Friday Evening Roundup

I delivered Janine to CHI Rehabilitation Hospital (AKA Encompass) this afternoon about 6:15 p.m. It took all day for the process of referral to CHI to play out, I guess. By the time she was formally discharged (the paperwork said 2:48 p.m., but the reality said close to 6:00 p.m.), the van transportation that normally would have taken her was no longer available (the driver gets off at 5) and the other option (aside from our own vehicle) would have been an ambulance. Janine preferred that I drive her, so I did.

She hadn’t eaten at the hospital, so I was supposed to tell the Encompass greeting staff she needed to have food. I forgot. So, as I was a mile or two away, when I remembered, I called to tell them I was supposed to let them know. They claimed they already knew.

Several minutes later, as I left the north/east section of Hot Springs on Highway 7, Janine called me. I picked up, but the call disconnected. This happened a few times. Finally, I got through to her and started talking over some odd background noise. She said, “John, shut up.” I said, “What?”

\She repeated it. Maybe twice. I stopped talking. I listened as I continued to drive. I continued hearing the odd noises and indistinct voices; a few “crashes
and sounds like pieces of tableware banging against one another. This went on for several minutes. During those minutes, I began to have strange and awful thoughts: “What if she is being abused by staff?” “What if telling me to shut up was a signal that something is wrong?” I turned around and headed back, all the while hearing this odd cacophony of noise from the phone. I broke several speed limits on the way back, taking the freeway instead of driving through town. When I reached the place, I went to the call box on the front door and said I had dropped my wife off a short while earlier, but had been unable to reach her by phone and was worried. The response was that visiting hours were over.

“I know, but I am concerned that I have been unable to reach my wife and I want to be sure she is okay.” She put me on hold.

A moment later, Janine came on the phone. She assured me she was fine. I asked her to confirm that she was really fine by telling the name of my nephew. She gave me the right name, so I was confident all really was well. I turned around and drove home.

When I returned home, I had two messages from friends from church, offering support and assistance if we need it. The outpouring of support from people near and far has been heartwarming in the extreme.

I spoke to Janine later, at home, when she called from the facility’s phone. The problem was, apparently, just a matter of poor cell service. Plus, she had been unable to disconnect the call. I listened to 26 minutes of odd noises because I was worried she was being abused. After the fact, of course, I came to my senses. Abuse might take place in nursing homes, but I have not heard of such things happening in dedicated residential physical therapy facilities. But, God, I was scared to death for her before I came to my senses.

We do not know how long she might need to stay. The nurse at the hospital said the shortest stay she knew of was four days and the longest fourteen days. At least that’s a range to ponder.

Until Janine returns home in substantially better condition than she left, and until we know and agree to a plan for continuing her rehabilitation after returning home, I will be in worry mode. I know worry does not good; but at least it puts me in a state of readiness to act if things don’t seem right.

I’ll go up again tomorrow (I wasn’t even able to go inside to see her room because visiting hours were over). And maybe I’ll learn more about what to expect.

For tonight, drinking a gin & tonic by myself will be on the agenda. If it concerns anyone that I’m drinking alone, I’m not; I’m having conversations, in my head, with a lot of people.



About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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5 Responses to Friday Evening Roundup

  1. Thanks, Colleen. I read that you were on a lengthy road trip. I appreciate the toast!

  2. Colleen Boardman says:

    Oh John, I just read the UUVC email about Janine and then saw this. I was on a 12-day road trip and a little behind on things. I wish her a very speedy recovery. Hang in there, John! I’m toasting you right now with my g & t while I’m doing twelve days of laundry.

  3. Meg and Robin, thanks very much for your comments. Robin, today is almost certain to be better and more organized. 😉 The G&T was just what the doctor ordered. Meg, I’ll write something and send it to you.

  4. Meg Koziar says:

    So glad you posted. I’m glad Janine is at CHI. She’s in good hands. Take care of yourself now, John. Let me know if you want me to send a care and concern message out in the church email (Just in case there are some who don’t read your blog…) Meg

  5. robin andrea says:

    I’m so sorry you and Janine had to go through such a challenging communication snafu there. I hope when you go to see her tomorrow that things will be much better and more organized in every way. Please take there, John. I wish the best for Janine and that her stay is more like 4 days rather than 14. Enjoy your gin and tonic…cheers!

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