My day started at 6:30 am when Dad's doctor called and told me he would be discharged today. I asked to ride in the ambulance and he gave his "OK". Mom and I rushed around the house gathering what we thought Dad would need, marking everything with permanent marker, getting ready, and packing the car.
Mom was paying the hospital co-pay in Admissions while I walked into the Psych Ward at 9:30 am. A big man in a wheel chair, had stood, pulling himself up by the nurse station and was hanging over the counter yelling into the face of the social worker. Two good sized orderlies had to muscle this cursing patient back into his wheel chair and then, pull him backwards into the "lock room". Another elderly woman was clearly very agitated and pacing the halls shouting and screaming at everyone. Most of the nurses seemed very on edge. The social worker told me the ambulance was here and ready to take Dad.
As the nurses ushered me into Dad's room, I was so relieved to see Dad was still mentally in good spirits. He had no issues getting on board the gurney. I sat in the jump seat behind Dad in the ambulance. He reached over his head for me and I leaned forward and took his hand. He would not let go the entire ride.
As soon as Dad was settled in his bed he was smiling and telling me how familiar it seemed and he felt at home. From where he has spent the past six days, it is no wonder he said he thought he was in Heaven!
I went to Admissions and completed most of the paperwork while Mom chatted with Dad and his room mate. I had to make some phone calls to his health insurance and to make sure the medical doctor who followed Dad in the snake pit, would NOT follow him here! Dad's regular primary care doctor does not do hospital visits, so I gave Dad's criteria for a "good doctor" to his nurse and she came up with a very nice young man and Dad seems to like him. Then I stayed with Dad while Mom paid the first month of private pay while waiting for Medi-Cal to kick in.
After Dad was inspected, photographed, creamed, massaged, pampered, given new compression stockings and fed, we had inventoried and put away all his things. Dad gave Mom and I each a list of what he still wanted. His game was NOT on the list!
Mom and I were starving especially after we watched Dad wolf down his delicious lunch. We left to eat around 2:15 pm but Mom took a wrong turn, despite me telling her she was going in the wrong direction. After driving all the way to the 605 freeway, she finally listened and turned around headed east.
We ended up at Islands and then went back to the house to search for Dad's medicare card. I worked my list and Mom worked hers. We turned the house upside down and could not find his Medicare card anywhere. Mom had to go online and request paper work for a replacement card. After marking most everything on our list we headed toward Walmart to get the rest of his requests. On our way, my cell rang and it was the Administrator calling us out of concern. Dad was afraid something had happened to us and was refusing to allow his new doctor to take his vitals. I had to reassure Dad that we were fine, just busy gathering all his stuff.
We postponed the Walmart trip until tomorrow and drove straight to the nursing home. We stagger in with our bags full of Dads stuff to see his room mate with his pants half down, sitting in his wheelchair and it looked like he was either using a urinal or playing with himself! He chatted with us as if his actions were perfectly normal... Meanwhile, Dad is reaching for us like long lost souls as if we had been lost for 20 years. I know when he is sitting in a hospital bed waiting in a new place, it must have felt very frightening, but there was not a lot of options we had.
After we did another inventory and put everything away, Dad asked where some of the things he had asked us to get. We told him we were on our way to get them when he called and was so worried, so we'd get them tomorrow. He beckoned me over and secretly gave me a folded yellow piece of paper, whispering to me to "lock it up in the safe". I told him I would. He had t finished his dinner an hour earlier but he was still hungary. I went to get him a wheat peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a glass of milk. At 7:15 pm, we had a bag with his dirty laundry and another list to fill for Dad. Dad insisted we call him when we were safely home...
I'm starting to feel like I have a four inch thick choke chain around my neck with a short leash. It's been a loooong 20 days.
Dad just called. His room mate lent him his cell phone....