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HOUSE RULE"  If you can't be kind, begone.

If you don't think this is a suitable topic for a diary, feel free not to read it.  If you think I am behaving like the perfect wife, completely in control, always reasonable, never, ever angry, then you're being unrealistic and you probably have never lost one spouse and are suddenly faced with real possibility of losing another When my first husband died, I anted to be Jackie Kennedy, reserved and stoic in my grief, a model of poise and grace under pressure.  Until  a friend of mine pointed out thst she was likely on Valium or something similar--and she probably sobbed her heart when the camera was off.

And if you haven't been in this position , you are comment in   ignorance, because nobody knows they'll react until they are. It isn't the same as losing a parent. I've buried both of mine.  It is a major health crisis right out of the blue. It is devastating and terrifying and utterly unexpected.

I called the doctor yesterday. He gave ne a snall amount Valium with several refills.  Good guy, and he didn't fail to make the twin diagnoses of the need for bypass and diabetes because Ben was asymptomatic for both.  He'd checked his hear back in the fall for a touch of of a cold.  That chest pain was the first real symptom.

I let MiL clean. It made her happy. It was just easier and once she got to do laundfy and change the litter, she was much more congenial

I went to see him this morning. I have been feeling very shut out, like MiL is welcome sight but I am being sent home.  Actually what I observed today is that Ben is having real breathing difficulties, from sinus and the surgery. He is pretty much unhappy with anyone and I heard him yell at her today. She doesn't have much of a personality except for superior attitude complete-talking Southern drawl. If I had to deal with her. I'd be pissed off at the world too.

What I learned was very reassuring. I've felt like he didn't want me around, but he was just fine with MiL.  Turns out that isn't true. He s in a lot of pain (another thing she didn't tell me) and he is cranky x3 with everyone, including her.  His anger isn't just directed at me (hey, I am safe; he knows I'll cry by myself and forgive him). What I don't understand is why she painted a rosier picture of his behavior, leaving me trying to figure out that the hell I as doing wrong (yes, I made my displeasure known on Wed. to the receptionist; I saw her today doing absolutely nothing, restrained the urge to flip her off, and kept walking, all the while fantasizing about suitable fates for her). I can handle impersonal  anger and pissed-offness, but I was wondering if all this was having a negative effect on our relationship, because  the way MiL talked, it sounded like he enjoyed her company but didn't want me around.

The next big step is  when he comes home or whether he goes to rehab.  I told Faye and him flat-out that if it comes to rehab, I and only will make the decision--and they damned well better give me nore than a couple of hours notice. If I hadn't stated googling them, and accepted the very pretty facility near Faye's---turns out it's one of the 57 worst homes in the country.  Faye chirpld that she'd heard they
d improved greatly. I tol her that I wouldn't send my worst enemy ther because the violations weren't just not-so hot food or the occasional clog-up of patients at the nurse's station--they were unintended bedsore, unanswered call buttons and the like--stuff that can get you dead. I asked her if she knew how to select a rehab facility.  SHe said no./ I told her that i did, because I can check the inspection reports with  the State of GA for problems and also google for complaints against them.  If I hadn't taken control, they'd have sent him to cess pool--and so would Faye, because it's new and looks pretty on the outside.  She didn't t even know you could check out inspection reports and google for complaints (she is computer illiterate). So THAT decision is left to me to make if necessary.

The Valium helped me sleep, soothed the night terrors, controlled the back spasms and took the edge of my fears and made them bearable.  I ate dinner at 6 tonight instead of waiting till, oh, 9pm.  The problem is that I really am not hungry and have no interest in cooking. Thank Goddess for some decent frozen Italian meals.

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Comment Preferences

  •  very best wishes (12+ / 0-)

    for you and your husband at this difficult time.

    "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

    by esquimaux on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 05:51:28 PM PST

  •  Things are sounding passably better. (10+ / 0-)

    I wish you didn't have to interact with your MiL so much, but then I guess you do too.

    Better better better.

    Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

    by Bob Love on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 05:55:26 PM PST

    •  Under normal circumstances I like her. (11+ / 0-)

      SHe's passive aggressive at times, but she means well.  Problem is, she doesn't understand either of uis--everyone else stayed in GA and has lived no more than 30 minutes away from where they grew up. Ben has visited very country in Western Europe, Japan, Egypt, Morocco. Turkey, Saudi, and Israel--and Russia. He's a Wiccan in a fmaily of devout Christians. Ge gates the South and loved ME and MA.

