Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Backing Up A Little

I mentioned in a previous post that we learned to recognize when Mother had a UTI because she would say something confusing or just weird.  One day, I went in, and I don't remember exactly what she said, but it didn't make sense, so, I..................

Me to the floor's head nurse - Mother probably has another UTI.  I was wondering if ya'll could do a urinalysis and culture to check it out, or a blood test, whatever.
Nurse D - Your Mother just has dementia and not a UTI.
Me - No, she doesn't have dementia (at that point we don't think she did, or at least it was very mild and not obvious).  She has a better memory than I do.  Of course, that's not saying much.  (I was trying to be pleasant with this BEAST in a nurse's uniform.)
Nurse D - I'm sorry, but we can't be running tests on her all the time.  HER FAMILY is always asking us to run tests, and we just can't.  She just has dementia, and HER FAMILY needs to understand that.
Me - Excuse me (not being nice anymore!) but my mother has a better memory than you and I do together!  I am HER FAMILY and I don't ask for her to be tested all the time, just when she starts being confused, which we have learned means that she has a UTI!  I WANT her to have tests run to confirm this.
Nurse D - Well, I'll call her doctor to see if he will order the tests, but I know he won't because THE FAMILY is just denying her REAL problem.
(A receptionist sitting at the desk next to where this conversation was taking place looked incredulous that this B would be talking to me this way!)
Nurse D struts across the hall into her office and slams the door behind her.  A few minutes later she returns and says - The doctor said he would order the tests, but he wasn't happy about it.
Me - Well, you know what?  She's my mother, not yours.  I hope your mother never ends up in a nursing home where people like you are so cold and uncaring.
Nurse D  turns and walks away.
Receptionist - She's like that all the time.  I'm so sorry.
I went directly down to the first floor and asked to speak to the nursing home director whom I had never met.  He wasn't there, of course.  Instead the social worker came from her office.  I told her exactly what had been said by this nurse who was supposed to be taking care of my mother.  She indicated that they had had other complaints about her.  Well, then why was she still there?  I was livid!!!!!  I didn't calm down for days after this.
BTW Mother had a horrendous UTI!!  My brother and sister both had words with Nurse D about this.  She turned the other way every time she saw me after that.  She told my sister that I had always caused her problems.  This encounter with her was the only time I ever talked to her!!!
When Mother left that nursing home, I was mailed an evaluation from the NHC main headquarters.   Let me tell you, I told it like it was.  I praised those who had been wonderful to all of us, especially to Mother.  I named them by name and gave them the credit they deserved.  BUT, on the other hand, I told it like it was about NURSE D, too.  I sure hope she's not still employed there or anywhere that compassion should be a part of the job!  I don't really understand anyone becoming a nurse who doesn't have compassion.  I have relatives and friends who are nurses and they are all some of the most caring compassionate people I know.  In order to do this kind of work one has to be this way!


  1. Oh my gosh, Julia...I am shaking, I'm so angry for you over this incident! I would have clobbered her if she spoke to me that way about a family member.
    I think you should make an appointment to go sit down with the director of nursing & vent this incident in person!!! This woman should NOT be working! She is a danger to any patient that needs her to listen. Complain to the nursing board of your state or to the health department. How about contacting the head of the hospital? Don't let this go, please? You may save someone else's mother's life by following up on this. I would come there & fight this battle for you, if I could.

    So sad to think of what she might still be doing,
    Rett, RN for over 30 years!!

  2. It did upset me too Julia that you had to go through such an incident with a nurse. But you did right going to higher ups about it. Would love to know if they got rid of her. My daughter is a nurse and gets very frustrated when she sees patients treated poorly or being nasty to the family. That nurse, may one day be in a situation in a nursing home being taken care of by a nurse from Hell. What goes around comes around.