only because my mother fell at the doctor's office, while being helped off the examining table by my brother and godmother, who by the way is 89 years old herself, simultaneously landing flatly on her back and just as flatly hitting her head--only then did she end up at the hospital, this after she had seen 3 doctors in six days, and after a chest x-ray that reassured that she did not have pneumonia.
once admitted, my mother was found to indeed have pneumonia as well as dehydration and a urinary tract infection--all of which had demobilized her in bed for the preceding 8 days. she was given iv's and antibotics, which rejuvinated her long enough to walk up and down the aisle of the hospital wing accompanied by a physical therapist, not just any physical therapist, but the director herself, who proclaimed her able to walk and thus fit to go home.
so it was that after my mother's one night in the hospital, being 90 years old and following an xray and 3 physicians and 4 nurses that all missed all three of her problems--as flatly wrong as her flatly fall--her daughter--myself--was unable to convince the hospitalist--which is a new specialty of doctors who confine their work to hospitals and thereby relieve one's family doctor from visiting or checking up or following through or god forbid treating his or her patient--that my mother could use a little more time, and maybe a little rehab, before being sent home where she lives alone--my mother who is 90--and has been in bed for now 9 days.
despite her daughter's most persuasive efforts, rose is sent home with a somewhat hard fought guarantee that a nurse will visit her two days later. there is some discussion, initially raised by her daughter--me--about home care services and physical therapy and companion assistance since the daughter and son and grandaughter live some distance away, although among them they can cover about 65% of the time, assuming a 90 year old woman with pneumonia, dehydration, urinary tract infection, and how many days in bed now should probably not be left alone, at least now right away, which the hospitalist and social worker patiently listen to and politely advise that home planning of that kind is a family matter, not a hospital service.
ten days later, after she has been again examined by her doctor--in the same exam room where she fell--him declaring my mother sufficiently well that she does not need to see him again for two months--she is still mostly in bed and still mostly sick.
over lunch, delivered reliably by meals-on-wheels and mostly pretty tasty, after the daughter--me--has pursued and managed to uncover ways to get a nurse, a physical therapist, and a homemaker companion to see my mother in her home, for at least a week or two, my mother says to me, "What good is a hospital if they send you home sick?"
My mother is sick but definitely not unobserving, and definitely not stupid.