      I don't think she meant to make me feelk kike  he didn't want to see me by failing to tell me that he's pissed at reality--it's her philosophy o f "pretend nothing bad is happening.  Sadly I can't think happy thoughts and I am all out of pixier dust, and unlike Wendy, I don't sew on shadows.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 06:19:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm glad that you studied up on the nursing home (13+ / 0-)

    We learned a lot about them when my bro in law was going thru that system and my mom followed. By the time we were done I felt like I had an advanced degree in those damn things.

    I have some advice for you if you want it. I know that you are just about done in, but there are some things that you have to be on top of.

    First, hospitals have a bad habit of just calling you up out of the blue and informing you that your loved one is being released and you need either come get them or make arrangements. It happened to me more times than I can count, you need to have a plan in place.

    Nursing homes cost a boatload. The average cost of Nursing Homes in Georgia is $173 per day. Do you have ins. that will cover some of this and for how long? Medicare covers for 10 days, then a percentage for 20 more then a smaller amount until you reach 100 days.

    If you are in a skilled nursing facility (nursing home or hospital) and then leave Medicare will not cover you in any SNF for the next 60 days. That was the rule when I was dealing with mom and I don't know if it's changed. The reason is to keep people from staying for the covered period of time, leaving for a couple days and starting it all over again.

    My mom was in one home for 99 days, I went in and forcibly took her out because I felt they were bleeding money from her. Exactly 61 days later her leg broke. If I hadn't done that she would have had no coverage.

    During that time I felt like I had entered a different world with all kinds of crazy rules. I learned all kinds of tricks and ways to cope.

    {{{irishwitch}}} if you want to ask me anything or want to hear my other bits of experience please kosmail me. I would be happy to answer. I'm pulling for you guys.

    And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

    by high uintas on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 06:01:07 PM PST

    •  Nursing homes for rehab (11+ / 0-)

      I worked in the office of a few nursing homes, so please don't mind if I correct a few things about them and Medicare. On a first admission, provided the patient meets Medicare requirements for a stay - three nights in acute hospital and the need of continuing 24-hour skilled care (IV meds, rehab, etc), Medicare itself will pay in full for 20 days. (Please note, many Medicare Advantage plans are different than M-Care itself.) For days 21-100, M-Care pays all but a daily co-pay, which is $152 in 2014.

      After discharge, if, within 30 days, a person needs to be readmitted to a nursing facility for the same reason they were there before, they can be readmitted without the 3-night hospital stay, as long as they have not used their full allowance of 100 days.

      Days 31-60 after discharge, provided not all 100 days have been used yet, a person may again be admitted to a nursing facility for skilled care if needed, but they must have the 3-night stay in a hospital first. M-Care will only pay for the balance of days between what was already used and 100, and from day one, the daily co-pay will apply.

      The 100 days resets after what M-Care calls "60 days of wellness," meaning the person has no inpatient days in either a hospital or any other inpatient care center for 60 consecutive days.

      Credentialed physicians at the nursing facility will bill M-Care part B, which will also have co-pays. Many M-Care supplemental policies will pay the co-pays for Part A (hospital) and Part B (physician, outpatient therapy, in-home therapy, durable medical equipment, etc.) By law, supplemental policies are not available to those who have Medicare Advantage policies.

      •  Thank you for the corrections (6+ / 0-)

        It's been a few years and I knew I wasn't remembering exactly how it was, also as I said things do change.

        We had two people in Skilled Care at the same time, my bro in law who had way too many strokes and my mother who started with a broken hip and ended up with having both hips replaced twice and the broken leg.

        It was chaos for our family.

        As to costs, at the time that I ended up taking my mother out we were paying from pocket $109 daily. When her leg broke (the rod of the artificial hip went thru it) we were first told that they wouldn't even admit mom to rehab till we proved she had been out 61 days.

        We never had a problem getting transport to the nursing home, but if we chose to bring mom home it was on us and we never got advanced warning. Not even a hint.

        The worst time we had involved a doctor who had done a bad hip replacement. It was not in socket and her rehab guys caught it. The doctor admitted mom into our local hosp. and then the next day called me and told me that he was sending her home that morning and would arrange for a hospital bed with traction to stretch her leg out.

