When There Is No Right Answer


I'm second, third, fourth guessing myself again.  I'm trying to accept that sometimes there is no right answer.  Sometimes there really isn't an answer at all.

Last June, my mom was sick and in the hospital for a long time.  However, at one point she was too "well" (that's a relative term in my book) to stay and the question was raised did she go home or did she go to rehab.  Although my dad and their caregiver chimed in, it was ultimately my decision that she go to a rehab facility.  I had hoped that it would help her enough to get her home.  That didn't happen.  She ended up back in the hospital.  There were numerous health issues that she was facing; challenges that could not be overcome.  Only July 8th she accepted hospice care and on the 9th she died.  And I've been wondering did I do the right thing?  Would things have been better if she had gone home?  Even if the outcome had been the same, would it have been more peaceful or calming for her?  We're coming up on a year and the question still haunts me.

Since January of this year my father's health has deteriorated.  Physically, he's not that great.  He's developed pressure ulcers. (Although I am not a medical professional, I have to guess that it's the result of his immobility.)  He was in the hospital for about a week and came home with daily nursing/wound care.  That WAS going well, until one day when the nurse felt that one (or more) of the ulcers was looking infected again.  So it was back to the hospital again.  This time he was there for over a week and the ulcer(s) required several surgical debridements.

When he was to be released, coming home did not seem to be an option.  His wounds. though (supposedly)  no longer infected, did require specialized care.  However, a rehabilitiation facility would provide the necessary vacuum assisted closure of the wound(s).  (I had never heard of a "wound vac" before, but then again I am not a medical professional.  So I did a quick search and found:  " Vacuum-assisted closure of a wound is a type of therapy to help wounds heal. It’s also known as wound VAC. During the treatment, a device decreases air pressure on the wound. This can help the wound heal more quickly.

"The gases in the air around us put pressure on the surface of our bodies. A wound vacuum device removes this pressure over the area of the wound. This can help a wound heal in several ways. It can gently pull fluid from the wound over time. This can reduce swelling, and may help clean the wound and remove bacteria. A wound VAC also helps pull the edges of the wound together. And it may stimulate the growth of new tissue that helps the wound close."  This information comes from the John Hopkins Medicine site, so I'm trusting in it.)

I was asked to choose from a list of rehabilitation facilities.  I was told not to select just one, but 4 or 5 because you can't always get your first choice.  My first choice (and my father's as well) was actually on the hospital campus.  Unsurprisingly, they were unable to take him.  So they went with my second choice; the same facility my mother had been in.  I selected it because although it wasn't an outstanding place (I doubt as if such a place exists, or if it does it exists only for for 1%), but they were responsive to my calls and questions.  The day that I was there with my mom, while the care was not extraordinary, I felt it was good.  (And again, the next day when my mother called me with a problem, I was able to reach staff who was able to help.  This was on a Sunday, which was more than I expected.)  But was it the right place for my dad?

Even though he never visited her at the facility, he knew it was where she had been.  That gave it a black mark and perhaps I was not as sensitive to that as I should have been.  He was (and perhaps is) angry with me for sending him there.  However, there are no right answers.  While there are many rehabilitation facilities within a 25 mile radius of my dad's home, would any of them have been right?

I went to see my dad today.  I took my husband with me for support.  I needed support, as I walked past the room that had housed my mother.  Furthermore, my dad was having a bad day.  For whatever reason (and as far as I know this hadn't happened before), he was nauseated and I tried to play nurse; holding a  vomit bowl and wiping up his mouth/face.  (As I tried not to throw up myself, I realized that I was definitely NOT cut out to be a nurse.)  Staff did come in to help (not as quickly as I would have liked, but I also recognize that there is a nationwide shortage of professionals in all areas of medicine). 

My husband and  I had to leave while they did some wound care.When we came back my father was sort of asleep.  We waited for a while.  He woke up and vomited again.  My husband went to get a nurse.  My dad went back to sleep (sort of.)  Eventually, we left.

Which leaves me again with self doubt? Should I have stayed longer?  Did I do the right thing?  What should I have done?

Again, logic tells me there is no right answer.  Emotion is not logical.  I am going to continue to have doubts.  I'm going to continue to wonder what I could have done differently, not just today, but over the past two years.  What could I have done differently?  What SHOULD I have done?  HOW could I have done it?  I don't know.  I never will, but I'm sure I will be haunted.

Sometimes there are no right answers.  Sometimes there are no real answers at all.  It's something I need to accept, but will I?


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