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Sunday, September 29, 2013

How to Hide a Bag of Pee

When Bob received his first prescription for condom catheters, the medical supply company sent the typical Medicare approved 35 condoms, 2 leg bags and 2 bedside bags. The leg bags strapped to the thigh with latex bands. These worked fine in the chilly winter months, when Bob wore long pants, but I began to worry how this was going to look in the warmer months when he wore shorts.

I mean, who wants to go around in public with a bag of pee strapped to your thigh? Because, truth be told, it is not always convenient or easy to empty it right away. And even empty, this thing is ugly...

The leg bag holder as supplied by Medicare.

So I asked around, first calling the medical supply company, then posting on caregiver forums, but the only solutions out there were "don't wear shorts" or "buy really baggy long shorts like the teenagers wear" or one clever lady gave me instructions on how to sew a cath bag holder that would attach to a belt.

None of these solutions worked for Bob, because I wouldn't dream of making him wear long pants in the hot summer months, nor did I want to see him clad like some teenage boy. And then there is the fact that I am not so clever with a needle and thread.

Finally, I found a working solution and this is what we've been using all summer long:

Bob's new leg bag holder, by CareFix

It's called a "Carebag" and made by a company called CareFix. I found Bob's online at Allegro Medical for around $8.50.  It's simply a stretchy fabric tube that slips over the leg with a pocket for the leg bag to fit into. I know it's not perfect, as you can still see it, but so much better than looking at a clear plastic bag of pee! So far, it's worked for us.

It was only recently, when Bob was in the recovery area of Outpatient Surgery, that one of the nurses there became so utterly thrilled at this Carebag that she called not one, not two, but three different nurses to Bob's bedside to look at his leg bag holder. Then, she brought in the woman who orders medical supplies and showed it to her. She took down the name of company and the name of the product and told me that she was going to look into ordering these for the patients they send home with catheters.

After that incident, I thought I'd share this information here, for those caregivers or cath wearers out there who may be looking for a way to hide a leg bag or an alternative to wearing the insurance paid for one with the uncomfortable straps.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Preparing for Depositions

So yesterday, our attorney met with us to "prepare" us for upcoming depositions. This meeting was not at all what I expected.

I had, of course, done some research on the internet and had run across something like this: "your attorney will meet with you before your deposition, brief you on all the possible questions you may be asked and instruct you on how to properly answer them". I also had watched several attorney-made YouTube instruction videos for personal injury plaintiffs, which informed me that you should answer all questions with the shortest possible answer, and you should be careful not to give out "too much information" as such information can be used against you. One example I remember was this: If you are asked "do you know what time it is?", you're supposed to look at your watch and say "Yes." DO NOT say "Yes, it's 1:00" because that is giving away too much information. Also, that you should pause before answering any question to allow time for your attorney to object to the question. Also, that you should not look at your attorney during the process as that will make you look unsure of your answer. And then there was all sorts of stuff about how the defense will try to trip you up and trick you into saying something incriminating or how they may turn your words around so that it sounds incriminating, or take your words out of context and use them against you, etc. etc.

Now you know why I was worried about this.

Anyway, so our attorney arrives and we first go over the schedule for that day. The defense team will be coming, first, to our house to depose Bob. This will probably last all of about five minutes, once the defense realizes that Bob, with his aphasia, isn't going to be able to answer many questions. Afterward, we will leave Bob at home with Chris and travel to a downtown office where I will be questioned for 2-3 hours.

He said to expect to be asked about three things: Bob's medical condition pre-stroke, the events of the morning of Oct. 21, and Bob's continuing medical needs/care since then.

He told me to just be calm and truthful and friendly. He told me not to worry about the defense lawyer as the "only bully in the room" will be him, our attorney. And he will be my "protector". And even though the defense is calling for this deposition, "we are in the driver's seat".

He said, the main thing he wants to achieve at the deposition is that the defense's lawyer finds us to be an "average American couple" who were struck by this tragedy, which is exactly who we are. So, he tells me, "just be yourself".

