(Creative Commons Oldish Fire Alarm by bmb is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)
Yesterday I got a call from the memory unit where J lives that her blood pressure was dangerously low. I got her doctor on the phone, who gave me the impression that the end could be very near.
So I called our adult children, who live within five miles of me. We all prepared ourselves for the worse as our son, his girlfriend and our daughter piled into the car, heading to J’s facility.
When we got there, the aide had given J a tranquilizer and she was sound asleep. Her breathing was easy and she didn’t seem in any pain. Her doctor, who had not seen J in person before asking the aide to call and alarm us, changed her level of care from palliative to hospice. This was good because it meant a registered nurse was immediately dispatched to evaluate her.
A full evaluation was impossible because of the tranquilizer, but at least the nurse could assure us that J wasn’t dying last night and she sent us back to our respective homes.
Who knows what comes next, but thanks to hospice, we will have more than the word of an aide with little to no medical training and an on-call doctor who hasn’t actually seen the patient. If I sound angry, it’s because I am. What a system!
I also recognize that I’m angry because we are going to lose our sweet J sooner than I thought. So hug your loved ones for us and wish J an easy passage when it comes.
UPDATE: J’s blood pressure returned to normal today. Quite the emotional roller coaster.