Saturday, October 17, 2009

This week has been beyond description.  There have been blessings and meltdowns, negatives and positives. We have a wonderful physician, who, along with his PA, Julie, has put heart and soul into caring for us. He has spent hours researching possible diagnoses, consulting with the other docs, finding out what meds J can take, coordinating  tests and explaining everything to J-Man, who has a bit of a swiss cheese memory.  

J-Man came home as scheduled on Wed. Before we left, as we were about to get him dressed, the manager of the unit we were on, a couple of other nurses, and the director of nurses came to the room. My heart dropped.  I just knew I was going to be disciplined for going into the computer and looking up J's chart.  Never mind that he'd given me permission right in front of one of the docs--I am still an employee of the hospital.
Instead, they presented me with the October Excellence in Nursing Award for the dolls I have been doing for our little demented ladies and the Tangles I bought for the confused, fidgety men.  (Thanks for the link and idea, Annie! And Mighty Mom!) I was doing fine until that moment, when it was if someone pulled her finger from the dike, and the tears flowed. My emotions have been all over the place since then. Part of the award, besides the pin for my name badge, is a $300.00 gift certificate for either Lowe's, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, or one of three area malls. As I have been talking with Handyman Matters about installing a grab bar by the toilet in the bathroom, that money should come in handy!

There was a flurry of last-minute activity getting arrangements made, but we made it home by 1pm. He has been mostly stationed in the recliner or the bed since then, with his daughter standing watch while I work and sleep. DD has been wonderful, cooking, washing dishes, running errands. I don't know what we would have done without her, as I needed to get back to work and earn a paycheck. We bought a baby monitor, so she is able to hear if he gets up in the night or should call out for her. Unfortunately, his propensity to wake up several times in the night and turn on Fox News or talk radio until he falls asleep again is making her nuts. I am off tonight, so she can get a full night's sleep.

The liver biopsy was rescheduled for Tues. at 12:30 our time. I am a bit frustrated at the delay, as this means it will be probably next Thurs. or Fri. before we get the results, and we have been on pins and needles waiting for an answer to this puzzle. DD is leaving Sun to go back to Virginia and work, so it will be just the two of us again. Folks at work have been absolutely wonderful, and I was able to get off work Tues. night so I can keep an eye on him post-procedure.

Sun. we will go over to our hospital to have more labwork drawn. I asked that our hospital provide me with copies of his labwork, radiology reports, history and physical and consultation reports so I will have them when we head over to the other hospital. I want no delays due to lost paperwork! I'm also anxious to see if there has been any changes in his liver or kidney function, but don't know if I'll see these new labs beforehand.

The delay caused some glitches with J-Man's medication, too. We have a lousy insurance plan, and I have been over to Human Resources to discuss the problems we've had. The insurance company wants to contest his last two days in the hospital, but once he was sent home, they stopped covering one of his hospital medications. It's a blood thinner that can only be given by injection--and it's $90.00 a pop, twice a day. As he's going to need to be on it longer now that the biopsy has been delayed, we were looking at over $2000.00 for that medication alone. I was going to pull it out of savings, as there is no way he can do without it, but the folks in case management, and the unit manager who nominated me for the award, Kim, got busy and found a donor for the medication.  It was one of the anesthesiologists whose husband recently died.  Another flow of tears. This wouldn't have been possible if I'd taken another job as I was thinking. (Oh, I forgot to tell you--our manager was fired!  Rumor has it she was diverting narcotics, but I don't know that for sure.  Doesn't matter--she's gone, and the whole place is relieved.  Some folks are even coming back to work here.)
J-Man is in good spirits, though suffering from a bit of cabin fever. I've been driving his SUV, as the lights on my truck fade in and out on me, so besides being held hostage a patient at the hospital this week he was also stuck  here the last couple of days. We have probably missed the peak color at the higher elevations along the Blue Ridge Parkway, but we might just go for a drive after the labwork on Sunday and gawk at the leaves just like tourists.

We've decided to cancel the Halloween party for this year.  I just lost the past two weeks what with working and J's inability to care for himself and then the hospitalization, and there just isn't enough time to send out invitations, decide on a menu, shop and prepare the food, as well as finish the props, clean the house, and carve jack-o-lanterns.  Heck, I haven't even bought the candy yet. Four of us who work together on nights are all off that night, so maybe we'll just watch scary movies and eat popcorn.

Tomorrow his cousin is driving up from Birmingham to see him.  He thinks he'll be able to get a room if he needs to, because it's a long drive, but not this time of the year! So I need to buy groceries, help J with his shower, and do a bit of cleaning in the morning.  And I am chomping at the bit to create something--Halloween props or a table runner or more trivets--something! There are going to be cobwebs in my sewing room, and I didn't put them there.

Thanks again for all the emails and comments.  Please know that I still have them in my inbox and read and reread them when I'm feeling a little down, though I may not get to answer each one.  Right now there are over 160 posts from you folks waiting for me to read, and it'll be the middle of January before I'm through, at this rate. 

Good night for now!


Cathi said...

It is so nice there are such generous people as the donor of that medication! You take care of yourself! I hope you have a lovely time Sunday gawking at the leaves!

Arlette said...

I'm keeping you both in my prayers and hoping for a good diagnosis for JMan. ((Hugs))

cockermom said...

I am glad to hear he is home and doing better. Congrats on the award girl!
Do I see another coincidence here? My Daughter also lives in Va.! Steph, this is too funny!

AnnieO said...

Stephanie, handling all this without tears until you've been given an award sounds just like you! Glad to hear your dollies you made and the Tangles you bought have been so beneficial. J-man may be feeling cooped up, but thank goodness he's home now, and I hope you will soon have the answers you crave. Meds are so expensive and it was a blessing to find a donor, how wonderful. Sorry your party must be canceled but you'll enjoy your holiday anyway.

MightyMom said...

home is a good place to be.