And that was it. That was our whole preparation. Like I said, not at all what I expected. And I must admit our attorney is still very confident about the whole thing and that, alone, makes me feel much calmer.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Green Machine & The Leaking Air Conditioner

Last Saturday, Chris came by to sit with Bob so I could do my usual running around, which means running to pharmacies to track down Bob's pain patches, and then to the bank, gas station, grocery store and I also wanted to stop by another store to look for some clothes as I'm supposed to dress "business casual" for this deposition and for the last three years I've been living "casual casual" and when I went to my closet to see what I had for "business casual" nothing fit because GA! I've gained weight. And how the hell did that happen?

So I get to the pharmacy and when I come out, The Green Machine starts giving me trouble. She just won't start. Now, she has given me this trouble before, but usually it's just a fluke and then she magically cures herself and off we go. But here I am in the parking lot of the pharmacy with ten thousand things to do and I'm trying to start her and all she does is roo roo roo, then clunk. Finally, I get her going, and head to the next place, which is a Walmart, and I try on some clothes, but everything looks terrible and good grief, when did I get so fat? and old? and why do they have such bright darn lights in these fitting rooms that make everyone look older and fatter and I leave and again The Green Machine goes roo rooo roooo, clunk. But she starts on the second try.

So I go to another store and spend a half hour trying on some clothes, which all look horrible, and by  now I'm freaking out because I'm not going to have a thing to wear for the deposition and will probably have to go there buck naked and I leave that store empty handed, get in The Green Machine who goes rooo rooo roooooo, roooooooo, clunk. After trying her the fourth time, and she still won't start, I break down in the car and just cry, because how the hell am I going to get home? Not to mention get back to the pharmacy to pick up Bob's patches and what about the grocery store and bank and the gas station? And I just cry my eyes out because right then and there I hate my life, I hate myself and I especially hate this darn car!

On the sixth or seventh try -- I lost count, finally The Green Machines goes vrooom! and she starts and I tell you there is not a better sound in the world than a car starting after she won't start six or seven times. And I figure I better head home before I get stranded somewhere, but first I go the pharmacy and thank god for drive-up windows and pick up Bob's pain patches. And I make it home. But I am shook up and frazzled.

So I call Bubba, our mechanic, and leave message on his answering machine. And that's when I notice that the window air conditioner is leaking water inside the house.

So I call a handyman guy I used before who had told me that he once worked for an A/C service and knows how to fix air conditioners, and I get his message machine and I leave a message. Then I call the lawn guy because our grass needs to be cut. And all of this was on Saturday.

On Sunday morning, the only one who had got back to me was the lawn guy. On Sunday night, Bubba calls and says he can take The Green Machine in on Wednesday but it sounds like an electrical problem and it might take a few days to figure it out. But if I can get it to him on Wednesday morning, he can drive me back home. But I still haven't heard from the handyman. So I call him back and leave another message.

Meanwhile, the air conditioner is really leaking and paint is bubbling up on the plaster wall. I've got towels shoved under it and a bucket to catch the water under that. I figure something has to be clogged and the water that usually drains outside the house is coming inside. So I go outside and check the drain hole but it seems clear and then I go back inside the house and take the cover of the unit off and I can see the water standing in the drain pan. So I get out one of Bob's feeding tube syringes and with that I syringe out almost 10 ounces of water. Then I spray some of the foam air conditioner cleaner all over the thing and go outside and spray foam up the drain hole and hope this will help. Then I empty the bucket and replace it and put down fresh towels.

By Monday, the handyman has still not called me back. And I'm getting really worried about the plaster wall and things like mold and not to mention the electric outlet on that baseboard. But it's 90 some degrees out and I can't turn the darn thing off because Bob would be just too uncomfortable and it's the only air conditioner we have. And Bob is already miserable complaining about his foot and now he's begging me to "chop it off". Jeepers, he's driving me a up a tree.

So I get out the phone book and call a few places that repair air conditioners, only to find that they won't even touch a window unit. I finally find one place that will come out but they tell me it will cost $79 just to diagnose the problem and they are backed-up on "emergencies" and can't get out to the house for two weeks. And I'm thinking, it's probably just a problem with the drain pan because the unit is cooling and what I really need is a cheaper person to take a look at it, like a handyman, so I call the handyman guy and leave another, more frantic, message. Then I find a handyman listed on craigslist and I call him too and leave a message.

