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Monday, January 13, 2014

It had to be NOW!

If you're "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. I very much appreciate your thoughts and comments.
For anyone who has been along for the whole wild ride - Thank you! 

It had to be NOW!

Mom worked hard in her therapy sessions; the therapists all raved about her.  I knew she was determined be able to go home as planned on July 30th, 2013; less than a week away.  On the days her therapy was scheduled at a “reasonable” hour I tried to be there to see what exercises she was doing; what I might be able to recreate to help mom at home.  I took every opportunity to glean as much information about how best to help mom.  I learned a lot by being there and helping with things that allowed the therapist more time to work with mom; just offering to push her wheelchair to the gym as the therapist walked with mom gave me time to talk with and get to know them.

Several of the therapists had worked with mom in February after her MAJOR spine surgery and mom is very socially adept and had gotten to know them quite well during the month she had spent in Rehab.  Mom could tell you who was getting married; who was getting divorced; who was pregnant or had recently given birth; and any number of other things.  It really did make it easier to trust and establish relationships with people you knew a little about.  Each day when I arrived at the hospital mom would share any gossip she had been able to glean since she had last seen me.  I stored these bits of information like a squirrel storing nuts; I might need it!

As I watched mom rest I wondered how much difference her care at home would be now that she did not have a joint in her knee.  It would certainly make things a little more challenging when we got home; heck, it would make it more challenging to GET home.

I was thankful that Home Health would be involved to help with moms’ rehabilitation.  My mind was wandering when the thought hit me that I had not yet heard how we would deal with the IV antibiotics that needed to be delivered through the MID-line they had inserted in moms’ upper arm (they were unable to insert a PICC line due to scar tissue build-up from previous lines).  With only a few days before mom was scheduled to be discharged I decided I should find out what the plan was.  I kept my eyes on mom as I quietly slipped out the door; I nearly knocked the discharge planner down when I came out the door and she was standing there.

“You’re just the person I was looking for” the Discharge Planner smiled at me.  I told her I was just going to look for the doctor to find out what the plan for discharge was.  “That’s what I was coming to talk to you about, I think we have it all worked out”, the planner smiled.

The plan was to meet with a representative from the drug company who would show me how to administer the medication through the mid-line three times a day (every 8 hours).  I was surprised; I had really thought I would have to put up more of a fight to get this worked out after being told the previous two times it wasn't possible.   Of course, there were still other details that had to be worked out before I would be able to take mom home.

I was feeling pretty good about all I had accomplished.  With the IV antibiotics under control and having a scheduled time to work on car transfers I headed back to moms’ room.  “Hi” I said as I walked in to find her awake.  Mom said “hello”, but not much else; she didn't look like she was feeling well at all.  I chattered, trying to disguise my nervous energy, as I gathered moms’ dirty clothes.  After assuring mom had what she needed for the evening and her clothes set out for the next day, I kissed mom and left for the night.

When I returned to the hospital on Saturday morning, mom didn't look good.  “I don’t know if I’m going to be able to go home next week; I don’t know if I’ll feel good enough”, moms’ eyes were filled with sadness.  I asked her what was wrong and reminded her that there would be good days and bad.  “Let’s just get through the weekend and see how you feel next week”, I suggested to mom; I had no idea what we were going to do if she was unable to make the trip home.

On Monday morning July 29th, 2013, mom still wasn't feeling great, but was very anxious to get out of the hospital.  That afternoon the representative from the drug company supplying the IV antibiotics came in.  We were given two choices in how the medication was to be dispensed; mom looked dubious.  It was clear the representative wanted us to choose one over the other and I was fairly certain it had nothing to do with the level of difficulty we might encounter; I believed her motivation was due to a vested interest in one of the products.

We chose “the other”; it looked easier.  The financial burden for us was the same with both systems.  Medicare approved it, but her supplemental insurance did not.  Still we felt the $187 per week co-pay was worth it to be able to go home; to be in our own beds.  Having won the battle of the at home IV infusions, I was feeling empowered; the feeling was short lived.

Once mom and I were alone in the room, mom turned very serious.  “That’s going to be too much on you”, mom said.  Even though I assured mom I could handle it, I wasn't sure; I was nervous.  After talking for several minutes about our options, mom made a decision.  “Are you sure?” I couldn't believe what I was hearing; I hoped we didn't regret it.  “Well, if that’s what you want to do, I better get busy”, I only had a short time to get everything in order and I knew what my first task had to be and it had to be NOW!

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