Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Mother and Her Child

I haven’t felt like writing or doing anything since my last post a month ago. No house work, no paperwork, no surfing the internet, no answering email, no reading, no yard work - I just want to sit and watch TV. I finally figured out the problem. It is not writer’s block; it is a mother’s love and empathy for her child.  My daughter was in the hospital for almost a week in February. She had severe abdominal pain on Valentine’s Day and went to the emergency room. It happened again four days later and this time she was admitted to the hospital because her white blood cell count was up and they were concerned about appendicitis. After six days of testing, they finally diagnosed her with a physiological digestive problem. “Yea!” we all thought, “something that can be treated with medicine, not surgery!”
One would think that would be the end of it, and she is on her way to recovery! But no, it wasn’t as simple as that! She was ready for discharge around 4:00 o’clock Friday afternoon. However, there was a problem getting her prescriptions. The gastroenterologist (GI doctor) who diagnosed the problem said the admitting physician had to write the prescriptions. The nurses kept calling him but he wouldn’t answer his page. When he finally did, he said he was not at the hospital and not at his office. Hmmm, he didn’t say where he was! The golf course, perhaps? Anyway, he told the nurse to call his office to get the prescriptions. By that time it was 4:55 and his office was no longer answering the phones. Dorothy called the hospital’s Patient Advocate. Then the GI doctor said she could call his office on Monday and get the prescriptions. She then left the hospital, glad to be leaving after six days; but when she called the GI doctor on Monday, his office staff said they did not have any of her records. Another call to the Patient Advocate, several days wait, another attack of severe abdominal pain (which resulted in another day off of work), and she finally got the correct prescriptions! And the medication actually worked to decrease her pain! Finally! Yea, God!
We thought that would be the end of her medical/hospital problems, right? But no! She needed an itemized bill with the diagnosis to apply for secondary hospital indemnity insurance. When she got the discharge summary, it had an inaccurate diagnosis! She is trying a new drug for another problem and it is a drug that is given to Type 2 diabetics. The doctor wrote that she had Type 2 diabetes mellitus! She is only 27 years old, and would have trouble getting health or life insurance with that diagnosis! And the discharge summary was written at 10:30 in the morning – before her final GI tests were completed – by the same emergency room admitting physician who was not available to write her prescriptions that afternoon! Now, I happen to be a registered physical therapist and a certified speech-language pathologist. I know how to take a patient history and read a chart. Evidently this doctor does not! So we have more aggravation and another call to the Patient Advocate, who says she will ask the doctor to review the chart. That was on March 4. Dorothy emailed the patient advocate and just heard back from her yesterday, March 13. She says the diabetes diagnosis will be changed and the GI doctor wrote her correct diagnosis in his consultation report. I’ll believe it when I see it in writing!
At least we are finally on the right track to get the corrections. This surely is the end of the problems! But no! Yesterday she received a letter from her health insurance company. The last two days of her hospitalizations were not approved because they did not receive any records of those days from the hospital! So today I went to the hospital on her behalf and was told that “This happens all the time.” My daughter talked to a representative from her insurance company, who told her the same thing! And we were told that computers and machines would make our lives better! But it still takes a human being to program and input data into a machine! Well, there will be more aggravating steps to go through to get those final documents that we need, but if all the errors get corrected, we will be happy! And thank you, God for the Patient Advocate! She has been so helpful.
I feel much better now after writing all this down. It has been cathartic, like letting off steam, or getting something off my chest! Now I know why I have been procrastinating. I’ve also started projects and not finished them. I cleaned out my closets before Dorothy got sick, and the clothes and items that I want to give to charity are piled up on my living room couch! This drives my obsessive compulsive husband crazy! Now I will pack them up and send them off, and we will have part of our living room back. Then I will go outside and enjoy my garden. But what should I entitle this post? “A Mother’s Anguish” sounds too dramatic. “The Status of Health Care in the USA” is too technical. I’ll just call it “A Mother and Her Child” and all the mothers out there will know what I am talking about. When a mother’s child is hurting, physically, mentally, or emotionally, the mother hurts too!
Pictures show some new “artificial wildlife” in my front yard! Now there’s an oxymoron! We have 4 new plastic flamingos and a baby hummingbird! Although the azalea blossoms are dying out, my potted lavender lantana is blooming beautifully!

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