Loss Magnified

There are things that we don’t want to happen but have to accept, things we don’t want to know but have to learn, and people we can’t live without but have to let go. ~Author unknown

My mom went to the hospital a few weeks ago, suffering from unexplained dizziness.

That might not sound too serious, but when you’re as old as Mom, it could be, so they ran just about every test they could, yet they still have no diagnosis.

And that’s not the worst part.

While she was undergoing one of the tests, they removed her jewelry and placed it in a denture box for safekeeping.

Afterward, they returned her necklace … but not her wedding band. A plain gold band she’s rarely taken off in more than 60 years.

By today’s standards, it wasn’t worth much. No diamonds or other gemstones. No engraving even.

Yet who can place a monetary value on such a sentimental item?

She and Daddy married after the Big War, and they didn’t have a lot of money set aside for fancy jewelry.

So I can’t imagine anybody wanting to take the ring. And now that Daddy has been in Heaven these past nearly 14 years, all it offered was solace to a widow who still misses her best friend.

I’ve spoken with hospital security. No ring was turned in.

I’ve spoken with a former colleague who now has a high post at the hospital. She’s determined to get to the bottom of this, but hasn’t succeeded.

They’ve retraced their steps — from Mom’s arrival at the emergency room, through all the battery of tests they administered, to her admittance for observation.

No ring.

How she got the necklace back and not the ring makes no sense. Remember, they were in the same little box.

The staff has checked the laundry, the floor, the machines. Anyone who had contact with Mom has been interviewed.

No ring.

Mom seems resigned to the loss. Perhaps she just doesn’t want to fight any more battles.

Especially since the ring won’t bring Daddy back.

But my sister and I are heartbroken. That ring was something we’d hoped to keep, to remind us of our parents and the love they had for each other.

“Jewelry” can be replaced, but nothing new means what this old wedding band did.

I’ve read horror stories of the personal items others have had go missing after a hospital stay. Things like wallets, cell phones, hearing aids, and, of course, jewelry.

And I’ll never understand it.

Doesn’t it make sense for institutions like hospitals to make a concerted effort to take better care of the people — and their personal property — that’s entrusted to them?

16 thoughts on “Loss Magnified

  1. What a sad, sad thing. I’d like to think that it was some sort of accident rather than simple theft, but that doesn’t make the loss any easier to bear. I can’t remember when it happened, but there came a time when my own mother’s pre-procedure instructions began including the caution to leave all jewelry at home before coming to the hospital. It might have been just one more sign of a society in the process of unraveling, and simple morality becoming the exception rather than the rule.

    I am glad that the hospital seems to have responded well; however slim the chance, perhaps that beloved ring will reappear.

    • I hope so, Linda. A patient rep called me today and promised to try tracking it down, but it’s been missing for more than two weeks already, so I doubt she’ll be successful. Whether it was lost or stolen, the end result is the same — it’s missing. It just behooves the hospital that, if it succumbed to an employee’s sticky fingers, to find out who that employee is and cut them loose. Who really knows how often this sort of situation has occurred anyway??

    • Thank you, Eliza. She’s been moved to a rehab-to-home place for physical therapy — hoping she can get stronger and able to get back home. She’s been doing quite a bit of complaining, leading my sis and me to conclude she must be feeling better, ha!

    • Thank you, Captain. We attach a lot of emotion to things like wedding bands, don’t we? I know Mom wouldn’t want another ring, even if it was shiny and new.

  2. Debbie, I am so sorry to hear about your mom going into the hospital. And you’re absolutely right, not having a diagnosis can be quite frustrating because you can’t help but worry while waiting for what they conclude was the cause of her dizziness.

    And how annoying about not getting her wedding ring returned. Like you said, it’s not the value that matter, it’s the sentiment and the memories. I sure hope they find it. Like you said, it makes no sense how everything else was returned, except for the ring!?!

    I’m glad to hear that your mother has resigned to the loss, but like you and your sister, I’d be heartbroken. And annoyed as hell, as well.

    Sure hope this gets resolved, my friend! X

    • Thank you, Ron. Hospitals can be scary places — regardless of one’s age — and when “the experts” can’t figure out what’s “wrong” with you, it’s especially worrisome. Having to undergo a bazillion tests isn’t a picnic either.

      I know Mom would like to have her ring back — my sis and I, for sure, would like that, too. However, if somebody has to turn the entire hospital over to find it, she’s not interested. Maybe when a person gets that age, they realize that material things are just “stuff,” and nobody can erase her good memories.

      Every time I think about it, though, I seethe. So many people go into a hospital after something major — auto accident, heart attack, a fall — and you can’t expect them to be conscious about their personal possessions. Somebody responsible should be advocating for them. XX

  3. I’m sorry to hear your mom isn’t keeping well – hope they find out what’s wrong soon and it turns out to be something that can be treated. As for personal items going missing, it’s ridiculous that they allow this to happen – total incompetence. Given how often they must do this, they should have a foolproof system. I know what you mean about the ring’s loss – I have my mother’s wedding ring, and just like your mom’s its value isn’t in what its worth in monetary terms (not much!), but in being irreplaceable. I do hope they find it, and I hope your mom is soon back home and feeling better.

    • Thank you, my friend! I can see you know what I’m talking about regarding the meaning of the ring rather than its monetary value. I guess the positive thing is she didn’t have on her diamond engagement ring!

      But you’re so right: it’s total incompetence. And it’s not like this is a brand new hospital either. They’ve been doing this for decades and by now should have perfected a system for keeping patients’ possessions safe (regardless of the patient’s cognizance, or the final outcome). Thanks for your good wishes for Mom, too!

    • I agree. You can’t put a price on sentimental items. And really, it makes no sense why she got her necklace back but not the ring. Thanks for empathizing, Robin.

    • Thanks, Barbara. She’s doing rehab now so she can get stronger and able to come home. A hospital stay isn’t exactly conducive to strengthening the body! Still no word on the ring though we’ve got people looking for it. I hate to think it, but I’m afraid it really is gone.

  4. Deb, So sorry your mom is ill. The loss of her ring on top of dealing with her being sick is absolutely horrible! There is no excuse for that! I pray for continued healing for your mom!
    When my mom went to the hospital family took her Jewelry she had on which was a lot. It was never seen again. So I know the feeling. It added insult to injury even to this day 18 years later. If I have to go to the hospital for any reason I will take my jewelry off before I go.
    Again, sorry about your mom and I will be keeping her and your family in prayer!!!

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Tanya. Sorry this happened to your mom. I suppose we really ought to remove jewelry and personal items when a loved one goes to the hospital. BUT, what if it’s you that has to go, and what if it’s when you’re unconscious? Gee, makes me think we shouldn’t wear jewelry at all, just in case. And wouldn’t that be a crying shame?

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