|Dad is stuck in the hospital gerichair.|
Photo by Pam Stephan
This part of the hospital was old and the room had originally been designed for two beds. Now there was only one bed, with an assortment of 4 tray tables, 5 wastebaskets, two hard guest chairs, a chaise designed to become a cot, and a gerichair. There was barely room to walk around. It seemed as if this room had become a storage place for cast-off items. As soon as Dad was settled in the bed, he declared that he was ready to leave. It took some persuasion to keep him from jumping up. My husband left to check on our dogs and to gather a few more items. Respiratory nurses came by and started treatments on Dad - these lasted at intervals until 1 a.m. All of us tried to sleep but it became impossible.
The next day, Dad was still weak from his fever. He wanted to visit the bathroom alone. Nurses gathered around to help and he wanted none of that! An argument ensued, we agreed to leave Dad to his own devices. Within about 3 seconds, BAM! he wound up on the floor. Because I would not consent to restraints on his bed, the staff put him the gerichair for the rest of the day! He could not get up, walk around, control the chair, or adjust the angle of the back.
The All-Knowing Hospitalist
Later, when an unfamiliar doctor came in, asking questions that should have been answered by Dad's medical chart, I asked for a diagnosis and was told that Dad had quite suddenly developed Parkinson's Disease! Since Dad had been pipelining a powerful steroid - Prednisone, well known to make patients wired and shaky - I suggested that medication was the issue. My medically uncertified opinion was dismissed and we were told to see a neurologist in 72 hours. (We still haven't done that.)
So, after the night in the Storage Room, the Day of the Gerichair, and the All-Knowing Hospitalist visit, I pressed for a discharge. We began packing and escaped as soon as all the needles and sticky pads from the heart monitor had been removed.