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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

...but still, it was hope. For anyone "just tuning in" this post may leave you wondering what the heck I am rambling about, I hope you take the time to go back and review my earlier posts so you can catch up with our story. For anyone who has been along for the whole wild ride - Thank you! I very much appreciate your thoughts and comments

Ten days had passed since moms’ surgery.  She was still in a lot of pain, although she described the pain as “different”.  Mom was still not able to get out of bed without a lot of help; she wasn't even able to stand for the x-ray they needed to determine the next step.

As I was wondering if mom would ever be able to take a next step, the Social Worker arrived.  I was absolutely floored when she asked me, “Have you decided where you want your mom to go”?  What was she talking about?  She went on to tell me that mom would be discharged within a couple days.  It was all I could do to keep from screaming at this woman; how could they do this to mom?  I really wasn't interested in the insurance guidelines she kept referring to.

“What about the second surgery?” I asked.  Instead of answering my question, she explained that, due to moms’ current condition, she no longer required or qualified for the level of care she had been receiving.  I was handed a list of Skilled Nursing Facilities that we might want to consider.  “Can’t she go to the rehab unit here?” I knew I was grasping at straws.  Mom would not meet the criteria to go to Acute Rehab unit unless she could participate in three hours of therapy a day, to do that she would need to be able to at least stand up.

“What about the second surgery?” I asked again.  The social worker didn’t know and it didn’t appear she was going to try to find out.  She was pressing me to make a decision about moms’ placement NOW.  I knew she had a job to do; so did I.  My job was to try to protect mom.   I had to try to do what was best for her, I just wish I knew what that was.

“Which of these places have a doctor on staff?” I asked through clenched teeth.  She looked at me like I was from another planet.  She reasoned that they all had full time nursing staff; a doctor could be called if necessary.  “I absolutely will not agree to her being sent anywhere that does not have a doctor on staff”, I was going to stand firm this time.  I emailed the surgeon while I waited for the list.

Once I had the list of sub-acute facilities, my sister and I began our tours.  We tried to keep open minds.  We needed to make a good decision.  It was imperative moms’ complex medical issues, all of them, were considered in her care.  We had learned months ago that no matter how much research we did; no matter how good things looked or sounded, we would likely be disappointed.  After several hours we had finally made a heart wrenching decision about moms’ placement.  We were going to stall.

After a fitful night, I headed back to the hospital in the early morning hours of March 4, 2012.  My plan was to go see mom, make sure she was OK and get out of there before the social worker arrived.  I didn't think they would transfer mom to another facility without talking to me; they couldn't talk to me if they didn't see me!
I felt like a spy; the Mission Impossible theme playing in my head, as I peered around corners in an attempt to avoid the social worker on my way to moms’ room.  In order to not walk by her desk, I took the long way around.  I glanced over my shoulder as I rounded the last corner.  I turned back and almost ran right in to the very person I was trying to avoid.  “Good morning”, I said as cheerfully as possible.  My heart was thumping so loud I thought she could probably hear it.  She barely looked up as she returned the pleasantries.   I didn't know if that was good or bad.  My imagination could come up with a hundred reasons why the social workers reaction might be bad.

It certainly looked bad when I entered moms’ room.  The curtain was pulled around the bed and I heard three voices; none of them were moms’.  “Hello” my voice was drowned out by theirs.  The room fell silent.  “HELLO” I said louder as I pulled the curtain back, startling everybody.  I recognized the surgeon and had met the nurse.  I wondered who the third person was.

It was like mom had read my mind as she introduced me to the resident who would be assisting in the second surgery, TOMORROW!  At least I no longer had to worry about how I was going to tell mom about the second surgery she might need.  I know my not telling her had been a result of procrastination, but I prefer to think of it as a calculated risk.

It was time to shift my worries to the reality we were facing if the second surgery didn't work.  Was everybody reading my mind?  “I really think this will help” the surgeon explained the procedure in more detail than I could possibly absorb.  Much like moms spine, my mind was mush.

At least there was hope for moms’ spine!  Right?

It seemed to be the last hope; the only hope, but still, it was hope.


Anonymous said...

It's a shame that the insurance has so much to say about your health when they have no clue and won't recognize that each person is not the same. It seems like they like to put everyone in a "One fits all" type of medical care and resources. The guidelines really should be changed as it doesn't "fit all in one size"...

healthcare hostages said...

It is a shame. Sometimes there needs to be exceptions to rules. You are absolutely right "One size fits all", does not work when it comes to quality medical care.

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I greatly appreciate your comments!