Thursday, February 10, 2011


Warning: Big rant ahead.  One of the difficult things about Alzheimers - as a caregiver - is that Mom cannot tell us when something is wrong.  Unless the symptoms are glaringly obvious we just have to wing it.

Last night as I was putting her pyjamas on I noticed an issue with her feet and ankles.  We put her to bed with her feet on a pillow and hoped that the morning would be better.  It wasn't .  And of course you question yourself all night - Am I doing the right thing? Should I bundle her up in the middle of the night and head to the ER? etc etc.

So after a restless sleep I checked her this morning and they were still the same.  I called her family doctors office and explained and it was suggested we go to the ER.  Now spending any amount of time in a waiting room with an alzheimers patient is no fun.  They don't understand, you can't reason with them and when they get restless there isn't much you can do.

When we arrived at the ER the waiting room was full, except for 3 empty chairs.  We waited and waited while more people came in. We waited 6 hours.   Six hours with alzheimers is more like 24 hours.  We hadn't eaten all day and mom hadn't taken her pills.  Within the 2nd hour the waiting room was now standing room only.  If you left your chair - you lost it.  So that meant we couldn't even go to the washroom.  And I couldn't get up and leave her as there was not one person in that room that looked responsible enough to leave Mom with for 5 minutes. was the shallow end of the gene pool in there.

After 6 hours of waiting we still had not seen a doctor.  I had enough.  A wicked headache had taken hold and I just couldn't control Mom anymore.  We left and came home.  There were still 4 people in the waiting room who had been there longer than us.  There was an 89 year old man slumped over in a wheelchair who had been there, in that position, for 3 hours.   It was disgusting.


  1. Kim, it's pretty sad when you have to sit for hours in an Emergency Room. Key word here - EMERGENCY. We have the same thing here. I don't understand why the Government cannot put more money into health care and reduce wait times for patients. Have these people never been to an Emergency Room!! Feel your pain girl.

  2. Someday I will tell you a story about what I did when I got sick at Christmas so I didn't have to go to the emergency room. I am so sorry that you had to go through that. It breaks my heart. I am glad you wrote some of it out. Is your headache better? Kim, you are in my prayers. I hope your Mom has a better night and that you do too. This has been a hard week for you. Thank you for sharing. I wish I wasn't all the way across the world from you.
    I am sending you a hug O

  3. Kim ~
    I am so sorry. That is uncalled for! I'm surprised Mom (and you) lasted that long. I hope she is okay. Were you able to get her in to see the doctor? Prayers coming for the both of you!
    Pug hugs :)

  4. That's just terrible Kim! I don't see why it would take that long for them to see the patients. When I was a kid our family doctor had walk ins. The room would be full, people standing and sitting on the floor at times and they never waited that long! It was just him and his nurse. I think it is unexcusable what the hospitals put people through! So sorry you had to endure that. You would think that her doctor would have been able to see her and take care of it though.


  5. ER's are just the pits! Do you have an urgicare in your community? It is great, inexpensive and timely. The only problem is that hours are limited. My mother in law has Alz too. She would be very difficult to keep at home so I can only imagine how hard this is for you! Keeping you in my prayers and sending hugs...D

  6. Oh Kim! I feel so bad about the ER situation! That was totally uncalled for, downright criminal to have very ill and elderly patients waiting so long.
    I hope you will be able to get her in to her regular doctor. With the weekend coming up the options become limited, at least they do here in the States.
    And what a terrible waste of your time, not to mention putting your Mom through he_ _ ! And then having to go home again with no treatment for her problem.
    My thoughts and prayers go out to you, lady!

  7. So sorry for your terrible experience! My mom also has Alzheimer's and is in an Assisted Living Center near my sister's home. Unfortunately, I live 7 hours away and cannot help. My mom is so confused and anxious in the late afternoons--thinks her mother, sister and my dad are still alive and wants to know when they are going to come get her. It's heartbreaking!
    I've been wondering about Canadian health care--I have had to wait hours many times in Emergency Rooms, but on this last visit when my adult daughter fell and hit her head, they sent financial person to her cubicle in the emergency room as she waited on the doctor to collect her money!!! This was a first for me! Now when we visit the doctor, we have to pay BEFORE we see the doctor. This is a big change, and it is NOT good!
    I wish things would improve for your mom, but as we know, with Alzheimer's everyday is a decline.

  8. Oh Kim, my heart goes out to you! Dad doesn't have Alz but there is no way he could sit waiting that long.
    Thinking of you!

  9. Not sure how you did it. I am in a small area and I really have access to the best care as we are near top hospitals if we need extra care. I would never wait that long. do you have visiting nurses? And do you have any help? You are in need of a hug for sure. I hope you got the care for your mother that you needed.

  10. I'm so sorry about your experience. It seems that hospitals aren't really into the healing anymore...more business. I wish I'd been there to help you out. I hope that you were able to reach your mom's doctor and get her treatment. I admire your courage as you face these difficult situations. My thoughts and prayers are with you both.

  11. Sounds awful and so wrong that you had to wait so long. I hope things are better today.

  12. Kim that just stinks! Man it just gets my anger button stuck in the on position. The one time I had to go to the ER I was having a heart event and boy they don't mess around then. ERs are the blackest hole. I think Donna up there has a great suggestion about an Urgent Care. I hope you and your Mom are doing better today. I am thinking about you this morning Kim and saying a prayer for you and your Mom.

  13. If we think it is bad now, just wait until Obamacare starts! I'm thankful I live in a small community. We may have to wait, but never for 6 hours.

  14. I'm sorry Kim, what a lousy experience. I hope your mom gets the needed attention.
    Praying for you both.

  15. Kim,
    I am hoping for an update today on your Mom and praying that things are going better. I could tell you some horror stories I went through too when my Mom got sick..... in ER.... Omg....... we do have decent care here though but one needs to be diligent to seek it out. Be strong Kim. I'm very concerned for your Mom and you!
    Cathy G

  16. Kim, I'm sorry about you having to go through that bad experience in the ER with your mom. I sure hope that you don't have to go through that again. Enough is enough. This is totally unnecessary. With all the technology we have these days things are getting worst. What does it take to improve the stupid stystem?

    You've have had over your quota of unpleasent things happening to you. I sure hope that things will improve for you. all I can do is send you some hugs. I care, Julia

  17. Oh my gosh - that really ticks me off! I am so mad. That is just terrible!

    I wish you just hadn't left and you had made a big stink. At least write the hospital administrator and tell him what happened.

    And why would your doctor tell you to take her to the ER and not to them?

    Sheesh I just don't understand medical care.

    I have no idea your mom had AD. As I am rather new here. I have a couple of blogs who deal with it too if you are interested.

    Love, Sandie