Posted by: Kate | April 3, 2010

Did I Say a Week?

…because I meant Tuesday.

I’m a little bit overwhelmed by this latest turn of events – it’s because health insurance still makes the world turn, in this particular neck o’ the woods, and they feel that if I’m able to walk down a hallway and exist without any IV access points, then that means I’m about ready to live at home.  I get it; sending me home with a Visiting Nurse and Home Health Aide and various bits and pieces of Durable Medical Equipment (a shower chair, a walker, my good friend the VAC machine… though no dignity, because apparently that remains not just optional but somewhat undesirable in medical settings), that’s all cheaper than having me continue to occupy a bed here.

If anyone here really thought it was dangerously soon for me to go home – and I include myself in that list – then we would find a way to prevent the move.  But, really, there’s not a whole lot I’m getting by being here, by this point, that can’t be met at home with a mix of caregivers, and there exists the possibility that I’ll be able to sleep more than three hours at a stretch and perhaps I’ll be able to take my pain medication in a way that makes sense to me, rather than in the way that is indelibly prescribed in down-to-the-minute and only-in-specifically-high doses.

So, Tuesday it is.  Unless something goes wrong with my bloodwork, a bunch of which was just drawn because why not wait till midnight?  It’s all so much more vampiric that way.  I was able to prove, in PT, that I can climb stairs today, with approximately the speed and grace of a toddler but nowhere near the bliss.  I’d been steadily ticking away at other milestones over the past week, and there reaches a point where the list has exhausted itself and it’s just time.  I’d probably be kicked out on Monday, but my mother’s job is all about assessment of safe placement and care (in her case, with elders, but the knowledge is the same and I’m the only non-elder here) so she knows what questions to ask to make the insurance company nervous and ensure that I remain here as long as necessary to get all of the details addressed before I leave.  Once you leave, somehow that makes it painfully easy for the Insurance Goblins to say, “What?  You need a walker?  No, I don’t remember that, perhaps you’ve had a decline in function since you left.  Wait a week while I review this and then call back.”  No offense to the Insurance Goblins out there, but have you ever worked with you?  There are things that might be harder to do – like convincing a Massachusetts driver to use a turn signal – but not many.

I’m a little anxious about it, but not as much as I could be.  I’m kind of a big proponent of the “You know it’s time when you ask if it’s time” theory, which is certainly not universal but has worked with me in situations like, “Is it time to go to the ER for alcohol poisoning?” “Is it time to go have the baby?” “Is it time to discard all dignity and start wailing in the hallway to try and get some attention?”  Well, it worked in the first two cases, and I think I made the right decision to do it in the third, it’s just that no one listened.  And, now, is it time for me to start sleeping someplace where there are people within a mile that actually care about me?

Yes, I think is is.  Physically I’m still plenty shaky, but I can move slowly and my mother, bless her heart, is still staying with us and will continue to do so for a few more weeks until I’m safely ensconced at home (that is, asking, “Is it time for Mom to go home?”).  When I was in the coma, of course, I wasn’t giving the slightest thought to leaving, and the whole time I was at Mass General Hospital I was ill enough that the idea of staying put didn’t bother me in the least.  Even the first several days here, the level of care I needed was high enough that being home was a vaguely appealing, abstract sort of concept, but not one that seemed applicable to me.  It’s only been in the last few days that my emotional pain – and needs – have started presenting themselves as strong enough to bother considering.

I’m still going to have tomorrow’s “physical therapy session” sitting in a wheelchair outside in the sun, holding my baby, just in case something happens to delay the plans.

But it’s looking suspiciously like I’ll be back home again Tuesday, and once you leave the grounds of a place like this in something other than an ambulance or other medical-type vehicle, they consider you effectively gone and you have to go through all manner of horrible things to get back.

Frankly, if I never see the inside of a place like this again, I would be a happy girl.


  1. Hooray hooray!!! Your text message earlier about made my heart jump out of my chest with joy, I’m so psyched for you. I hope all the possible blechiness of being at home turns out to be nothing, and you are just immersed in all the good family bits.

  2. This is the best news I’ve heard in weeks! I’ll be thinking of you guys tomorrow for your parking lot PT-enjoy!

  3. Oh, HELLS YEAH. This is awesome and incredible.

    ::fist pump::

  4. Yay! Such wonderful news to wake up to.

  5. Woo hoo!!! I’m so, so excited for you!! You mentioned your pain meds, which made me realize that I’ve been so focusd on all the *other* things going on w/ you, I’d forgotten all about your back/spinal issues. How is that doing? Do you have a lot of pain from that? Seems like lying in bed so much wouldn’t feel great after a while.

  6. Whoooooooo hooooooooo!!!!!!!! I’m so happy to read this 1st thing in the morning.

    And-I think my favorite part is that your posts yesterday & today have made me laugh. Your sense of humor has returned with full force. So glad to have you “back”!

  7. I think you’ll recover much quicker at home, in a familiar environment with those you love nearby. (((Hugs)))

  8. Yay!!! And yay for your mom for being such a good advocate for you and help for your family!

  9. I got your text yesterday and nearly flipped out of my skin. I am so excited for you and nervous too. Enjoy cuddling with your baby and Jacob and Emily too. What a wonderful (and super emotional) reunion! BIG HUGS and DANCING AROUND CRAZY-LIKE!

  10. Oh boy! I am so happy for you!!!

  11. Kate I’m so happy to hear this!! I can’t believe it – 3 months down to 3 days. You’re clearly a medical rock star. I understand your hesitancy or cautious optimism about this, but you’re so strong that I think you’ll be fine wherever you are. And with the happiness of your family around you I believe you’ll heal even faster. Hug your mom for me and enjoy you kids – so great…

  12. My goodness, wonderful things happen when I leave the internet alone for an entire 30 hours! Hooray for you! Hooray for holding babies in the sunshine! Hooray for getting the hell out of there!

  13. The phrases “holding my baby” and “safely ensconced at home” make my heart sing with joy for you and your family today! I am sending all the vibes I can for an easy as possible transition to home!

  14. ROCK ON. Get the heck out of there, you will, guaranteed, feel SO MUCH BETTER at home. Yes I am yelling. So happy for you!

  15. The best news I’ve heard in a long time. Yay you. ❤

  16. We join in the revelry! I hope that as I type this you are still basking in the glow of being with your family. 🙂

  17. Excellent new Kate. This will do wonders for your emotional health. I am so happy and thankful for your progress. HUGS

  18. Awesome news!! I’m so happy for you! Many hugs!

  19. Great that you’re going home, I hear you about the concern. My sister just went through recovery at home — she had a shower chair, a special toilet seat, first a walker, then crutches… and she wasn’t allowed to put any weight on one of her hips at all, so she also had a fancy hospital bed. Not being able to do anything by yourself gets old really fast. I wonder if it’s some twisted way of making people speed up their healing or something… or maybe they’re just trying to save money and I’m overthinking it.

    You’ll be home with Isaac and your kids soon. That’s a wonderful thing.

  20. Did you get a PT family visit?!? Happy Easter my dear friend!

  21. I’m all too familiar with how insurance companies rule the world. If you don’t feel like you’re ready, they can’t make you leave, just remember that.

    I just went through this with my Mom when she broke her hip. The insurance companies said she was ready to go home and she fell down again the SAME day she was released and ended up right back in the hospital.

    They’re definitely not looking out for your best interest, they’re looking out for their wallet.

    You probably will do better at home, I’m so happy that you’ll have someone with you to help, but this stuff makes me so angry!

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