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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How many chances would we get?

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 true story that is sometimes stranger than fiction! I very much appreciate your thoughts and comments For anyone who has been along for the whole wild ride - Thank you!

How many chances would we get?

I was so caught up in researching and continuously thinking about moms’ most recent diagnosis and prognosis, as well as arranging transportation for her appointment with the infectious disease doctor that was scheduled for August 13, 2013 that I had completely forgotten about the appointment I had rescheduled for mom back home for August 11th.  We had waited so long for this opportunity, I hated that I had to change the appointment AGAIN.  How many chances would we get?

I had been searching for a new primary care doctor to take over moms’ care for years with no luck.  Due to moms’ multiple complex medical problems, the general consensus was that she required the specialty care of an internist.  Unfortunately, mom had been denied by every office in the relatively small town we live in and seemed to be stuck with the internist she had been with for years; the internist who had ignored obvious signs of infection on multiple occasions; the internist whose office staff was every bit as arrogant as he was; the internist who we would wait several weeks for mom to be seen after a hospital admission only to have our concerns and requests dismissed.  I dreaded making the call to have to cancel the appointment with the new primary care provider a second time before we had even met or been formally accepted to their practice.  What if they had a “Three Strikes and You’re OUT” policy?

I reminded myself that this would only be the second strike and dialed the number for the new doctors’ office.  The receptionist was pleasant, efficient and accommodating as she changed the “intake” appointment to early September.  I felt somewhat better but because I had to change that appointment, it meant I had to make one (hopefully) last appointment with her current PCP for her follow-up visit after discharge from the SNF.  With the discharge date targeted for August 23, 2013, she would need a follow-up visit by the 30th.

As much as I dreaded it, I dialed the number to the Internists office.  I was told the first appointment available wouldn't be until the middle of October.  “But, this is for a hospital discharge follow-up”, I knew the discharge papers would likely have orders that mom was to be seen 5-7 days after they released her.  When I told her mom was suppose to have another surgery to remove the rods and replace the knee joint in October, the nurse suggested we “might want to put it off until November” to accommodate the Internists vacation schedule.  “Are you insane” I wanted to scream, instead I asked when the MA would be back who I usually had to talk to in order to get “squeezed” in to the schedule; she was on vacation until next week and they would leave a message for her to call me.  I hated that we would ever have to step foot in that office again; I needed a break!

With it being a Friday afternoon, I knew I wasn't going to make anymore headway in regards to doctor’s appointments so I jumped at the chance to spend a few hours with my grand children so my daughter could go out for a few hours.  One wouldn't think that taking care of a 3 month old and a 2 year old for so short of time could be so tiring – I wondered how I had ever found the energy to actually raise children!  After 3 hours I was exhausted, but I still felt better than I had before my babysitting gig!  It may not have been a “break”, but something about baby smiles and giggles just makes me feel good!  Besides, I was only going to be in town for a couple more weeks; how many chances would I get?

Moms smiles make me feel good too and she grinned from ear to ear as I recounted the antics of my two year old grandson when I returned to the SNF that night to help her get ready for bed.  We had just finished moms’ nightly “getting ready for bed” routine and her clothes were laid out for morning when the CNA popped her head in to see if we needed any help.  I was thrilled to see that it was one of the aides that I felt most comfortable with, she was so much better than "toothache" girl (who I will tell you about sometime!) I always slept better when I knew this particular person was caring for mom; the fact that she brought me an icy cold Pepsi whenever she was working was a bonus!  Another break!

I had yet another brief respite the following morning when I went to watch my grandson play soccer.  OK.  I really wouldn't call it “playing” soccer, but watching 2 & 3 year olds (each with their own ball) running around the soccer field is quite entertaining and I loved every minute of it!  You've never seen quite as much excitement as that moment when it’s “snack time” after a hard practice!  The experience was priceless and I was so glad I had taken the time to be there.  After all, how many chances would I get?

“Excuse me”, I smiled at a lady with her grandson who was getting in to the car next to mine.  Her smile was bright and she thanked me as I
stood to the side while she loaded the baby in the car seat.  Her voice seemed so familiar.  The baby did or said something that made the lady chuckle; I KNEW that laugh.  I was racking my brain trying to think of where I knew her from when she turned and faced me.  The lady thanked me again and her eyes flashed a look of recognition.  “I know you!” She exclaimed, “Where do I know you from?”  Just as she finished the question, my mind somehow reached in to my memory bank and registered the answer.  “Is your name Barb?” I grinned when she looked startled.  I told her my name and started to remind her where we knew each other from when she threw her arms around me and laughed.  I wish I had had more time to reminisce with my friend and co-worker from 25 years ago; how many chances would I get?

It had been a good day so far and it got a little better when I arrived at the SNF.  Mom was still in therapy, so I slipped quietly in to the room and watched; I knew how important it was going to be to keep up the routines once we returned home, so I took every opportunity I could to observe.  I was pleased to see how hard mom was working and amazed at how well she was doing; although getting to a standing position even using her platform walker was a challenge, once she was standing she was able to take a few steps.  I hoped this new diagnosis, and whatever the infectious disease doctor would tell us the following week would not hinder her progress; I wasn't sure she could recover from another set-back.  How many chances would she get?

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