This is not a complaint about a nursing home.
I guess this is really just to ask how not to feel guilty if I cannot handle my mother's phone calls with patience and a high level of nurturing. And, I know, this is not a new subject.
It's always the same. She has COPD and is on continuous oxygen, but that is being effectively managed. She is ambulatory; meaning that she can push her own wheelchair as if it is a walker (they have attached an oxygen tank to the wheelchair which she knows how to use even without help), and she can also sit in it and move it around with arms and feet, and she can walk back and forth to her bathroom. She is not bedridden or needing someone to transport her all the time. In fact, if she thinks she is being ignored, she leaves her room without oxygen or wheelchair or a walker and goes to to find the staff! And, she has never had a distress breathing episode from doing that.
She probably rings the call bell between 10 and 25 times a day, and lots of times that's just because she can't remember whether she got her breathing/nebulizer treatment on time, or when the aide said she was coming to make the bed, or help her get dressed or when the laundry or housekeeping will be done. Point is: she is a prolific bell ringer. But, the staff knows all that; they are fine with it. They know her patterns.
However, any time she has any other issue, which is normal to have at age 91, she panics, has anxiety, which makes her breathing worse, which then makes the anxiety worse. And, she rings the call button, but if the nurse doesn't come in 5 seconds, then she calls me. Always the same: "I'm in trouble. Nobody is helping me." And, when I try to ask for details, she gets angry with me. And, then of course, I call the Nurse. I have already been given advice to just not answer the phone every time she calls, and to try to set a fixed time every day to call her, and to trust that the nursing home staff will call me if my mother is in distress. It is a very reputable place. They are not perfect, but I have monitored them as closely as possible and I do trust them. I talk with the nurses regularly, go to plan of care meetings, talk with the in-house psychiatrist, and I know every medication she is taking, and why she is taking it.
It's not that I do not believe my mother. If she says she is in pain, I believe her. It's that there is nothing I can do about it. She has complained about pain under her breasts and across the abdomen, and the nursing home did what tests they could, and then sent her to the hospital about 3 weeks' ago, and she was there for 3 nights so that the hospital could do every test imaginable ---- based on her medical records and the nursing home records and what I told them about her conditions ----and they could not find the source of the abdominal pain. Even worse? It did not help that, as soon as my mother got to the ER, she said she had no pain, and continued to say she had no pain for the 3 days/3nights in the hospital. I had to insist on all of the tests.
Now, she's back in the nursing home, and says she has the same pain. She is 91. I don't think there are any more tests to run. And, I don't know what to do about these "I'm in trouble. Nobody is helping me" phone calls.