A good friend of my little sister’s emailed me to ask how mom was doing. At first I started writing a long reply, but could never manage to finish it. Here is what I did send:
Dear [name redacted],
Thank you so much for your sweet note. I have tried to write you (and [name redacted]) several times since I received your note, but I keep finding it very difficult to be concise.
I’d like to send you the full story of what’s happened so far and what the status of everything is right now, but I’m also very much aware that once I start writing, I end up with a twenty page document.
Yes, mom is at Halifax. I’ve primarily been talking with Connie Wade, who — as far as I can tell — is a social worker assigned to mom’s case, who works specifically in the psychiatric ward. Dr. Caliendo is the main physician assigned to her case. (Dr. Garewal is a neurosurgeon who has also been consulted a few times.) Dr. Caliendo was also the main physician at Stewart-Marchman-Act, and he appears to be somewhat overwhelmed by his dual responsibilities. I’ve only been able to talk to him twice (Dec. 21, Jan. 30) even though I have made repeated attempts to get in touch with him. When I talked to him when he called me at 5 o’clock Monday morning — I was already awake, luckily — he told me that he was an old man who often forgets things. He may have intended that to be funny, but I didn’t think it was.
Right now I think that mom is simply being “managed”; nothing is actually being done to help her, or to determine what happened. They are merely trying to get her to a point where she is “stable” enough so that they can get her transferred to a long-term facility (like a nursing home or assisted living facility). The fact that she spent two months at Stewart-Marchman-Act, ostensibly under the care of Dr. Caliendo, and absolutely no effort was made during those two months to do anything to *help* her (other than keep her sedated so she would not be a nuisance), does not instill much confidence in me that the same doctor is going to do much more while she is at Halifax. As far as he is concerned, she has “dementia”, which is incurable, and all we can do is give her enough drugs to keep her sedated and keep her from being scared to death of being institutionalized.
I disagree with that prognosis, and I disagree with that course of treatment. I don’t even really consider it a prognosis — I know that she hasn’t received the battery of tests required to medically diagnose “dementia” — and I certainly don’t consider keeping someone stoned all the time any sort of “treatment”.
So that’s the very, very, very quick and dirty summary of the situation right now.
I’ll write a more detailed synopsis as soon as I can.
Thank you so much for caring. I realize there may be nothing you can do — or nothing that can even BE done — but it is sometimes very helpful just to have someone that listens.