Monday, November 30, 2009

Another Step Forward

Before my alarm even went off this morning Grandma Dee was up pacing around and all worked up about bringing Grandpa home. She was concerned that she wouldn't be able to care for him on her own. We all tried to calm her down and assured her that we wouldn't agree to do anything that she isn't comfortable with. After we talked with the doctor and verified that YES Grandpa will be discharged tomorrow, we asked to speak with the hospital social worker about his options. We all decided (G&G included) it would be best for both Grandma and Grandpa if Grandpa went to a rehab facility for a few weeks to regain his strength before going home. The social worker gave us a whole list of local rehabs to check out today. Grandpa's only request was that he would prefer a private room but other than that he gave us complete discretion to choose a place for him. The first place we walked into was gorgeous. The rooms were big and bright, the therapy rooms were filled with top of the line equipment and the staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. The next place was a total opposite of the first complete with a strong pee smell and shady looking employees smoking out front. My aunt and I took one look at each other and knew that this was NOT the place for Grandpa. Granted, it was a rehab and long term care facility combined but I just couldn't see him improving in such an environment, and really even if we were looking for a long term care facility this still would not be the place for him. It was so sad to walk past the wheelchair lined hallways and know that these people will never leave and reclaim the lives they left behind. I also noticed a complete lack of family presence, like many of these people had been left to die. I know that sounds harsh but during my short run as a nursing assistant in a nursing home before the girls were born, I know the reality that people are left at these sorts of places all the time. The third place was newly remodeled and clean although I was not impressed that the rehab patients eat all of their meals in their rooms instead of congregating in a dining hall, but he would have a private room. The fourth and final place was out of the running when the admissions director said they only have shared rooms. So we put in our request for the first and third facilities with high hopes that the first one will have an opening come tomorrow afternoon. Either way I'm glad that we all had a chance to go through these places and make a decision together as a family. Not a fun task but a necessary one.

Once we arrived back at the hospital we told Grandpa about our findings without mentioning the places we didn't like and trying to steer clear of the words "nursing home". He was a little irritated that he would have to do actual therapy or aerobics as he insisted calling it for 2 hours every day but we reminded him that if he wants to go home and start playing his banjo again, he needs to do the work and regain his strength. Grandpa isn't much into physical activity if it doesn't include dancing or playing his banjo. Just getting him to walk around the grocery store is a small victory for us. The oxygen was removed today and the IV is out but he's still using a walker to keep himself stable while walking around. After hanging out at the hospital and making sure that the nurses take him for a walk (we've really had to keep on them about that), we said our goodbyes for the evening and we all took Grandma out to play Bingo at one of the local parks. We didn't win a damn thing, but we had fun and it took Grandma's weary mind off of Grandpa for a short time, a success in my book. Tomorrow will be a busy day but another step forward.

6 comments:

LL Cool Joe said...

I love how you all took the time to go around the rehabs together. I'm sure in the right place he will thrive and be back home before you know it.

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

I'm sure he'll end up in a nice place. Glad he is making improvements.

Riot Kitty said...

I am glad you could all come together as a family and make this decision together. All too often it's one or two relatives who just want to get their parents/grandparents/etc "out of the way." So glad you are not like that! It gives me faith in humanity :)

2 Brits, 2 Yanks, 2 Dogs said...

I can just picture him with his banjo - you know how you get pictures in your mind of what someone would look like and then they look nothing like you envisioned. Glad that he is improving.

t.t. millers said...

I'm glad you have family support the do the hard things together. My grandmom is 86 and my aunt is looking at "homes" to put her in. I would like her to come live with me, but we dont have a first floor shower and she cannot do steps very easily. I am going to look at the assisted living facility near my home and see if it's something she can afford. Thank you for your inspiration!!

Juli Ryan said...

So sad about the people in their wheelchairs being left to die. My heart is aching for them.