I didn’t hear the phone ring, but at 7:18 PM PDT I missed an incoming call from (386) 425-1300. I know that 386 is the area code for north central Florida, so when I noticed eight minutes later I called immediately. The man that answered the line said that I was calling the Emergency Room at Halifax Hospital.
I said, “My name is David and I’m guessing that you’re calling because my mom Kathleen is there.”
He asked me to hold on a second and someone named Lisa picked up the line. She told me that that my mom had just been admitted and asked me what I could tell her about my mom’s condition. I asked her if she could get to a computer with Internet access and gave her the address of this website. Two minutes into the call — at 7:28 PM PDT — my other line started ringing with an incoming call from Woodland Terrace.
I clicked over and Nurse Dawn started to tell me that she was just calling to let me know that they’d had to send my mom to Halifax. I told her that I was on the phone with the emergency room and asked her to hold on.
I clicked back over to Lisa at Halifax and could tell Nurse Dawn hung up just a few seconds later, (not surprisingly) refusing to wait on hold for me. I talked to Lisa for twenty-one minutes, most of which was spent explaining how frustrated I was with Halifax, the doctors, Woodland Terrace, Grace Manor, Coastal Rehab, and everything else. At one point I was telling her how annoyed I was that just this week my mom had been given a prescription for yet another psycho pharmaceutical — Risperdal — and how I had denied it until I could talk to the doctor, and I hadn’t yet heard from the doctor.
Lisa told me that according to the documentation she had been given, Woodland Terrace had administered Respirdal to my mother just this morning. There are no words to explain how angry I was at hearing that, of course.
Lisa said that they were going to run some tests on mom to make sure she was physically stable enough to return to Woodland Terrace and that they would probably send her back tonight. I thanked her and asked her to call me if she could.
Then I called Woodland Terrace at 7:48 PM PDT and had a quick, seven minute conversation with Nurse Dawn. She told me that mom had been acting increasingly anxious and agitated over the last three days, including harassing the other residents. I asked how that could possibly be the case when I have called Woodland Terrace three and five times each day, every day, for weeks now, and nobody had told me anything about that. Nurse Dawn said this evening they heard mom’s roommate yelling and a CNA went into the room to find mom in the other resident’s bed, holding her roommate, with her dinner tray of food all over the both of them. She said that it took at least two other nurses to get mom out of the bed and that she was gripping the headboard and fighting with them.
I asked why nobody thought to call me about any of this, and Nurse Dawn told me — without answering my question — that yesterday, ironically and coincidentally, some sort of legal nurse was interviewing mom’s roommate and she was complaining about mom harassing her somehow. Again I asked how all of that could be happening when I call them constantly asking for information and to talk to mom, and again she didn’t answer the question but instead told me that they had to make sure they were keeping the residents safe.
I expressed my displeasure at learning my mom had been administered Respirdal that morning, and Nurse Dawn simply told me I needed to call and talk to Cynthia tomorrow morning. (She told me Cynthia’s title but I can no longer remember what it is.) I explained to her that I was driving and couldn’t write notes in the car, so I’d have to call back as soon as I could.
When I got home, I didn’t call Nurse Dawn right away because our whole neighborhood was surrounded by news helicopters, fire trucks and ambulances, and police barricades because a plane had crashed about 300 yards from our house.
I called Woodland Terrace at 9:33 PM PDT and had a two minute conversation with someone named Janelle. It would be too harsh to say that she was rude, but she was miles away from nice or friendly, caring or sensitive. She told me that mom was on her way back there from the hospital, and that the hospital had told her that mom had a urinary tract infection and was given antibiotics. Janelle confirmed, because I specifically had to ask, that someone from Halifax had called her to tell her that.
I said, “Do you know if she already left Halifax?”
Janelle replied, “I do not know, except what I just told you, sir.”
I asked her if she would call me when my mom got back to Woodland Terrace and Janelle said that she would, if my name was on her chart. I told her that my name and number were definitely on mom’s “face sheet” and, in fact, I was probably the only person listed on her face sheet. Janelle repeated that she would call me if my name was on the chart.
At 10:26 PM PDT, Janelle did call to let me know that mom was back at Woodland Terrace. 1 We asked Janelle for a list of the medications she was being administered and she told us the antibiotics, Ativan, Zoloft, and Respirdal. The call only lasted for four minutes because my iPhone battery died.
My wife called and talked to Janelle for about seven more minutes, primarily attempting to make sure that mom isn’t administered more Respirdal, and trying to make sure we can get in touch with the morning nurse before it’s administered. My wife asked her for the name of the nurse who would be working on the morning shift and Janelle said she wasn’t allowed to give us that information. My wife asked her to explain why, and Janelle said that she couldn’t provide the nurse’s name, “in case she called in sick.” My wife told her that didn’t make any sense, and Janelle said the nurse’s name was Leeann. At that point my wife handed me the phone.
I asked Janelle if my mom was there and she said she was. I asked her if she knew the name of the doctor at Halifax who had treated my mom and she said she didn’t, and I’d have to call there to get it. I asked her if my wife had told her how upset I was about my mom being given Respirdal this morning and she — in one long breath — told me that she understood our position, that she would let them know not to give my mom that medication again until talking to me, that she was very busy and had to go, and said, “Thank you very much,” and hung up on me. Janelle had been on the phone with us for exactly thirteen minutes when she apparently decided she’d had enough. 2
My wife, upset that Janelle had hung up on me, called Woodland Terrace at 10:46 PM PDT and talked to someone there named Jenna for six minutes, complaining about their lack of professionalism.
1 My wife answered my phone and talked to her.
2 One four minute call when my battery died and then the nine minute call when we called back.