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Hope and Frustration
A family’s destiny is in the hands of the state

Editor's note: the following letter is printed with the author's permission, asking that their name be withheld

My name is [Name Redacted]. Recently, my father had a massive stoke to his cerebellum and had to be admitted to Providence St. Vincent, Portland Oregon Hospital. Upon his arrival I received a phone call from the attending Neurosurgeon that my father needed to have a Craniectomy as a life saving measure. I was told “If this operation is not done, he will die.”

Of course I said yes, and I am thankful to every single medical professional that saved his life and will be until my last breath. This isn’t news I would wish anybody to hear about a loved one. He has since been in the CCU for 2 weeks.

I am writing this letter now to express my concern for their 1 visitor per patient's entire stay policy. My mother, whom is still married to my father, has been his "designated visitor." I have been told several times that during this pandemic/crisis that I cannot see my father since I am not his designated visitor. My mother has expressed several times over to hospital staff of the need for my father to see his daughter as well, as I am the main point of contact.

I am aware of the pandemic and the many hardships countless people and hospitals have faced because of it. I’m more than positive that hospitals along with everyone else has had increased hardships, rapid policy changes, and setbacks. My heart goes out to all those affected.

Recently, my mother was provided a yellow informational handout about recovery from Providence St. Vincent. It entailed how patients need items of their daily routine to get better. I had a phone conversation with the attending doctor that day about how patients can become delusional during their stay in the hospital due to lack of sleep, unknown surroundings, and loss of routine. My father is still confused and delusional although making normal progressive strides while remaining in the Critical Care Unit.

My concern is with my father’s recovery going forward. While at home, I am a part of his daily routine, every day. My father sees me, every day. I know what he does, where he goes, who he’s talked to, how he thinks, what he ate etc. We are a part of each other’s lives and have maintained a close relationship. We are each other’s support system. My mother has relayed this information time and time again.

My mother is an essential visitor in the health and recovery of my father. I am also an essential visitor and should be deemed so. Who deems a visitor if they are essential or not? What are the parameters of being essential? I called, asked these questions and about written policy and have been told “There is no written policy” and “There is a global pandemic, that’s why you can’t visit”. I have been told the following reasons from several different staff members at Providence as for the reason why they have a 1 visitor per patient's entire stay "no written policy" policy:
  1. There is a global pandemic, it's not about who's essential, it's about limiting people in the hospital at one time. ( The hospital's "7 Steps of Safety" pamphlet posted on their website says " Limiting visitors to only those who are essential.")
  2. We are following CDC guidelines. (Guidelines are not laws)
  3. Its so that our hospital staff does not get sick so that there are still people to tend to patients.
  4. There is no written policy, it's just the protocol.
  5. They have given out exemptions, I'm just not sure who you have to talk to.
  6. It's up to the floor manager.
  7. It's up to the Covid Command Center.
  8. Try talking to a Social Worker or the Quality Care Team.
When I joined the Army in 2007 at the age of 20, I was well aware of the risks that my new job would entail. I assumed those risks and continued fighting for my country wherever they deemed fit, whether I agreed or not. It is what has made me who I am today and I respect those who willingly take on a risk to help others. I can only assume that medical personnel did the same thing when entering their said job field knowing that hospitals are where most people tend to flock to when the get sick. I am only asking to be able to relieve my mother when she can not be present, not to allow two visitors at the same time as to not "Increase the amount of visitor in the hospital at one time."

We both offer support to my father in different ways, different constructs, and different strengths. My mother needs her own support person during this tough time as well, a person of trust when she cannot be present, a second voice when she can’t find the words to say to the doctor, and a familiar face she can find comfort and reassurance in. My father deserves an advocate with whom he knows and trusts on his behalf when one of us cannot be present. Nurses, doctors, staff, ANY employee ANYWHERE is allowed to take the day off to conduct personal business, go grocery shopping, tend to family matters and so on. Why are we ( My mother and I) not allowed to relieve each other while advocating and supporting my father during his stay in the hospital? My mother is having to choose to stay with my father (Who has been restrained to his bed when someone is not present in the room for fear of pulling out vital drain tubes) or taking a break to gather her bearings.

I do not write to you as a bleeding heart daughter who just wants to see her daddy. I write to you for the mere fact of aiding in my father’s recovery and my mother’s emotional wellbeing. My father has told the staff that he wishes to talk to me. He has told me to "Come on over, were waiting for you." People in positions of power are using COVID to enforce policies, written or not, unaware of the aftermath. They are unaware of the mental and emotional toll it is putting on the people.

Virtual meetings/visits” can not replace in person visitation. How is "Skype & Zoom" getting back to normal when you never used it before in your actual normal life?

I am asking for help to be allowed to see my father when my mother cannot be present. There would still only be 1 person (visitor) in the hospital per day. As a main support and family member, I will be heavily involved in his recovery when at home as well. I only wish to sit next to him, advocate for him when my mother cannot, and support the recovery of his wellbeing. I don’t believe my father should be denied a visit from his daughter in the particular circumstances that resulted in his stay.

--A Daughter

Post Date: 2021-02-06 07:25:38Last Update: 2021-02-05 21:30:52

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