Saturday, June 22, 2013

Nursing Home Blues by guest blogger, Jon Gold

Jon Gold
6/22/2013

This is the first thing I've written in a long time, and surprisingly, it's not about how we were lied to about 9/11. It's about Nursing Homes. The reason I'm writing this is because I hear all of the time about Nursing Home hardships, but the people that suffer them (elderly people) really don't have a voice. So, I'm going to give them one. Wrong is wrong.

Recently, I suffered my back breaking, and losing my ability to walk normally. I also lost the ability to pee normally, to have sex, and to have a bowel movement in a dignified way. The end result was a month's worth of time in the hospital (that was an excellent hospital), followed by an extended stay in a Nursing Home, which I'm currently at.

When I got here, I had to stay in bed for several hours until they evaluated my ability to get around so they could either give me a wheelchair or a walker. I sat for several hours waiting… in bed. It's bad enough that I can't walk, but worse when you have no way of getting around and are trapped in one area. I finally sent my bulldog father after the therapists, and they were here within 5 minutes (don't mess with a pissed off parent… I'm reminded of this scene from the movie "Terms Of Endearment…" thanks Dad). I got a wheelchair within 20 minutes. That was the first "problem."

The next problem had to do with my first request for getting pain medication. I have a nifty little button that turns on a light so the nurses know that I need something. I hit the button… and waited, and waited, and waited. I asked my father to do something, and he said, "I'm waiting to see how long it takes them to bring you your medicine." It took about 30 minutes or so. When you're in pain, that's a lifetime.

As I mentioned previously, I now have a problem peeing. I have to use a catheter to get the pee out of me. When I was at the hospital, and they told me I would have to "straight cat" myself, I told them that they may as well ask me to rip my own face off. My little brother doesn't even want it mentioned. I finally braved the impossible and learned how to do it. Now, it's second hand nature (I'm VERY lucky that I have no feeling down there… if luck is what you want to call it). The "kit" they have at the nursing home is different than the one at the hospital. It's different enough that I need assistance with it. One nurse helped me, and then left a note for the next nurse to let her know that I needed help with it. As the night progressed, I realized that I had to go pee. I hit my nifty little button, and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, I got in my wheelchair, rolled down to the nurses' station, and said, "Did X leave you a note that said I need help?... Yes...Is that light on?... Yes...Where are you? (self-answering) You're sitting here at the nursing station and I've been waiting for 15 minutes." She then came down to help me.

These are a few of the problems I have experienced in a Nursing Home, and I've only been here a couple of days. Imagine elderly people who live in one of these places for years.

Now, I'm not saying every Nursing Home is the same. I'm sure there are expensive places you can put your family member in, and they will be well taken care of. However, the majority are like the one I'm staying at. Like most things today, it's a business. Companies purchase old buildings and convert them into a "Nursing Home." In defense of the nurses, there are only two on my unit and there are about 30-40 patients. At the hospital, there were 10 nurses for 20 patients. I know the nurses here mean well, but they are overwhelmed and it's a damn shame.

The companies that create these Nursing Homes should do them right, and not cut corners just to make a buck. Our elderly (and people like me) deserve the same level of care they would receive in a hospital. Putting the hospitals aside, they deserve care PERIOD. Not what I described.

I hope this helps to bring attention to this important issue. You may have put a family member in a Nursing Home. A family member who can't speak for themselves. Guess what? One day, you may be in one yourself. We all get old. We get old, and we all need good care. Not Nursing Home Blues.

9 comments:

  1. Where are you this SiCKO needs to visit you.

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  2. This is terrible and the longer you stay, the more surreal it will seem. This is why it is far kinder to kill your again loved ones than to leave them in a nursing home. Even when a nursing home is found guilty of the grossest negligence, all they get is a tiny fine.

    Make sure to let them know that you are a journalist. Ask to speak to the director. Tell him/her that the nursing staff are not doing their tasks and that you will be documenting all failures to provide adequate care.

    Stay strong, Jon. xo

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  3. When I was growing up, back in the 50's & 60's, I never heard of nursing homes. First, not as many people lived as long as they do now, the population was less & families took care of heir own as long as they could. I had an uncle that needed 'long term hospital care'. That's what it was called. The hospital was located in a section of our area that was beautiful. The large brick buildings had screened in porches on each end, the windows reached almost to the ceilings & we could open them, either by pulling down from the top half or pushing up the bottom. There were overhead fans, wide clean halls and various sized rooms & nooks that were used for gatherings & visits. The chairs & sofas were comfortable. The grounds were beautiful, large lawns, beautiful trees and gardens! Families grew food there! My grandfather, a natural gardener tended a garden there with others for years. The hospital used what was grown. We knew the nurses & doctors & they knew their patients.

    The hospital was actually about four buildings. There was one for the 'insane', one for the very ill that were breathing their last there, one was for people like my uncle who was ambulatory & able to speak. There was one for infectious diseases, years earlier, one of my aunts had been there for TB.

    Visiting Uncle Steve was a family outing. There was space for us kids to play, there was the garden, there were large beautiful trees, there were families picnicking on the lawns & tables.
    Reagan closed those hospitals. He closed them down & created many homeless people. He closed them down & created a whole new industry - nursing homes. Sterile places that are warehouses for our ill & elderly. Those beautiful buildings are standing still. Silent, empty, while our streets fill with the ill & poor.
    I drive by those hospitals every once in a while & I recall time spent with Uncle Steve. I recall a better America, not perfect, but better.

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  4. I will never put my 87 year old mom into a nursing home....if I can help it.I did a quick search ,though, just in case. One wanted over $6,000 a month...until all her assets were depleted. Then medicare/medicaid kicks in, I believe. Of course at that time she would be transported to one of the "factory like" places you make mention of. Hope you're out soon, Jon.

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  5. We were not lied to with regards to 9/11. Your son is dead..move on. You are anti-american and a terrorist and do not deserve to be alive, you immoral coward!

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  6. Hi,
    It is obvious that you have not lost a child. Had you lost a child, no matter the age of the child, you do not "move on". You get through it, you survive it, but you are never, ever the same. Each day brings pain and questions, what would my child be like now? I wonder if my child would like this? How can I talk to anyone on my child birthday? Ms. Sheehan is far from a coward. I think using Anonymous as a name is much more cowardly than taking on the US.
    As for 9/11, it has been scientifically proven that there was not enough fuel to bring down those buildings, that bombs were heard in the basement & that Iraq had nothing to do with any part of it.
    Anti-American?? Ms. Sheehan represents the best part of the US. Courage, tenacity, hope and action. You do know that the Founding Fathers were called unpatriotic. You are a cruel person and you are also uninformed.

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  7. If you are the primary caregiver providing in home care for one or both of your parents then you know how hard it can be to keep track of the different medications.

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  8. Effectively written article by Jon Gold. Author had done a great job in writing this post. Much appreciated.

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  9. I'm sorry that you had such a bad nursing home experience! Unfortunately it sounds as if this is the reality for most nursing homes. They are too understaffed because they don't want to shell out the extra money to hire more people even though it would result in the patients receiving better, more personalized care. This is why I like NJ Senior Care. They offer visiting angels which are highly personalized and genuinely care about their patients. If my parents ever end up needing specialized care I will definitely look into something more like that than a nursing home.

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