By Tuesday, neither handyman has called me back and that's when I happen to notice the two handymen who were working next door renovating that building. I hadn't seen them in awhile since they finished the project. But there they were. So I went over and asked them if they could help me out and told them I'd be happy to pay them something for their time. And they came over and started taking the air conditioner apart and just got it opened up when their cell phone rang and it was their boss needing them right away, so they put the air conditioner back together and told me they would be over again after 4:00 p.m. At 4:00 p.m., one of the guys shows up and tells me that he doesn't think they can do it, but they have a friend who knows air conditioners and he will be over in the morning between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. to take a look at it. Which is great, except I'm suppose to take The Green Machine to Bubba on Wednesday morning. So I call Bubba to see if I can come earlier, that is, provided I can get the car started! And he says yes, so I call Chris to see if she can come earlier to sit with Bob and she says yes.

Meanwhile, the a/c unit is getting worse and worse, in fact, it sounds like rain in the house. I keep syringing out water with the feeding tube syringe but it seems the water supply is endless. So I get out one of Bob's intermittent catheterization kits and I'm thinking if I can run the catheter up the drain hole outside and attach a feeding tube syringe to the other end, maybe, just maybe, I can pull some more water out of the back of the unit. I tell you, I can get very creative with our medical supplies. But alas, it did not work.

Wednesday morning rolls around and Chris arrives at 8:15 and I tell her that Bob's home draw tech is due at 9:00 and to let him in, he knows what to do. And I tell her that a guy should show up between 9:30 and 10:00 to look at the air conditioner, but hopefully I'll be back by then. So I go out to The Green Machine and say prayer before starting her and she goes roooo rooooooo roooooo roooooo then vroooom! And thank god, she starts. I check the gas gauge because I never did get to the gas station and it says I have half a tank, but when I'm half-way to Bubba's, I look down and gas gauge reads 1/4 tank, and I'm thinking what? because how on earth could I be using so much gas? And I glance down again and now the gauge reads 1/8 tank and I see it slowly sinking all the way down to empty...

But I make it to Bubba's and park the car in his drive and shut off the engine. Bubba comes out and tells me to show him what it's doing. So I start the car back up, and it goes roooo, rooooo, and Bubba shouts TURN IT OFF! Then he tells me to never, never push it to start because that could start an electrical fire under the hood and that could blow your engine up!! Jeepers. And here I've been doing that all this time. So he has me do it again, but not to push it, and of course The Green Machine just goes roo, and he has me shut it off. And a few more tries at this, but The Green Machine just won't start and the problem is that my car is blocking Bubba's car in the driveway, so he tells me to go ahead and push it so we can move it out of the way, so I do, as Bubba watches with a rather horrified look on his face, and The Green Machine goes rooooo rooooo roooooooooooooOOOOO and then VROOOOM!  So I manage to get the car parked on the other side of his house.

Then Bubba drove me home, and I know this post is getting long! so no time to mention that Bubba drives like a bat outta hell and he took the Interstate and I was pretty much scared shitless the whole way. But he does have a pretty cool new Dodge Challenger, which he assures me is "certified safe at 150 mph".

All righty. I made it home, in one piece. The home draw technician arrived, but the air conditioner guy was a total no show. By the afternoon, I go on the internet and google "window a/c repair" and find a local website that actually advertises that they service window units. So I call them up and am transferred to a gal who tells me that they just decided to not service window units this very week, because usually the units are so old, it's cheaper to replace them. I tell her that my unit is only five years old and it's cooling perfectly but it's leaking water in the house. She says she'll have to ask the boss if he wants to do it and call me back. She calls back an hour later and tells me they will send someone out to look at it that afternoon and the service charge is $89.00 but that includes the first hour of labor. So I figured I'd better bite the bullet and pray it won't take more than an hour to fix.

