I called Woodland Terrace this morning hoping I would be able to get mom on the phone. 1 After a few rings, the line was answered, “Hello. Woodland Terrace. This is Rosa.” I asked if it was Rosa Rivera and she said it was. I identified myself and she said that “they” had received my emails, but hadn’t had a chance to reply. She said that she was busy and asked if she or Anthony 2 could call me back.

I told her that was fine, but then she started talking about the forms I had returned and we ended up talking anyway. She said that it was important for me to return the “Financial Responsibility Agreement” 3 for the pharmacy in Tampa, because without it if mom was ever given a prescription, they wouldn’t be able to do anything without that form. 4

Rosa said that she understood that many of the forms can look intimidating, specifically the ones about living wills and do not resuscitate orders. She said that I shouldn’t be worried because they (the forms) are not “holding you down to anything.”

I asked her who Anthony is, because I didn’t know, and she said that he is in the admissions department and that he came from the Daytona Beach office. 5

She said that she “turned in” everything that I had sent, but that “a lot of the paperwork is mandatory.” She apologized for not getting back to me yet, but that they’ve had, “lots of admissions the last few days.”

I asked her if she understood what I meant when I wrote that the two sets of paperwork (the PDF scans) that she sent me were completely different. She said that they were the same, that she pulled them from the same file. I insisted that they were not. Rosa said that she resent me the pages which required signing and didn’t resend the whole packet again because most of it was just things to read. I explained that no, the two sets of documents were completely different and that none of the documents in the second scan existed in the first.

At this point Rosa apologized and said she would need to call me back. She noted that she had my cell phone number and would call me on that soon. She asked if there was anything else she could do for me, and I said I’d like to speak to the nurse assigned to mom today. Rosa said she could do that and asked me to hang on.

About three minutes later the line was answered, “Luanne, West wing.”

I said, “Hello, Luanne. It’s me, David,” and she recognized me immediately. I told her that Shelly 6 never called me yesterday and she told me that Shelly is really behind in calling people back. Luanne said that Dr. Peele had “changed it back” because I said I didn’t want mom to be given Haldol, so now she’s back on Ativan.

I asked her if Dr. Peele had been there today, and she said he had already come and gone, but she did not know if he’d seen my mom because she hadn’t yet had time to look at mom’s chart. I asked Luanne if she knew who I could contact to get a list of her current medications. She said that she would have to check with Susan 7 because she was unsure if she was able to give that information over the phone. I explained that it was good she was being careful, but that I am actually the only one to whom she was allowed to give any information, period.

Luanne asked if I was “on the list” and I said that I should be the only one on the “face sheet”. 8 She said she needed to see hwo she could get me the list and I told her she could just read it to me. She said that “each nursing home has its own policies regarding HIPAA,” so she needed to check. I said that I hated to ask her because I know how busy she probably is, but she said that, “No, it’s fine. I just need to check to make sure I’m allowed to do that.”

She asked me to hold and after a minute or two of listening to the strange hold noises, she returned and read me the list of mom’s current medications:

I asked her if she’d seen my mom today and she said that of course she’d seen her. I asked how she was doing and she said, “She hasn’t been too, too bad today.” Luanne said she slept through her breakfast so they had to wake her up so she could eat. She also said that they were getting her into her chair for lunch right now.

I said, “Do you think it would be worth it to try to talk to her?” and she said she would check to see if she was in her chair yet so she could bring her to the phone.

After about three minutes Luanne put mom on the phone.

I said, “Hi, mom!” and she said, “Hello.” That was just about it. We were on the phone for about five minutes, but it was really just me saying, “Hi, mom. Can you hear me? How are you? Are you doing okay?” and getting no response other than labored breathing. In the background I could hear Luanne saying, “It’s your son, David. Say hello to him. Can you say hi to him, Kathie?” over and over again. I told her it was okay, she didn’t have to say anything. I told her I missed her and that I loved her. Luanne came on the line and said that mom had dropped the phone. I thanked her and said goodbye.

The entire call lasted twenty-six minutes.

1 It’s been nine months since all of this happened, and it’s still pretty hard for me to deal with not being able to talk to her every day. A dozen times this week alone I reached for the phone because I wanted to talk to her about something and then had to deal with the fact that it would be a Herculean task just to get her near a telephone, much less to get her to talk. We haven’t had what any sane person would call a conversation in months and months now. Heartbreaking is the only word that is appropriate.
2 I have no idea who Anthony is and this was the first time I’d ever heard his name.
3 She did not refer to it by that name, of course; but that was certainly the form she meant.
4 This is a little confusing, because obviously they are fulfilling her prescriptions now even though I haven’t signed anything.
5 I had no idea that Woodland Terrace had a Daytona Beach office. I also have no idea what that means in regards to Anthony.
6 Shelly Sparace, the social worker that Luanne repeatedly told me yesterday would be calling me to discuss psychological counseling / therapy for mom
7 Susan Mackelfresh, director of nursing
8 I really have no idea why everyone uses the term “face sheet”, but apparently it’s common to refer to the list of people allowed to get information about a patient as a “face sheet”.