Anybody else a big Ally McBeal fan? One of my favorite refrains from the show is John Cage hollering the word “Unacceptable!” Cracks me up every time.

But unfortunately I feel Mr. Cage’s pain. In the midst of migraine hell a couple years ago, I posted about my less-than-desirable encounters with the health care system as a patient. I shared my shock and dismay about the lack of communication, the dangerous assumptions that were made, the reactive (as opposed to proactive) steps that were taken to get my pain under control.

And now a similar clusterf*ck has befallen my grandmother. She is facing the nightmare of receiving mixed messages from different providers who can’t be bothered to talk to each other (one person told her to halve one prescription, the other told her to double it). Of primary care providers who don’t even know what her current medications should be and fail to communicate about their confusion…instead they just don’t return phone calls. Of ER doctors who prescribe, prescribe, prescribe, without paying attention to the medications she is already on (despite the fact that she brings in her bottles every time and they write down the medication names dutifully). It’s no flipping wonder that polypharmacy happens so quickly. Pay attention, people. This is my GRANDMOTHER!!!

So I spent my time acting as her personal nurse. Figuring out her medications, making phone calls, fighting for her. I know that family members are the best advocates. I know that as a nurse (and especially as a community health nurse who deals with this crap for a living), I can serve as a resource that many grandmothers don’t have. But I can only imagine how many other grandmothers out there are falling through the cracks.


The Biscuit rocking out to Barry White. If I can’t laugh right now I will need to cry.

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