So finally the a/c guy shows up and he takes a look at the unit and tells me first, that it would be cheaper to just buy a new a/c unit and you get a good little 500 BTU for around $200, but I tell him that this one is 12,000 BTU and we need that much to cool this whole house. And he tells me the problem is that it needs a good cleaning, with all the humidity this jelly-like junk forms and clogs up the drain pan and a good cleaning will cost $200 and he will have to remove the unit and take it with him. And I'm like, shit. Because Bob will be uncomfortable in this heat, and I tell him that in so many words. Then he asks if I have some bleach? And something like a turkey baster. I do and I bring him bleach and the feeding tube syringe and he syringes bleach into the drain pan and says that should break up the jelly-like junk and then he says I should spray some coil cleaner on the coils and I say I have coil cleaning spray and I bring him the bottle and he sprays coil cleaner on the coils. And I watch him, thinking this is going to cost $89 and I could've done this myself, if I had known about the bleach thing. He finishes spraying the coils and asks me how much I was told the service charge would be? And I tell him $89. And he tells me, just make it $40. And he tells me that if this doesn't work, to call the shop tomorrow and he'll come out with another guy and they can take the unit out of the window and clean it here on the grass. So I ask him his name and he tells me that he is the owner of the company. Which is why he could give me a discount. And he tells me, "looks like you have your hands full here" meaning Bob. And I tell him about Bob's stroke and turns out his wife had a stroke last year. We talk for awhile, and he leaves and of course the a/c unit starts leaking again. But I take off the cover and syringe out more water and syringe in some more bleach and spray the coils again and it stops leaking.

Then Bubba calls with the good news that it's just the starter and he has replaced that and will bring The Green Machine home. Then he tells me that the u-joint is "going" and the brake pads have "dry rot" plus the gas gauge is no longer working. But I'll worry about that another day.

So the a/c is no longer leaking and The Green Machine is home and tomorrow is Saturday again and Chris will be here so I can finish doing my running.  I do hope things go better next week.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Two New Books for Stroke Survivors & Their Loved Ones

I recently received a message from one of my blog readers, Tom Willet, who is a co-author of two newly published books for stroke survivors and their families. Tom co-authored the books, Stroke: The Road to Recovery and Understanding Stroke, with his father, Dr. F. Douglas Prillaman, who is a stroke survivor himself.

Click here for a delightful glimpse at some sample chapters and more information.

PS: This has been a stress-filled week for me, more on that later! Today, it's off to another darn doctor's appointment, so no time to write. Stay tuned...

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Good Day to Reminisce

It was a cold January night in 1994, when a group of my co-workers from the college where I worked invited me to a basketball game. Now I'm not one much for basketball, but since my divorce, I had made a vow to never decline a social invitation, so I went.  After the game, two of us, Kelly and I, decided to stop off for a drink at a nearby bar.

It was freezing out and the bar was packed, but we managed to find a couple stools toward the end of the room. It was there, after we ordered our drinks, that I recognized a woman who I had once counseled at the women's shelter. I went over to talk to her, while Kelly struck up a conversation with someone else.  Then someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned and it was Kelly, who said, "Don't look now, but there's a gorgeous guy in a tuxedo right behind you."

I did what any red-blooded single/divorced woman does, I spun around and looked. And indeed, there was a gorgeous, tall, blonde guy in a tuxedo, leaning against the wall behind us. I recognized him immediately. I said, "Oh, I know him," and turned back to the bar.

Kelly said, "You do not."

"Sure, he was student."

She said, "No way. Believe me, I would've noticed a guy like that."

"That guy was in Commercial Art. Just graduated last semester. Can't believe you never noticed him."

"You're lying."

"He worked on the school newspaper. The office right next to mine. He used to come to my desk to pick up the office key if it was locked."

She said, "Prove it!" Because she really didn't believe me. Kelly worked in the General Education Department and I worked in Admissions/Counseling. So pretty much every student would have been in our offices at least once. But I did remember this guy, because he was so good looking, and I remember asking the editor of the school paper about him and was told that he was married, so I immediately lost interest. But for the life of me, that night, I could not remember his name.

Anyway, in order to "prove it" to Kelly, I went over to the gorgeous guy leaning against the wall, wearing a tuxedo, and struck up conversation while Kelly watched skeptically from the distance.

Bob's ad in the personal column. 1994
and yes, I saved it, all these years...
I asked him what he had been doing since graduation and he told me that he hadn't found a full-time job but was doing some freelancing. I asked him what was up with the fancy get-up and he told me that he had been an usher at a wedding earlier that day, but got bored at the reception because every one was coupled up, married or with a date, and he was single so he left.  And I thought single, hmmm.... and he told me about a "blind date" he had the night before and how everything had gone terribly wrong. And I said, "Blind date? Don't tell me, you answered one of those personal ads?" and he said, no, in fact it was he that had run a personal ad in the newspaper. And I gave him a hard time about that, because, truthfully, why would a guy so good looking have to advertise for a date? And he told me he was tired of meeting women in bars and wanted a real relationship. And I asked him what his personal ad said and he wouldn't tell me.

