I left for the care facility to check on my aunt. At first, I figured I could not transport her in my car, but I would secure a taxi van, that transports wheelchairs, and have my aunt checked out for the cut. I arrived to find the cut was a combo avulsion/laceration and more pronounced than I had anticipated. It needed immediate attention, although there was a gauze pad and ointment on it, it was nasty.
I called the taxi van and set up the transport. My aunt remarked that her neck really hurt….really hurt. So, I reconsidered what I took to be a jostling ride in the van and possibilities of an injury and cancelled the van and summoned an ambulance. Well, you don’t just summon an ambulance on a neck injury. I got the full meal deal, fire and EMT’s, lights and sirens. Fine. They back boarded and C collared my aunt. I prepared her and she was fine and in seeming good spirits as they loaded her into the ambulance.
I followed the ambulance and we arrived at the Emergency Department/Room to what was to become a very busy Saturday afternoon/early evening. My aunt and I settled into the typical room and some excellent nurses. I was glad I had opted for the ambulance, regardless of the cost, to error on the side of caution.
The CT scan was run. The results were back quickly. The doctor came in to say a neuro-surgeon was en route to talk to us about results. Yeah? A fracture of the neck, which needed to be discussed. A long, painful series of injections were initiated around the forehead disaster.
Lots of tiny injections numbed up the area in and around the laceration. It was thoroughly rinsed. A tetanus injection was given. And then the doctor did a dandy job of patching things up.
The neuro-surgeon arrived to make it abundantly clear that my aunt was extraordinarily lucky. The fracture of the cervical bone was dangerous. It warranted fusion, but the effort would most likely be extremely risky to my aunt, to include complications that would endanger my aunt’s life. The surgeon took me aside to advise that my aunt was at risk of death or paralysis if she took another face plant. The possible, unlikely, recovery time for the fracture was two months and my aunt would have to wear the C collar most of the time, gradually phasing it out. X-rays were given also, which verified the neck injury but also revealed four fractures along my aunt’s spine, that appeared to not be fresh, but not old either. In the end, the doctors said my aunt could go back to the care facility but that she must be extremely careful. We could leave with script in hand for pain meds and followup appointments suggested.
It was at this point, six hours into the hospital stay, that my aunt lapsed into a horrific, hurtful state of paranoia that boggles the mind. Screaming and pleading for help inside the ER, saying I was plotting against her, attempting to kill her. My mind remained calm through these shenanigans until her remarks became personal between just she and I. Venomous, hurtful allegations. On and on, the assertions loudly spewed forth as we waited for the ever late transport vehicle to arrive to return my aunt back to the care facility. Awkward remarks. When the transport crew arrived, my aunt was so agitated, the driver requested something to calm my aunt prior to transport from a doctor.
What ensued was an ugly moment. The nurse arrived with a sizable syringe to administer something calming into my aunt’s thigh. She began to struggle. The men restrained her and I stepped up to calm her. By now, I was already the #1 asshole in her estimation. My aunt screamed bloody murder, alleging we were killing her. She raised up off the gurney, partially restrained, C collar around her neck, needle in her thigh, contents pulsing in and looked at me with an enraged-deranged look while attempting to claw at my face. Her hatred was palpable.
Oh yes, I know. Sundowner’s Syndrome, shock, dementia, whatever the reassuring comments by staff were, but that was a hateful look. As we secured her and rolled her out of the ER, she screamed why was I having her killed. All the way to the ambulance she screamed for someone to call the police. At the back of the ambulance she bucked and pleaded to not be put into ‘the oven’. I walked away, intending to follow the ambulance.
Upon arriving at the care facility, I got out and walked toward the ambulance. I could hear my aunt shrieking for help. She was brought into the facility and I stayed out of sight. I heard her make wild allegations toward the EMT’s. They departed. Then she saw me. I was the ‘dirty son of a bitch’ that had planned all this against her. I wanted her dead and my plan was obvious. I didn’t comment and soon left.
I told the staff that I wanted all night, hands on care for my aunt. I did not want her rear out of that bed and that I expected her to enjoy a restful nights sleep. With that, I left. I know the mental health issue here. But, this was a bizarre day, indeed. I think it was for all involved.
The tipping point has arrived. Regardless of the physical rehabilitation efforts, she will not adequately mend. She will not, cannot maintain the mental faculties to care for herself in a safe, secure manner. Broken knee, broken tibia, broken neck, broken spine….yes varying degrees of new and old. But the mind, is the most broken and my aunt is not going home under these circumstances.