Hell is… the Hospital

I have spent the last 24 hours trying to make arrangements for my mother, who was in a major auto accident Sunday night and admitted first to Surrey Memorial and then to VGH. Her injuries are serious but thankfully not life-threatening.

I’ve dealt with hospitals, doctors, nurses, police, towing, ICBC, my mother’s workplace, her building manager, phoned her friends, her old co-workers, my office, then SFU to try to get extensions on papers and my final exams this week. Multiple phone calls for all, and enough voicemail to last me a lifetime. The prize for the worst runaround goes to the hospital system, but ICBC has been a monumental pain in the ass, too. I’ve been on the phone and put on hold so many times in the past day both my mobile phone and my cordless phone batteries both nearly ran out. I still don’t know the exact details of the accident (all roads lead to the ICBC adjuster), and my mother still hasn’t been assigned an orthopaedic surgeon. She’s been seen by specialists, but no one person is responsible for her welfare until she gets a bed. It’s taken her nearly 24 hours to do so – she’s been shunted back and forth between the emergency rooms of both Surrey Memorial and Vancouver General Hospital and ran the gamut of examinations. She’s not even finished yet!

Here’s the outline of what I’ve been able to piece together:

  1. shortly after 10pm on Sunday night, my mother entered an intersection after the light changed to green and took a direct hit to the driver’s side by a 27-year old male in a 2004 Toyota sedan
  2. after a preliminary examination at Surrey Memorial, it was found that her pelvis sustained multiple fractures, there was some internal bleeding, and there was potential spinal injury — they decided she needed to be seen by specialists in Vancouver
  3. at around 2:45am, she was sent to VGH, and I received the phone call shortly after she was admitted
  4. once arriving at the hospital, I was told to wait while tests were being run by the trauma team; when I was finally able to see her around 6am, she was on morphine, but I managed to get a brief description of the accident, a few phone numbers, and she told me that she left an electric aromatherapy candle burning on her counter! (I had to wake up the building manager to go into her apartment to make sure it wasn’t on fire!)

Once I spoke to the trauma doctors and had more information about her condition, I had to make the aforementioned flurry of phone calls. It’s just been non-stop ever since.

I will get a phone call from the insurance adjuster tomorrow, and find out the information I need to move forward re: insurance, fault, how much compensation I can seek on my mother’s behalf, etc. etc. etc. I’m probably going to have to find a lawyer. I’m in the process for arranging for homecare once she is released from the hospital *whenever that is*, but what I am dreading something sooner than that: having to write three exams in a row starting on Monday. SFU agreed to postpone my two exams this week, and my CMS tutor marker has given me an extension on my paper. Which is louder: the exhale of relief or the muttering under my breath of “oh shit…” ?

Right now my mother is back at Surrey Memorial Hospital, but I was at the hospital for hours before the actual transfer took place. You see lots of people running around in the ER, but you could lie dying on the floor and nobody would notice. It’s like a special type of chaos. There’s all kinds of conflicting information, and I’ve lost track of all the doctors’ names. I’ve got numbers scribbled on Post-It notes for case numbers, claim numbers, phone numbers, fax numbers, and names that are somehow connected. I know I’ll be able to put it all together, but I think I need some sleep first. After a night in an emergency waiting room, staying awake on vending machine coffee, then making arrangements all day, a couple of hours of sleep between phone calls before going back to the hospital… all I can say is, God help me if I should ever end up in a hospital. I’d still rather be doing what I’m doing than lying on a spineboard with an immobilizing collar, my pelvis shattered, a hole in my bladder, hooked up to a catheter totally dehydrated and wondering what is going to happen to me.

Gail at Large
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Gail at Large

Canadian freelance photographer on 4th expat adventure. Previously: USA, Scotland, and Australia. Portugal became home in late 2013.

Blogging daily for nearly 14 years. With 5,600+ posts across 97 categories, there is something here for everyone, especially travel photography.

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Gail at Large
Also here

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