        O hell no. We threatened the hospital with a "Notice of Non Payment" and with the state's division of Senior Services and got her transferred to good hospital in SLC. Meanwhile the doctor skipped town. That one was the start of the 99 day stay.

        Again, we were also dealing with my BIL and different facilities. Our issues there were altogether different.

        And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

        by high uintas on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 06:54:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What a lot on your plate at one time! (10+ / 0-)

          I love this -

          O hell no
          and wish more people knew they can, and often should, say it. Good for you!

          I posted the M-Care info because too many people who work in nursing facilities don't really have a good picture, so I try (when the opportunity arises) to spread the info and the power behind it - as did you - and I thank you for bringing it up.

          •  O hell no! Works when you're not on medicare (9+ / 0-)

            either. Chris wanted out of the hospital really bad - I get that. Hospital said he can't get out until a home bed was installed. They ordered the home bed and it was literally being installed on 11/4 at 4:30pm. Chris called me and said that the hospital wanted him out today! Thankfully, when I was in town buying a commode, in a panic early in the day, the gal at the store told me - if YOU ARE NOT READY for him to come home - you tell the hospital to shove it!

            I had no bedding. They deliver a home bed - you get a bed! no sheets no nothing - and btw - they are twin XL. So when Chris called - I was like ya know what, it's 5pm - it's dark - The guy is still here putting the bed together! - I am not driving over to Walnut Creek in the dark, bringing you home over Kirker Pass tonight. I will come get you in the morning! Oh he wasn't happy.

            He called me a little later (remember, he's still on good drugs!) Ok, this is a cluster fuck and I'll let them fight it out amongst themselves. Then he called a bit later and said - 8:00am tomorrow. I severely mis-under-estimated traffic going to Walnut Creek at that hour. It was 2 hours getting over there for a drive that had been taking between 30-45 minutes. At any rate - I got there at 9am. We didn't leave the hospital until 10:30am!

            So can you imagine if I had driven over there at 5pm? We probably wouldn't have even left the hospital until 8-9pm! Then driving Kirker Pass and then out into the sticks of Sherman Island! My car is 10 years old. What if we had broken down? Anyway - Chris finally realized that it was a bad idea to leave on 11/4 and make that drive at night. Especially after he spent a rather painful hour riding home.

            if a habitat is flooded, the improvement for target fishes increases by an infinite percentage...because a habitat suitability index that is even a tiny fraction of 1 is still infinitely higher than zero, which is the suitability of dry land to fishes.

            by mrsgoo on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 11:00:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  We're not eligible for Medicare-- (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FloridaSNMOM, chimene

              we have Tricare Prime, no extra insurance.

              And this very same hospital KNEW Dad had Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and was petty much out of his head on the drugs and I was his next of kin. But why let a small fact like THAT spoil it?  They called me at 11pm, and they told me I had two hours before the ambulance arrived to transport--yup two whole hours.  Luckily I read very quickly and know how to research pretty much naything (librarians are the gatekeepers and the generalists).
              old me to decide, I called her back and informed her that the top of her list  place was one of the 57 worst ones in the country, she informed she couldn
              t make a recommendation.

              BULLSHIT! They SHOULD at lest be aware of seriously bad conditions on the licensing agency's report. Personally I think she just didn't want to check out the reports. SHe might actually have HELPED somebody then.

              The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

              by irishwitch on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 02:21:44 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  P.S. (5+ / 0-)

          I forgot about this part:

          We never had a problem getting transport to the nursing home, but if we chose to bring mom home it was on us and we never got advanced warning. Not even a hint.
          M-Care requires a 48-hour written notice of discharge from a nursing facility. (My experience ends there, so I cannot say what is required of acute hospitals.) Sometimes the notice is given to the patient/resident, but they fail to also notify the family. I am sure they sometimes fail to provide the notice at all. M-Care, state and federal regulations require they provide assistance with discharge planning.

          Enough complaints to any of those agencies, someone will sit up and take notice.

          •  Complaints matter (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FloridaSNMOM, AJayne

            I never had a problem with no notice from a nursing care facility, it was always hospitals. It happened with my BIL just as it did w/mom, a call in the morning saying "release today, come and get 'em!".

