Do You Hear Me?

Some days I have trouble understanding the human race. Today is one of those days.  I recently admitted a new resident into the facility who has a host of medical issues. She came with doctor’s orders for a ton of meds, including insulin to control her diabetes.  I notified the family, explaining how we needed her meds brought in pronto, or if they would consent, we could get the meds through our pharmacy.  For 45 minutes, the son explained to me how he could not afford his mother’s medicines, how little money she had, and that I needed to get all the medications discontinued from the doctor.  Ummmm..hmmm.  

Let me get this straight. I am supposed to call her doctor and tell HIM that Mrs. Smith can’t afford her medicine, and he needs to write discontinue orders?      I wonder how well that would go over?  Hmm.       

I explain to the son, how her blood sugars have been running high, 480ish, to which he replies, “what do you want me to do about it? Do you hear me? I am not paying for anything.Do you hear me?”    Holding the phone away from my ear, I could still hear him ranting.

“You people are all about money and lining drug companies pockets. I know how you people work. You are a crrok yourself, charging people an arm and a leg to live in your facility, then you have the nerve to call me and ask me for more money. I am NOT paying for anything else, do you hear me?” 

Whoaaaaaa. This is the part of the story that I have to think carefully before I type. If I didn’t, I would use words that are not becoming to a christian woman and certainly beneath my professionalism.  I just don’t understand people. I did not make him move his mother into my facility. I did not give her diabetes or any other medical issue. I did not prescribe her any medications. How am I to blame for any of these issues?  Yet, this ..this…..this.. “man”…chooses to make his problems my problems. 

Sometimes my job requires me to make choices that I don’t like to make. I can easily discharge Mrs.Smith, stating we are unable to meet her needs . BAM! problem solved.   Is it really? Where does that leave Mrs. Smith? Back in a house, alone? At least here in the facility, she will some form of “safety measures in place”.  Or does she? How can I take care of her with her sugars sky high without medications to manage it? 

I read Mrs. Smith’s chart again this afternoon,trying to sort out what is the best choice I can make for her. The only reason she is in my facility is because the daughter-in-law felt she was unsafe in the home and not taking care of herself. Apparently, the daughter-in-law was preparing meals and taking them over to her house to insure Mrs. Smith was eating properly. Hmmm.  My question is this, why can’t Mrs. Smith move in with her son, since money is too scarce to afford her medications.  That would solve the whole problem.    Great plan I came up with.   NOT so.

I called the son back, explaining that our facility was probably not the right choice for Mrs. Smith. I explained progressive dementia, and how her mother was my highest functioning resident. I asked about his ability to have her move in with him, safe money, be able to afford medications……………ohhhhhhhhh boy, did I stir up the hornets in the hornets nest.

“I can not do that. My wife and I ,we work. We have three sons. We travel. I put her in your facility so you would take care of her. If I wanted to take care of her, I would not have put her there in the first place.. Do you hear me?”

I am unsure why he felt the need to continually ask me if I heard him. I personally do not have any hearing problems, even though my family will tell you I have selective hearing....hearing only what I wish to hear….but other than that, my ears work pretty well.   I guess he wants me to fully understand the magnitude of his views, hence having me acknowledge having heard him, I somehow validate him.  Yeah, right.

I fully understand that costs of dementia care is a burden on anyone. Hey, I get it. I have been in this field for what seems like eternity, and I understand. But what I don’t understand is, why her son feels it is ok for her mother to live in the facility, yet not be able to afford the medications she needs?  

I don’t know how this story will end. I haven’t figured it all out yet. There are agencies I can lean on, to have them lean on the son to enforce her medical needs are being met.  It’s all a process. My emphasis has, and always be, about the best interest of the resident.

Yes, Mr. Smith, I hear you …..I hear you just fine. Question is, do you hear me?

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2 thoughts on “Do You Hear Me?

    • That’s a difficult question to answer. The best alternative is have a legal guardian in place that will oversee the care of the loved one. Once all finances are exhausted, the patient then will become eligible for federal assistance.

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