I hate when life throws you a curveball. Last Thursday was Mom’s 85th birthday. If she hadn’t taken a header on the 23rd she would have been in remarkable shape for her birthday. Normally when someone falls and breaks their hip, they aren’t sure what happened, which brings in the dichotomy of did they fall and break their hip or did the hip break and they fell? Not Mom. She was doing something she shouldn’t have been doing, trying to slip between the sofa and the coffee table and stepped on her own foot and went down. She was absolutely fine until that moment. She tottered down to the local store with her shopping cart and picked up little things she needed. She did her own laundry. She was just fine. Then everything changed.
It was a very bad break. And it’s been a very rough three weeks. She’s had two more adventures back to Kaiser with atrial fibrillation and rapid heart rate. I am not surprised by this because her body is under a tremendous amount of stress. The body is stressed when there is a trauma to it. In her case there has been two. The break and the surgery. Old folks have a tough time with changes in scenery. My mother hasn’t spent a night outside of her condo since the day they moved in five years ago. She spent a week at Kaiser, ten days at the Skilled Nursing Facility, two days at my house and finally her own house. That’s stressful for an old girl. She’s been home for four nighst now and she’s much better. She’s going to need a little more help than she needed before, but her recovery has been remarkable.
Duke was extremely glad to see her. It was very cute to see this old dog doing such a happy dance.
The thing that has been sending me to the moon is the bullshit answers we get from Kaiser. Never anything substantial or useful. Every phone call from them is preceded by the sentence “The co-pay on this is____” I really want to punch one of them in the face. I should start every Kaiser conversation with “If you say the word “co-pay” I am going to punch you in the face” and see if they can form a sentence without that phrase. Then when you actually ask them for real answers to what’s going on you get a bunch of double talk and shrugged shoulders. That pisses me off.
Friday night she went back to Kaiser in another ambulance with her ticker doing the rumba, not that it runs in the family or anything. She doesn’t remember three of the other four ambulance rides. She got the same team that originally brought her in. They ran an EKG at her house and Kaiser said “take her” and they did. We got to Kaiser and while my mom is feisty anyway, she was particularly feisty on Friday night. We’d delivered her now very late Christmas presents and her 85th birthday presents and a cake. She’d had a couple of scotches and she wasn’t in the mood for their bullshit. The last two trips to the Kaiser ER had taken 5 1/2 hours each. Mine ended at 1am when they finally checked her in with a broken hip. The Brother’s ended in daylight after they left a heart patient in the hallway connected to nothing. I know we all watch too many medical shows but it seems to me that a heart patient who came in on an ambulance should have been hooked up to something. Something tells me this is not the last of that little complaint.
We arrived at the changing of the shift so the evening shift was getting off and she was assigned to a night shift doctor. After 45 minutes of waiting she’d had enough and was pushing the button for the nurse who was giving her a bullshit answer. I had gotten up at 4:15 that morning so by 12:30am, I’m not very pretty, by any stretch of the imagination. I was threatening to do chair races in the hallway until they paid attention to us. Even the perennially even tempered Auntie was getting her cranky pants on. As far as I was concerned that was permission to run amok. In comes the Doctor. He looks like a reject from Grey’s Anatomy. He’s the guy that they ran out. He paces back and forth around the old woman a few times only adding to our aggravation. He basically says “There is nothing wrong with you, you are an old lady and shit happens. Go home.” But I kind of want to punch him in the face. A lot. The old woman is not happy and Auntie has mouthed her opinion to me, calling him a jackass. After my mother questions him a couple of more times he finally gives her some criteria for coming in and some things that might avoid a ride in the ambulance and hours at Kaiser. We’re all aggravated but they are releasing her so I will get to go home after being up for 22 hours straight. As far as I’m concerned it’s a bridge we’ll cross on Monday. All I can think of is this.
In retrospect he was probably right. Tim Daly would not have liked his delivery. This morning she’s making an appointment with a cardiologist but I don’t think it’s any big deal at this point. My theory is the best doctors have the worst bedside manner. I think that was this guy’s problem. And the Chief would have fired him from Seattle Grace.
The second thing I realized was that Kaiser emergency isn’t a real emergency. It’s more of an urgent care. Three trips and we didn’t see one car wreck, one fight, one knifing, one gunshot, one bloody mess come in. That’s because that stuff goes to John Muir’s trauma center up the street. Kaiser’s ER is full of old people with fluttering hearts, broken hips and strokes. It’s full of dehydrated kids with the flu and pregnant ladies. That’s it. They don’t do the hard stuff there. So leaving an old lady with a fluttering heart in the hallway is kind of…well douche.
I just think the health care bill did not go far enough. It was hijacked by special interests like everything else. If it had gone far enough the insurance companies would be out of the health care business. Their job would be to mitigate the government’s loss on catastrophic cases only. We wouldn’t be told we had to buy insurance, we’d have an additional tax and get all the care we needed. Our healthcare should have been modeled after the Canadians or the Germans. The fact that the Germans have given us the Mercedes and the BMW should make us wonder what they are doing right that we could learn from them. Not to sneer at them because they are “European”. That’s just the stupidity of the right wing nut media.
Since I have been in and out of hospitals for the last three weeks I’ve seen a lot more television than I have seen in the last four years. What got me was this commercial.
We’ve seen plenty like it, but the fact that a company makes money from selling a product that makes you feel better after you go out and eat a bunch of crap that’s going to ultimately kill you, well that’s just a little douche.