If you read this blog regularly, you know a little bit about my parents' circumstances. Recently my dad was transferred from a rehabilitation care center to a long-term care center just a few blocks from the one where my mom lives. The ultimate goal is to get them in the same care center, and this move was a huge step towards making that happen. But in the wake of that transfer, the unthinkable happened. The rehabilitation care center neglected to forward the crucial information that my dad is an insulin-dependent diabetic.
The transferred records did document that my dad is diabetic. The Friday after my dad's move to the new care center, the nurse-practitioner there undertook a thorough review of my dad's medical history. Although there were no orders for insulin, she thought it prudent to regularly check his blood sugar levels, and ordered the staff to check them twice a day.
The Monday morning following, Dad's blood sugars skyrocketed to over 500 (100 or less is normal). My sister tells what transpired over the next few hours:
"The nurse practitioner worked with the staff all day administering various units of insulin, but even though they were pumping him full of the stuff his number kept climbing. When I talked to staff later in the evening, he'd hit 579 with no end in sight, so we decided it would be best to take him to the hospital to determine what was causing it and get him on IV insulin to bring it down."
It was back in the hospital where the gross oversight by the rehabilitation care center was discovered. My insulin-dependent father had gone almost a full week with no insulin!
There could have been a very different ending to this incident in my dad's life. But thanks to an ordinary hero named Kathy, my tears today are not of sorrow, but of gratitude. So Kathy, thanks for doing your job and for doing it well. Thanks for thinking proactively. Thanks for caring about the people your position places in your care.
And thanks to all the Kathys out there, who work hard day in and day out, caring for our loved ones in ways we are not able to.