I called Woodland Terrace in an attempt to speak with my mom. After a bit of explaining, I was eventually connected to Nurse Paula, who was assigned to my mom for the day.

Nurse Paula said that my mom was in her bed and had been “quite a handful” all day. I asked her if she could confirm what medications my mom was being administered, because some of them made her more agitated than others, and — since she had only recently been transferred there from Halifax Hospital — I wanted to make sure she was being given the correct drugs. Nurse Paula was happy to oblige and, after getting my mom’s chart, started reading the medications she said she gave her that morning.

The very first drug she named was Aricept, so I interrupted right then and said I thought there was a mistake, because my mom hadn’t been given Aricept for weeks and weeks, if not months. Nurse Paula said that it was on the orders she had been given from Halifax, and continued reading drugs to me. I told her that didn’t make any sense, and it sounded like she was reading me a list of every medication my mom had ever been prescribed while at Halifax and not what she was supposed to be getting administered currently.

At this point Nurse Paula became pretty combative and defensive. I tried to express to her that I wasn’t trying to accuse her of making any mistake or negligence, but that there was definitely a problem. I told her that I had talked to nurses and doctors at Halifax twice each day almost every day for the last eight months, and was very adamant about knowing exactly what medications my mom was being administered and when, and that the only psycho pharmaceuticals she was currently being administered should be Zoloft and Namenda.

Nurse Paula asked — seemingly sarcastically — if it was okay to give my mom aspirin. I said that of course she could have aspirin, and I was only referring to the psycho pharmaceuticals. She told me that she had given her all the medications on the list that very morning, and I became very upset because — if you’ve been talking to me at all in the last eight months you know — I’ve been working very hard to get them to stop giving her so many mind-altering drugs.

We had some back and forth on this topic for a few minutes, with Nurse Paula listing assorted drugs for hypertension or digestion and me repeating that I was only referring to the psycho pharmaceuticals, until finally she got upset and told me that I needed to speak to her supervisor.

At this point Ida got on the phone. (Based on the staff list I later found here, I assume this was Ida Alvis, Director of Staff Development.) Ida just insisted that it was a violation of HIPAA regulations for them to be discussing anything about my mother with me. She said I wasn’t listed as a reference on my mother’s chart at all, anywhere. Ida told me that they had nothing noting my name and they weren’t allowed to discuss anything about my mom with me, certainly not her medications.

I was so flabbergasted that I failed to remember that someone from Woodland Terrace had, in fact, proactively contacted me just yesterday! They had to have had my name listed somewhere on my mother’s chart! But I was so astonished at how they abruptly started (improperly) invoking HIPAA as a defense when I questioned how they were medicating my mother that I forgot all about the fact that they called me the day before.

Ida told me that she would have “Marie” contact me, although I wasn’t really clear who Marie was supposed to be. Then I was hurriedly rushed off the phone and told I’d be contacted soon.