking, weak, not an ounce of form or substance left. Attacked on both fronts; guilt for putting my mom into such a place in the first place, and then the added strain of having all my kids there during this whole fiasco.  The little ones were bored, the big ones understood enough to know that people were mad and trying to not let us bring their grandmother home and they were frightened.

And yet, somehow, with a strength that was not mine,  I did it. I faced down the nurses, the directors, the slick doctor (who has mastered double talk and lies at a level I'd previously never seen), and I had the presence of mind to attach my own notes to records, to number pages, to write on their official forms that my notes should be attached and my signature was invalid without the additional attached pages.
It's not like I have previously planned out how to break my mother out of a medical facility, but the presence of mind was supernatural.
I'm afraid that my words are failing me today and I may not be communicating correctly, so let me say again, this was not me.  I was emotionally distraught, physically shaking, but under the hamburger of me, was the Rock of the Lord.  Calmness, clarity of thought, persistence... all came flowing in from above.

I have been surrounded and supported by prayer since the first day that I posted about the cancer diagnosis. I felt the love and care of others and the strength from God since day one, but yesterday afternoon was a whole new thing.

An interesting (to me at least) thing is the contrast between the care that mom has received from all other medical personnel involved. I've been praising God for the utmost high standard of care she has gotten from her surgeon, and from the hospital staff. I have been amazed and humbled by the personal level of care she has gotten from her other physicians not directly involved with the cancer treatment but with her other medical issues.  For instance, her Nephrologist came in to the hospital personally, EVERY day to monitor her kidneys and blood pressure problems.  So to come from such an amazingly high quality of care to outright incompetence and negligence was disturbing and overwhelming.
But here's the thing, even with everything that was wrong, she did not come to actual harm (although I truly believe she could have/would have had we not been there every day for hours at a time to monitor things).   I think that we have now experienced both the best AND worst care scenarios and I have seen that God was there during both sets of circumstances.  How beautiful is that?!  How comforting! What an assurance.

Throughout it all, I've been surrounded by loving friends, by family, by my sister sharing the load of care, by my amazing husband taking over everything at home. Yesterday though, I was on my own. My sister was five hours away, I didn't have any friends phone numbers with me, I tried calling mom's other doctors for guidance and although I have always been able to reach them, yesterday I couldn't get anyone.
It was just me.
And I experienced the reality that when it's down to just me, and I don't have anyone else to help, God is there; solid, sure, steadfast.

I needed that, I'm amazed, and I'm thankful. 

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