Caretaking Chronicles: Why Can't Physicians Communicate?

I was going to pen a post about the nine hours spent yesterday getting my mom (aka Ardie Ho-Ho) admitted to the hospital. How she stopped eating and drinking because she was certain she was being poisoned (the food at her place isn't great, but it's certainly not lethal.). Maybe note the seven hours spent in the psych ER (NO TVs, plugs - nada) bonding with the security guard.

classy broads

classy broads and vigorous waving

And how she sat in a hospital gown laughing hysterically while watching Colombo on my phone. That actually was pretty cute.

This photo, per Cari's (aka The Tot Wrangler) request, is 100% representative of our day. And, look! Mom has teeth and it's NOT a holiday!!


Ho-Ho has ALWAYS loved everything Beauty. Make-up, magazines, clothing. And low cut tops. She will be the first to admit to both of these facts.

I also wanted to share the below photo with you because of its sheer irony.

But here's the thing, I can't laugh about it now because it seems to me that the doctors aren't doing their jobs - at least the  "listen, this is what we are going to do with your {mom's} body because.." part of their duties.

I supplied a very detailed medical history upon our arrival to the ER, admission to the ward and again this morning during a long conversation with her social worker. When I say I stressed the fact that her pain is real, imagine someone repeating the same sentence over and over until your ears bleed. And this person just keeps on going. Wait, if you have a kid, you know EXACTLY what I am talking about.

This evening, I called to make sure she is still her happy-go-lucky-manicky self, and she couldn't  get out of bed.  All day. Why? Maybe in part because SHE HAS NOT RECEIVED HER PAIN MEDS FOR 24 HOURS. Or other medications to help manage her disease. At this point, I don't have confidence in her ability to accurately communicate her own MS symptoms, so basing her treatment off of her self-assessment seems to be an ineffective and potentially harmful strategy.

And herein lies the rub. When hospitalized in the medical unit for MS exacerbation, my mom's psych issues are generally ignored.  Admitted into the psych unit for a crisis? Ho-Ho's MS isn't necessarily a priority.

She signs all necessary releases, they understand I have medical power of attorney and yet this same scenario has played out for nearly a decade; it's like there exists an invisible wall between the patients (and caregivers) and the doctors. Above all, I find it incredibly disrespectful to my mother and me as her primary caretaker, to not include us in her treatment plan.

I am 100% on-board with the thought that perhaps she is over-medicated. I am the first to suggest this and appreciate doctors taking a close look to see if we can eliminate anything from her daily drug regimen. But, how you can dismiss the efficacy or necessity of maintenance drugs without consulting a patient's regular physician(s)? Further, how can you expect anyone's psychological state to improve when she is struggling physically? Based on the nurse's notes,  neither her neurologist nor her pain specialist have been in contact with her psychiatrist, but her dosages are being altered or completely skipped? Is it just me or does this seem brash?

It's enough to make anyone stomp around the house and scream incomplete sentences at your spouse while shoveling a delicious Trader Joe's meal in your face. Mmmm, frozen dinners.

In an hour and twenty minutes I am calling back to check on the status and if need be, head down to Rush to stand in protest. But first I am going to eat some orangey-cranberry jobbers and super-sale V-day candy while I stew.


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    Annie Swingen

    Chicago-based hyperbole enthusiast. Mom to a kid and sometimes my mom. Overboard (1987) obsessed weirdo. I like the funnies in life.

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