Then he handed me his business card and told me to look in tomorrow's newspaper and when I figured out which ad was his ad, give him a call. Then he left. And I stood there, kind of dazed, holding his business card and Kelly came over to me and asked what he had said, and I told her, and she said, well, you gonna call him? And I said, I didn't know because the whole thing was sort of weird and he probably wasn't even interested in me, and she said, don't be silly, he wouldn't have given you his card if he wasn't interested.

So the next day, I got the newspaper and went through all the personals and I found two ads that fit his description, you know, height, blonde hair/blue eyes, but one of those advertised himself as a "professional Catholic" and I'm wasn't even sure what a "professional Catholic" was but I certainly didn't want to date one.  And I almost didn't call him.

Then Kelly called me and asked, "Did you call him?" and when I told her I was too scared, she told me not to be stupid.

So finally, I got the nerve up and dialed the phone. And I had no clue what to say. And I was nervous as all get-out. He answered the phone and I said, "Hello! I'd like to speak to the Handsome DM, 34, 6'3" blonde?"

He didn't say a word. And I thought, jeepers, I have the wrong ad! but I continued reading the ad out loud because, truth be told, I didn't know what else to do. And I got all the way to the "intelligent conversation" when he said, "Is this Julie?"

And I nearly hung up the phone. Because I'm not "Julie" and how many women did he hand his card out to last night???

But I didn't hang up the phone and he laughed when I told him that my name was Diane, because he too had forgotten my name and was too embarrassed to tell me that last night and we talked for over two hours straight and made a date for the following week and the rest, as they say, is history.

Anyway, that was how Bob and I "met" and today is our 19th wedding anniversary and we are not celebrating because Bob is still recovering from surgery. But I am in a reflective mood and it's nice to reminisce....

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Finally, Surgery

X-ray of Bob's foot after first surgery.
And yes, that screw is permanent.
And why does this look like the Dark Ages?
Believe me, when I first saw this, I just couldn't believe it...
OK, maybe it's just me --- but a big ol' screw? yikes
Yesterday, Bob had his second foot surgery and what a relief to have this over with and done. And yes, yesterday was Friday the 13th. Perhaps not the most auspicious day for surgery, but it was the first opening they had available and I snatched it up.

The surgery center was deadly quiet that day... I wonder why? ha! The doctor was the same as the last surgery but we had a different, nicer anesthesiologist who didn't scare me half to death like the last one.

I hate to say, the nurse was another story. When she found out that Bob had to be lifted from the wheelchair to the bed, she blew a head gasket. Told me that we shouldn't even be there and if we ever, ever come back again, I will have to bring Bob there on an ambulance so that paramedics could transfer him from an ambulance stretcher to the bed. Because it's too much work for them to lift him from the wheelchair into bed!

Jeepers. And to think we live right across the street from the place... Like I'm going to pay 200 bucks a pop for an ambulance to drive him across the street, so a total of $400 plus their $250 co-pay, plus whatever they will bill over that--- because it's too much work for them to lift him, and, by the way, they just don't have the right darn equipment....

Then, Bob became very distraught when he found out that the surgeon was only going to straighten his two little toes and not chop them off, as he wanted...

He was inconsolable about that both pre and post-op. And complaining constantly. And glaring at me.

The doctor refused to order any more pain medication, telling me that Bob was on "enough" pain medication all ready. Which also didn't sit well with Bob. Or me, for that matter.

Then, I had to push him home in the pouring rain...

But all in all, the surgery went well. And it's over. And I am glad and exhausted....

Monday, September 9, 2013

Drowning in Paperwork

On Friday, I received a package from our attorney containing over 500 pages of Bob's medical records and was told to "review carefully" for my upcoming deposition.

I just spent the entire weekend reading this stuff... jeepers. How many times do I have relive this?

The deposition is scheduled for Oct. 1.

I must admit, I am a bit nervous. The defense also plans to "depose" Bob, and that should be an interesting affair with his aphasia...

