Wednesday, December 26, 2007

There's nothing I can do until morning.

There's nothing I can do until morning, and there's nothing I can do then that wouldn't be handled much more competently by someone else. It would be best to go sleep and then arise ready to face the challenges of the day, but instead I sit here worrying. My grandfather is ill.

Yesterday when my grandmother and I went to visit him, he was coughing. My grandmother spoke with the nurses about it, and they assured her that they'd keep an eye on him. Today the cough was worse, a wet gurgling sort of cough that strikes fear in my heart. My grandmother, a former nurse, brought her stethoscope and concluded that his lungs don't sound good. He didn't have a fever, however, and the nursing home staff said that he has an upper respiratory infection. They called a doctor who prescribed antibiotics, but they then discovered that they didn't have the prescribed dosage. Since it was Christmas, the pharmacy was closed. They told us they'd put in a call to find out whether they could give him one higher dose tonight or split a pill.

Tomorrow they'll decide whether he goes to see a doctor. I'm fairly certain we'll request he see one unless he's doing dramatically better in the morning. Then, there's a wait to see whether the nursing home doctor approves the request by phone. If he does, then they transport my frail 88 year old grandfather to the emergency room. It isn't possible to see a doctor at a nursing home if you're sick. The doctor sees each patient once every sixty days, and that's it. It seems like an utterly stupid system, and what exactly happens to patients who don't have family around to watch out for them? What happens if my grandfather isn't well but they refuse to let him see a doctor? Medicaid is still new to us so I don't know how everything works.

My parents will be the ones who handle all of this. My father is off until New Year's. So Dad gets to head into town in the morning to check on my grandfather and sort out what should be done and how. Even though I'm sure my parents can manage without me, I still want to go in in the morning and visit my grandfather. If there are things to be done, I can miss a day of working in the lab. Everyone else is away visiting family for Christmas, and I'd hoped to spend a few days getting data uninterrupted in a quiet lab and working on my Teach for America application. Right now, that can all wait.


Mrs. Micah said...

Your grandfather is very fortunate indeed. Mine was in a nursing home near the end and I saw a lot of people who didn't have supportive, loving families like yours.

I hope that things go well!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear that your grandfather is ill.

Take care.

E.C. said...

Thanks for your kind comments. He's doing better, and is recovering much faster than we expected.

Ms. MiniDucky said...

I'm glad to hear that he's improving slowly. This must be a very tough time for your family, I hope you have a good New Year, whatever comes.