This post is an update to the one last month; in attempting to update it, I found that I destroyed it. That post was composed late at night in the ER, and it’s not as good as it could have been. But…Uncle. I’m giving up trying to fix it. I managed to get it restored (as it is part of this great journey) but I’ll post a new entry and append the updates:
I have been busy. I’ll just start there. Last month, we had two trips to the ER with the paramedics within a week. On a Wednesday, my wife was to have a visit from the Visiting Nurse, but when he called to check in prior to the visit, she was sounding so bad that the fella called the paramedics.
That was the right call. Her back had been getting progressively worse, but her Orthopod is of the opinion of not prescribing pain meds. In these times of opioid crisis, this is understandable. But her function had been adversely affected, capability steadily decreasing.
And at that time, she literally couldn’t move, for the pain. Overnight in the ER brought a diagnosis of several compressed discs, and pain meds to try to get ahead of the pain.
But we weren’t ahead of it yet. She fell the next Tuesday. Because of the pain in her back. She was coming down the steps, when her back went into spasm, and her knees got so weak that she just crumpled.
It was the middle of the day; she was OK when I went to work. But it became my nightmare scenario: her at home, desperately needing help, and me, an hour away, at work… I drove down to the ER. And with nothing to do but worry, I had begun to compose this post there.
But it had been too painful then to complete or to do any further crafting on it; she was admitted to the hospital this time. She’s not a good candidate for any further back surgery because of her heart…
In this intervening time since that hospitalization, we have been working on ways to get her physically better and more able, using techniques learned from the stays in the physical rehab facility. We cannot afford a stay at such a facility; not at $200/day, and needing to be there for probably three weeks. We are outside the window for Medicare to pick it up: you have to have been ‘out’ for three months for them to pick up the bill for 100 days of stay.
But we are beginning to celebrate small improvements: she has been able to walk (with the walker) to the bathroom from the bed, and then walk from there to the top of the steps, where she can rest a couple minutes, then carefully make her way down. We’re working on getting her strength back to get into bed independently; this small accomplishment will go a long way toward making things better around the house. Although I must add a footnote that this morning she is not doing as well. It could be that the exercise is catching up with her, but she is not having a good day.
Meanwhile, I have quotes on a stair chair, just to help her make those two little steps… The $5000 price tag gives us pause.
And there have been a couple of bright spots; one was just a couple nights ago: I went outside in a very light drizzle to read and do devotions, when the drizzle began to pick up a little bit. The result was a profundity of calming, quiet, gentle white noise; it was a physical hand on the shoulder, sinking into your spirit and bringing a sense of deep peace. Yeah I got a little wet, and Dara was more than ready to go in, but it was worth it to just sit there, listen, and take in the minor miracle of a very light rain.
We go to our first visit to Palliative Care on Monday. This one has to be a joint visit; I’m taking some of the precious little leave I have left from work to do it. (A nurse gave us a good definition: ‘This is where we stop trying to fix you, and start seeing what we can do to meet you where you are in your life and to help you live your best life.’)
I humbly ask that if you happen to find yourself in front of our Creator, that perhaps you could mention us, if we come to mind.
May we get this figured out, this time. Lord, we cry out to you for the solution. This pain is stealing our lives. I know you don’t give us too heavy of a burden to bear, but do you have to get so awfully close…?