While my brother’s fiancé is there at the hospital with him in the thick of things, his next of kin is a bit upset. I am too upset to make any rational decisions. The feelings run deep with me. It’s all I could do to be polite on the phone today to the social worker from the rehabilitation unit where Mike is hospitalized. At least Steve and I have the weekend to sort things out . . .
Very likely Mike will get booted out of the hospital next week and sent to be housed in a nursing home without additional rehabilitation services. His insurance is “Medicaid Pending” and his requiring of 24-hour physical care post discharge, a situation that cannot be met at home for valid reasons, is pushing the hospital to discharge him from their care. I don’t get it. In my 30+ year career in rehabilitation as an occupational therapist, the discharge criteria virtually always hinged on a lack of progress, not the particulars of discharge planning. It’s a new day: a new reality. If you can’t do what the government-driven healthcare system wants you to do then I guess they can wash their hands of you.
Perhaps he will go to a nursing home or perhaps by some miracle the Veterans Administration (VA) will accept him on such short notice. If the decision is the former, he will be fed 3 meals per day, kept clean and dry, and left to sit slumped in an overstretched wheelchair or geri chair in front of an out-of-tune entertainer from the long term care circuit with a pair of maracas shoved into his functional hand. The wailing of the demented residents will woo him to sleep at night as he tosses on his waterproof mattress to get comfortable around the bedsores that no one will find until it is too late for healing. Thickened Pepsi to drink? Not a chance. At least until his fiancé cleans up her make-up from crying long enough to ignore the swale of urine stench long enough to bring it to him. God bless her faithfulness visiting every day through this incredibly stressful ordeal!
Or perhaps it won’t be that bad. Maybe he will get into a VA rehabilitation facility with little red tape and get stronger. Regardless, the hope of at least a few weeks of physical, occupational, and speech therapy has vanished for the time-being. And Michael has no idea yet, what is about to happen to him next week. I left a message for his saint of a fiancé and she has not gotten back to me yet. Maybe she is in as big of SHOCK as I am. Maybe she is exhausted and horrified from touring nursing homes closer to where they lived in the “thumb” area of Michigan. I don’t blame her for taking a little time for herself to sort things out. My heart goes out to Lisa. She has been through so much these past two weeks as her life has changed forever.
As for me, 200 miles to the south and struggling with four hours of seizure attacks multiple times per day, I am overwhelmed with the stress of it all. Just seeing the missing flooring in our bathroom from yet another mold remediation project is enough to stub my toe even when the light is on. Somehow I completed a few errands outside the home this afternoon and made a simple dinner. I talked to a few family members who offered mixed consolation while I was stepping on the elliptical for 20 minutes, phone in hand. Geez! I haven’t used that thing in a few weeks! I must be stressed out. Thank goodness the nightly seizure attack episodes haven’t fully ramped up yet tonight: I needed to talk to you, Gentle Reader! I started to type and there you were. Thanks so much for being here. I can barely speak I am so very upset.
Life goes on despite the drama of the moment. If Steve and I don’t impulsively drive 3 hours north to go to the hospital tomorrow and I’m stable enough, we will attend the 50th wedding anniversary open house of some friends. It will be good to enjoy some Christian fellowship. Then maybe my beloved Steve will start to work on the bathroom floor tile project and I’ll put together the jewelry orders that have been sitting at my work table this past week. Lord willing I’ll continue with the Spring clean-up of our gardens and Steve will mow the grass for the first time this year. Looks like the narcissus will be blooming within a day or two with their yellow-throated happy faces reaching up to soak up the sun. The sunshine will feel good on my broken frame as well and I will enjoy the freshness of the air this time of year. There’s no better hue of green than that of the tender leaves emerging from their Winter slumber: truly lime, truly sublime too. Some call it “horticulture therapy.” Gee, maybe I should go right now poke my finger in the dirt of the violets waiting to fill the self-watering planters I thought I might plant tomorrow . . . I need a fix of something and a shot of tequila is out of the question these days . . .
Please pray for us. This sister bear is hurting more for her brother than anything right now. My beloved Steve has been so loving despite the challenges of my illness, demands of his work, and his other responsibilities. Lisa has got to be struggling as well, balancing work, the care of her teenage son (Alex), and assuming increasing responsibility for Michael’s affairs. She and Michael have known each other almost 7 years. Her 13 year old son has a great relationship with Michael too. Oh Lord, hold us all closely this night. Help us. Show us Your love, mercy, and grace. Guide us with wisdom. If it is Your will, heal my brother from the effects of this devastating stroke. Comfort him as he realizes all that has happened to him and show him hope, be real for him on his bed of sickness. He has reached out to you in his time of need. I am grateful for this and grateful that you are here with us. And thank you for the encouragement we find in Your Word:
16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4)
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.