Erratic Breathing

 It was a cold evening but the support house heating system was on point and was working as it should. Even in the lobby where the front doors are constantly being opened and closed when residents or their guest go in and out.  Out of the Counselors working that night, Jamie decided to take the front desk to monitor the traffic of residents and their guests entering and leaving the building. An easy task for the remainder of the night; that is until he got a call from one of a resident’s Daughter.

Ms. Mascara’s Daughter Juana called and told Jamie that she is worried, and believes her mother isn’t doing too well. Jamie had in his mind, another false alarm. People are always insisting that staff go upstairs and check on a resident because they can’t get in touch with them. In most cases, the resident doesn’t want to be bothered; but the callers want confirmation that they are not being snubbed. But in this instance, Jamie took exception because Juana is also Ms. Mascara’s registered proxy; so he told Juana that he would go and check up on Ms. Mascara.  

When Jamie went upstairs and checked on Ms. Mascara, it does indeed look like she wasn’t doing too well.  When asked how she was feeling, Ms. Mascara insisted that she was doing fine. When Jamie told Ms. Mascara her Daughter’s concerns, she wrote it off as her Daughter being hyper sensitive and told Jamie not to listen to Juana. But Jamie couldn’t help but notice that Juana’s breathing was kind of shallow. But since Ms. Mascara was lucid and insisted that she doesn’t need any help from EMS; Jamie took her word and went back downstairs.

Counselor Julie entered the lobby to collect her food, which was just dropped off by Uber Eats. She asked Jamie if things are running smoothly. Jamie mentioned everything is moving along OK, except for that Mascara’s Daughter asked me to check up on her. Knowing how Mascara is, she probably cursed out Juana and stopped taking her calls; so Juana pestered me to go check up on her. When I went upstairs and spoke to Mascara she said she is OK; but she didn’t sound too good. I offered to call EMS for them to check her out and she insisted that she doesn’t need EMS.   

Julie cautioned Jamie and told him, that Mascara had a possible diagnosed of uterine cancer and her Doctor recommended that she have a hysterectomy. Mascara didn’t like the prognosis that her Doctor gave her, so she went to another Doctor, who gave her a similar prognosis and also recommended that she have a hysterectomy. Mascara has been pussy footing around and refused to address her underlining medical issue.    

Julie also stated that every time a resident have some type of medical issue that needs to be address, they always refuse EMS intervention. Julie stated, if I were you. I would check up on Mascara every hour until your shift is over.   

Jamie said alright, I’ll take into consideration of what you said. But in his mind he did not want to be bothered with Mascara. She never cooperate with anything; she doesn’t take her meds, and from what he heard she doesn’t even want to take care of herself. Jamie decided not to go back and deal with Mascara.

Yet, after forty five minutes, Jamie had a change of heart. A voice in his head told him that he better go and check up on Mascara. Jamie went upstairs and when Mascara opened the door, Jamie asked if she was feeling okay. Mascara stated she was alright, except for that she hasn’t been able to get a good night sleep for a couple of days because of her medical issue. She mentioned that he Doctor’s wanted to do a biopsy on her.

Jamie noticed that when Mascara was talking it sounded like she was winded, like she just sprinted to catch a bus. So Jamie asked Mascara once again if she needed EMS. Mascara was adamant that she doesn’t need EMS and declined Jamie’s offer to call them.

As soon as Jamie went back downstairs, he reported his findings and opinion to the program Supervisor who was on call for the night. The Supervisor stated that they’ve been trying to get Mascara to the emergency room all week. But she keeps on refusing their request to call EMS.  

Jamie, thoughts were “fuck it,” I’m going to call EMS whether she want me too or not. Jamie went back upstairs, knocked on the door, and told Mascara that he will be calling EMS. Jamie explained that when EMS arrives, if she feels she doesn’t need their intervention, it won’t be forced on her, she has the option to refuse they will give her a form to sign that she refused their service.

Since Jamie expressed it in a manner, that she understood. Mascara agreed with the decision to call EMS. It took EMS 5 minutes to arrive; and when Jamie took them up to Mascara’s unit; she had the door unlocked; she was fully clothed sitting on the bed waiting for them. Yet, when Jamie and the EMS crew entered the unit, they saw that she was hyperventilating.

The EMS crew took her vitals and administered oxygen; and decided that she should go to the emergency room. Jamie helped her get her stuff together and she was wheeled out to the ambulance. Just before the EMS crew took her to the Hospital, they radioed their Supervisor who arrived on the scene. They huddled and had a brief conversation, and then they moved out taking Mascara to the emergency room.   

It was during the afternoon the following day when the Support House Staff received word that Mascara passed away while undergoing treatment for her erratic breathing. This was the second death of a resident in a three week period.  

Unlike the death of Frances, Mascara’s death took place off site in a Hospital. It was concluded that if Jamie didn’t call EMS, Mascara would have passed away in her unit that night.  This elevated the Support House organization from going through the process to determine whether or not the Support House is responsible for her death.

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