            We learned about the notice of non payment from the senior service people. It puts Medicare on notice that something is wrong and they can shut down all payments to the hospital until they investigate. That gets people's attention quick.

            And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

            by high uintas on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 11:19:19 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, and one more thing (11+ / 0-)

      With Medicare, the nursing facility is to provide whatever the patient (they call them "residents") needs, including food, medication, therapies, personal care needs (shampoo, soap, etc,) transportation to those physicians appointments that are related to the condition for which they were admitted, etc.

      If anyone in a nursing facility says the patient or a family member needs to provide those things, please report that to M-Care - it is considered fraudulent.

  •  Thank you for letting us know (9+ / 0-)

    are doing. I continue to send my thoughts up to Gwinnett County hoping for the best for you both.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 06:05:56 PM PST

  •  You sound so much better! (9+ / 0-)

    I am very pleased to "hear" so much calmness in your voice. Thank you for keeping us updated.

    Good thoughts on the way to all of you. (I figure MiL can use some, too...)

  •  I just plonked some info about Drixoral substitute (7+ / 0-)

    s in a comment in the LAST diary, oy!

    see here ; hope something in there is of assistance!

    GOOD LUCK with getting the lines of communication with the hospital staff sorted, for your sake AND Ben's.... Do you YET have any idea why the Nursing staff are treating MiL like the "civilian in charge", instead of YOU? that's just so weird. maybe a case of one Southron belle (nurse Ratched) connecting with another (MiL)?

    ((((((((((irishwitch, pooties-at-home, Ben)))))))))))))

    "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

    by chimene on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 07:15:37 PM PST

    •  I thought that was weird too (7+ / 0-)
      Do you YET have any idea why the Nursing staff are treating MiL like the "civilian in charge", instead of YOU?
       As his spouse you are his nearest relative and you have the authority to make decisions about his care if he is not able.  I love my sons dearly, and I'm bossy. I'm sure if one of them were in the hospital I could not restrain myself from giving advice to my daughter-in-law. But I would know that the final decision was up to her.

      I have an idea why your mother-in-law represented her time with Ben as more positive than it really was.  I say this not as some sort of advice but more as an anthropological explanation - make of it what you will: she sounds like she likes to put a rosy spin on everything.  She wants your husband to just "forget" past traumas. Look forward, not back. So when she is the recipient of anger or crankiness, she just "doesn't worry her pretty little head" about it. I watched my MiL do the same with her husband's alcoholic behavior when, for instance, he would ruin Christmas dinner by knocking the turkey on the floor.  Oh, she would titter, he's such a card! It set my teeth on edge.

      I wish there were something I could do to lighten your load. You don't know me, so I don't know how much my words can do for you (that's why I haven't commented on your diaries about this before. I didn't want to cause more stress by saying something you might misinterpret since we don't have a history. Fear, grief and lack of sleep can play havoc with perceptions). I just hope you can take strength from knowing that you have way more friends than you know, supporting you from afar.

      The past 50 years we: -Ended Jim Crow. -Enacted the Voting Rights Act. -Attained reproductive rights (contraceptive & abortion). -Moved toward pay equity. Republicans want to take our country back. I WON'T GO BACK!

      by petesmom on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 08:57:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When my other half was in the hospital (4+ / 0-)

        and his mother was coming down, I made sure I talked to nursing staff and his doctor first. This was to make sure they knew I had medical responsibility per his living will if anything happened that he couldn't make decisions and NOT his mom. His mom has no real idea what his wishes are and would just run rough shod over them if she did. It's just how she is. If he doesn't have a living will, you may want to get one written up, just in case. That way even though legally because you're married you're supposed to be in charge, the living will is another layer of protection against them trying to take over.

        It also gives the hospital staff another legal reason to tell the MIL to butt out. "We can't talk about this with you, we have to talk to his medical surrogate."

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:43:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is a long-standing issue with MiL (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloridaSNMOM, chimene, NinetyWt

        She KNOWS, and will admit it to us, that the horrible neices are just that. But she won't say one word to them no matter how badly they behave--especially to us. Ben and I finally concluded that they, ghastly though hey are, ae more important to her than he is. The worst of the two is pregnant again. They have babies (well one does) and that's her bottom line.  We chose not to have kids, and the family doesn't get why (like maybe growing up in an abusive home might make you a less than competent parent--and their track record with offspring precisely terrific).

