Just hearing the words nursing home, strikes fear for most people. But for those living with physical disabilities, it’s a reality at a younger age, whether they are recovering from surgery or can't live alone due to medical issues.
Kimmy, my best friend since grade school who has Spina Bifida, went to the hospital for her routine stone removal, which should have been a highly uneventful procedure. She’s had it many times before, but this time it turned into a nightmare for her and everyone who loves her. A lot of people living with Spina Bifida always have a small amount of infection going on in their body. Well, during this procedure, once they crushed the stone, it released the infection into her bloodstream and by the end of the day, she was back in the ER.
Kimmy spent three weeks in the ICU fighting her infection. Thankfully, she started getting better, but she was very weak and the hospital decided she needed to go into a nursing home until she could take care of herself again. Kimmy lives by herself with her beloved dog.
While at the nursing home, she didn't look good. She was coughing and sleeping a lot. She had spent a lot of time in different nursing homes recovering from different surgeries, but somehow this was completely different. I mentioned to the nurse that she probably had pneumonia, and she should be checked for it, as she has had it many times before. I'm used to knowing when she has it. But they told me that the doctor said she didn't have pneumonia. She had very dark circles beneath her eyes, and it was obvious to everyone that she wasn't getting any better while staying there. In fact, she was getting worse every day.
Not long after our week-long visit, Kimmy was rushed to the ER. They worked on her for five hours before she was stable enough for the Intensive Care Unit. She was bleeding eternally, but they couldn't find it.
The wounds on her back were so horrific that the Emergency Room staff immediately called the police, and they started an investigation at the nursing home. Her mother took pictures of the wounds, thank goodness, because they're so horrific that I don't think anyone could imagine how horrible they really were. She indeed had pneumonia, which made it very touch-and-go for a few weeks. They didn’t think she would make it at one point.
Looking back, her mom realized that each time they would help her use the bathroom or give her a bath, they would ask her to leave the room. It’s because the nursing home staff didn't want her to see her daughter's wounds.
There are other complaints against the nursing home, but Kimmy’s injuries by far are the worst case they have seen so far. My BFF has a long road ahead of her. She has to spend an unknown amount of time in her new nursing home, stuck in a special medical bed, not allowed to get up until her wounds heal completely. On top of it all, she has to have yet another surgery, and all because of the abuse from that nursing home.
Once she is finally allowed to get up, she has to have extensive therapy to regain the strength she has lost. This has to happen before she can go home for good. It was discovered that the doctor in fact never came to see Kimmy at the nursing home. They'd just said he did. At this particular nursing home, they have their own doctors come in to check on the patients, and then they are supposed to give the reports to the patients current doctor, but that didn't happen in Kimmy’s case.
Kimmy is forty. Can you imagine what it’s like to be stuck in a nursing home at that age? Did I mention she doesn't have any Internet access? How's all of that for cruel?
Image credit: Original Photo