I have now gotten through one more day with my mother in the hospital. She is in her 4th room in seven days - 5th if you count the ER - and she is disoriented. (Well, I think I would be too, in that situation.)
She is also, for the first time this time around, unfortunately, in the "A" bed now, which means the one near the door, not the window. And for my mother that means trouble, always. I have learned this by now. But try getting the hospital staff to listen to me...
My mom, struggling with short term memory issues under the BEST of circumstances (let alone the disorienting journey that is hospitalization) needs all the external supports she can get to help her know where she is and why she's there, what time it is and whether is is day or night.
And a window? Wonderfully useful to figure out whether the clock on the wall is telling you if it's noon or midnight.
Without this knowledge she gets anxious. Today, every time she drifted off and then reawakened - which meant about every ten minutes - she would ask me, fearfully: "Is it morning or night? What time is it? What am I supposed to be doing?" And also, often: "Varda, where am I? What happened to me?"
It's Groundhog Day all over again (and over, and over, and over again).
I considered making a voice recording on my phone so I could just hit a button and play it back for her each time, instead of leaning in to her good ear to speak the following, very clearly and in the perfect cadence that is neither too slow or too fast, with a voice that is neither too loud nor too soft:
"Mom, you're in the Hospital. Last Friday - a week ago now - you fell and broke your hip. On the left side, this side, here." (As I lightly touch the top of her left leg.) "You had surgery on Sunday to fix it and they did - they put a metal rod and pins and screws in, good as new."
"But you heart had a hard time with the surgery. So you had to go to the ICU to get better. There was a machine breathing for you, with a tube down your throat, and you were heavily sedated. You probably don't remember anything from those days." (She shakes her head, she most certainly doesn't. This is all news to her. Again.)
"Then you got better, so they took out the tube and woke you up, and moved you to a room. Bruce came to visit for a few days." (She nods but she's just being polite. She has no memory of that either, it being more than an hour ago.)
"And now you're in this room, on the orthopedic floor, and you need to work on getting stronger and using your leg now. It's (insert time here) and time for you to (insert desired activity here - eat, rest, get your vitals taken, have PT) soon."
Until the next time.