        Certainly the stress levels and exhaustion don't help. But this is how she is: pretend it never happened and I won't have to deal with it.  That's standard modus operandi for her.

        I also think she is refusing to acknowledge just  how close to death her son came.  Because she never acted concerned.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 02:29:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds like things are progressing, if slowly. (8+ / 0-)

    Glad you were finally able to sleep a little. Sleep can work wonders when stress is so high.

    Take care, please, Irishwitch. Especially of yourself. You're going to need the energy and we want to keep seeing your updates. That means being kind to yourself as well.

  •  ((((((Irishwitch))))) (7+ / 0-)

    Amor vincit omnia =) Love conquers all, and you and Ben have it.


    "I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." -Susan B. Anthony

    by BadKitties on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 09:15:32 PM PST

  •  Sounds like progress. (7+ / 0-)

    My aunt kept painting a rosy picture for my siblings and me about my mom when she was dying of breast cancer.  Her reasons had to do with us thinking only positive thoughts, but she took all our power away and we were just young adults who believed her. Your MiL is still making up for the past and trying to keep as much control as she can. I know you'll take it back.

    You do make the decisions here.

    More blessings to you, irishwitch.

    (((((irishwitch and Ben)))))

    ps -- check my last comment in yesterday's diary; it's a response to yours.


    Remember. Bring them home. ● And he reminds me that we are playing a long game here … and that change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once -- Michelle Obama.

    by edsbrooklyn on Fri Jan 24, 2014 at 10:15:55 PM PST

  •  Rehab facilities (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chacounne, chimene

    Make sure when you check the reviews you don't just check on nursing staff complaints. Search separately for the therapy department. Sometimes they contract out therapy, or there's problems with whomever they have coming in 'on call' if they're shorthanded, etc. Also when you've narrowed it down, go tour the facilities. Make sure you check the PT and OT departments as well as everywhere else (don't go on a weekend if you can help it, so you can see the full therapy staff in action). Talk to residents and family members there as well. There are always a few who will complain about everything no matter what, but if you talk to several different people you'll get a good overall feel for the place.

    A good therapy department should be clean, there shouldn't be charts laying out unsupervised, and there should be a variety of activities going on (unless you're there over resident's lunch or something). There should be both group and individual therapy in progress much of the time and not just people left alone using 'gym' equipment. Ask staff about common restrictions after the type of surgery your husband had, and what a typical therapy program would look like. Keep in mind that they will do an individual evaluation and his therapy may be slightly different from the 'standard'. He should have both Occupational AND Physical therapy.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 07:51:03 AM PST

    •  They didn't give me TIME to visit--I had 2 hours (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      to decide.  I looked at the imspection reports and how bad they were.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 02:33:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ok, but, you need to start researching (0+ / 0-)

        in case Ben needs one this time for a couple of days/weeks. Start doing research now in case, so you can rattle off at least two facilities (in case one has no beds).

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 03:05:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  ((((((((((((((irishwitch and Ben)))))))))))))))))) (4+ / 0-)

    I'm thankful his anger isn't just directed at you, and that it is reassuring to know that.

    I'm so sorry he's in so much pain :(  Are they treating it appropriately ?

    Yes, YOU need to be the one making the decision about whether he comes home right away, or goes to a rehab facility, because you are the only one who knows what you can handle as far as his care goes.

    Excellent that you have the sources of information you need to appropriately investigate the rehab facilities. That information is so important, and that it's public is so important.

    YAY for the helpful medication that is letting you get rest and is easing your pain.

    One step at a time ...

           Much Love, Many Hugs, Strength, and Peace,

    Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

    by Chacounne on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 08:29:36 AM PST

    •  I doubt I get a choice,. frankly,. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, Chacounne, chimene

      They m,ade it for me with Dad, with 2 hours notice.  I was NOT happy.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 02:33:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  ((((((((((((((((irishwitch and Ben)))))))))))))))) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I would start a conversation with the hospital's social worker. Or do they have one ? The patient advocate might also be a good person to speak with about this.

        Explain your situation and that you are looking for a rehab facility should you decide that you won't be able to handle his care at home just yet.

        I know it's tough, Honey ! I really wish I was there to help with the advocacy and research part, to take some of the strain off you.

               Much Love, Many Hugs, Strength and Peace,

        Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

        by Chacounne on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 04:18:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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