Aunt Olive was suffering again today. Mightily. I went in and discovered she was only getting one Tylenol every four hours. Silly. She was in excruciating pain, and she is not a complainer. The staff was doing all they could, but the doctors had not gotten back to them for two and a half days. We plotted with one of Olla's favorite staffers and decided that it was so bad that if the doctors didn't call back, we'd just ship her up in the ambulance and then she would get something for her pain. A staffer called with that information, that the family wanted her taken to emergency, and within one hour, the pills were on their way.
Now, I don't know the realities of the medical hierarchy, but if you can't get a 101-year-old who is in excruciating pain a narcotic or whatever it takes within an hour or two, something is wrong. The staff was entitled to give her a certain amount of pain killer, but they had used up that option. Of course, the big issue is preventing staff from having discretionary access to painkillers, which inevitably, it is true, will result in some stealing the medications for themselves while claiming to have administered it to a patient. The problem of staff stealing pain meds is more prevalent than most know.
However, when it takes two-and-a-half days to get an old lady in horrific pain some help, that is a problem. With only half a pain pill, Olive was resting comfortably tonight. She should have had it two days ago. I kind of suspect that she was shunted aside merely because she was 101-years-old.
Human pain is human pain, 101-years-old or not. Yes, if you are 101-years-old and get cancer, or some other condition, it might not be the best idea to go full bore treating the disease. But pain? You always, always, always treat pain. In fact, it is the basic function of the medical field. We all are going to die. It is to get there comfortably that is our best hope.
The staff at the Hilton gives Olive regular massages, I did the best I could this morning to work on the area of difficult, and sister Tracie, a trained massage therapist, went in this evening. Olla said she was craving fruit, so Tracie called out to the place. Kae immediately made up one of her legendary fruit and vegetable smoothies and brought it in. Olla took a sip and said, "Wow. I am all about this!"
One cool 101-year-old.