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Instead of watching E.R. on TV on Thursday night, the scenes played out in real life as my husband and I spent more than six hours in the Duke Medical Center emergency room on Thanksgiving night with my mother-in-law.

To give you a little background:my mother-in-law is in the latter stages of Alzheimers.We moved her from her home in South Carolina to a home care facility close to us in NC so we could look after her better.

The night before Thanksgiving, she apparently fell and sprained her left arm while wandering in the middle of the night.She was taken to the E.R. where a cast was placed on her arm. On Thanksgiving Day, her son picked her up so she could spend part of the day with us and have dinner.

While I was distracted with completing dinner, my mother-in-law decided to remove the cast from her arm.This resulted in major swelling and since no one knew how to put the cast back on without having a major fight on our hands, we figured the best thing to do was to take her back the E.R. to have them do it.

I thought we would be out in an hour max because how long does it take to replace an arm cast?Well, it actually took more than six hours because cases kept coming in that became priority over her:

Case #1:Young man shot in the abdomen while sitting on his front porch.Suspects unknown.

Case #2:Two-year-old sticks popcorn kernel up his nose and required emergency surgery to remove it.

Case #3:DUI driver runs a red light and hits a car full of people who were returning home after visiting family for Thanksgiving.

Case #4:Young pregnant woman has too much to drink and goes into some kind of seizure.

I don’t know if it’s just Duke’s E.R. but their customer service was absolutely HORRIBLE!!!I don’t even want to think about the kind of treatment we could’ve received if we didn’t have insurance.

It was an interesting night and one that kept me from missing the traditional Black Friday shopping spree because I couldn’t get out of bed.I'm also beginning to understand the role many baby boomers, like myself, are going to have to play when it comes to dealing with aging parents.


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