I was sitting in the parking lot of Centinela Feed, a pet store in Los Angeles, when I received a call from Woodland Terrace. It was Ida Alvis. Ida was unimaginably rude and hung up on me at least three times yesterday (Saturday), so I knew if she was calling to talk to me it must be bad news.
She said she was calling to tell me that my mother was being, “evacuated to the emergency room.” The first thing I asked was whether they were sending her to Fish Memorial or to Halifax, and she said they were sending her to Fish in Deland. She asked me if I wanted the number for the ER and I said, “Of course I do,” and she told me that I could call (386) 943-4650 and it would go directly to the ER. Then I asked why, and what had happened.
Ida said that mom had been, “fine earlier, was up and moving around in her wheelchair.” She said that her nurse had gone in to change her, and when she went back into the room a few minutes later, mom was “not responsive”. She said the nurse said it was less than five minutes between the time she changed her — because she had been incontinent — and when she returned. Ida said that the nurse was suspicious because mom was not in her usual state of agitation and anxiety, and she checked and she was “unresponsive” so they called for an ambulance. She said the paramedics were performing CPR on her when they took her away, and that she could hear the sirens of the ambulance right now.
I asked Ida if she meant she wasn’t breathing and she said just that mom was unresponsive. I asked her if she knew how long it had been that she wasn’t breathing, and she said the nurse told her it was less than five minutes between when she changed her and when she went back into the room. I explained that I was asking how long it was between when they realized she wasn’t breathing and when the paramedics arrived and began CPR; did she know how long it took for the ambulance to get there.
Ida said that she did not know how long it had been, because she was busy preparing the paperwork to give to the paramedics and the hospital. 1
I asked Ida, “Is she dead?”
Ida said, “The paramedics would have called it if they thought she could not be revived.”
I said I was going to call the ER and Ida told me I should probably wait about five minutes because the ambulance had only just left.
I said, “Okay, thank you,” and Ida — the same woman who yesterday hung up on me multiple times and refused to agree to stop administering the medication I had specifically told them not to give my mother — said, “I’ll be thinking of you.”
I hung up. 2
1 Later this evening the hospital would tell me that the paramedics had no paperwork, and that nobody from Woodland Terrace sent them anything, and that they had called Woodland Terrace to request documentation. On Monday Detective Whittier told me that it was very unusual for a patient to arrive at the ER with no paperwork at all and no personal belongings (“effects”) at all.
2 The entire call lasted four minutes.