Other than that, surgery is now scheduled for the 13th -- if that urine test comes back clean! And we are off to Pain Management today.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Surgery Cancelled Again

I should have seen this one coming, but I was still hoping the foot surgery could be done on Friday.

But alas, the doctor wants another urine sample after the five day dose of antibiotics.

And all I know is that I am running out of "clean" (unused) cath bags to catch those sterile samples. And I am tired of shooting Bob up with lovenox for no reason, but the doctor said to continue with the lovenox and keep him off warfarin because he didn't see any sense in putting him back on warfarin just to take him off of it again....

Anyway, no surgery on Friday. Bob was in tears at this news.

More sordid details on how this all came about in the previous post.

All I can say is: grrrrr..... 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

More Axes to Wield...

On Friday morning, I talked with the nurse at Bob's primary care doctor's office. She had gotten "some" of the pre-op test results back and was waiting to discuss those results with the doctor before giving me the "go  ahead" to take Bob off the warfarin and start the heparin bridge that weekend.

She said she'd call me back.

By 4:30 p.m., I hadn't heard from her so called the office and was connected to her voice mail. I left a message and told her that I was waiting for her call. I wasn't too concerned, even though it was late in the day on the Friday before the Labor Day Weekend, because I've dealt with this nurse before and she always follows through, even if it is after hours.

By 6:00 p.m., I was getting concerned, because I still had not heard from the nurse and it is so unlike her not to follow through. So I called the doctor's office. Or, I should say, I tried to call the doctor's office but I couldn't get through because our phone was dead.

We have an old fashion land line telephone. So, first I checked the connections in the back of our phone. Then I checked the connections at the phone jack. Everything seemed to be order, but I still had no dial tone. I then got out our "back-up emergency" phone and connected that to the jack. Still no dial tone. Then, I went into my office and found I had no DSL on my computer and the jack going to the modem was also dead.

Anyway, that explains why the nurse didn't call. Because we had no phone service. I wasn't horribly over concerned as I had a "back up" plan to talk with the lab tech on Sunday, and he could tell me the test results, if nothing else.

So I got out my crappy little pre-paid minutes Tracfone, which I use for emergencies and also take with me when I am out of the house and Bob is with a caregiver, so that I can be contacted if there is any problem. I call the phone company.

The phone company runs some kind of test on the line and tells me that it looks like it's a problem on the inside of the house and that it would be my responsibility to fix because I haven't purchased the "maintenance plan" unless I wanted to hire their overpriced service. I tell the customer representative that it would be weird if the problem was in the house, because both phone jacks are dead, and those jacks are in two different rooms and have separate phone lines running to the outside box. So the representative tells me to go outside and open the phone company's box and test the phone jack in the box. Which I do and there is no dial tone there either.

So the phone company rep says it looks like it's a problem outside the house, and they will send a service tech out, but unfortunately it is the Friday before the Labor Day Weekend and they will not be able to get out to our house until Tuesday.

And I'm thinking, what???!! Tuesday? You've got to be kidding!  I tell the rep that I cannot deal with no phone, NO INTERNET until Tuesday, and they must have someone working on the weekend-- And she (the rep) tells me that they only have a "skeleton crew" because of the holiday and that we are NOT "high priority". So I tell her that my husband is severely disabled and, in fact, this stupid phone service cut off right when I was waiting for a call from his doctor's office-- And she asks me what phone am I calling her on? I tell her it's my crappy little Tracfone, and she says she can "call forward" our regular number to my Tracfone if I want her too. So I tell her to do it. Even though this means that I will have to pay for every call we get. I give her the number. And she says that "maybe" the skeleton crew will get to me this weekend, depending on how busy they are with, you know, higher priority customers. By now, I'm rather fuming, and I have a funny feeling, so I ask her to please repeat the phone number that she's call forwarding our landline to, and she reads it to me, and, of course, it's the wrong number.  So I tell her the right number and have her repeat it back. Then she asks if there is anything else she can do for me today, and I tell her to please get one of those skeleton crews out here this weekend. She says, she'll try, but can't guarantee it.

So, after I get off the phone with the phone company, I decide to call the doctor's office, on the off-chance that anyone is still there. But I get their answering service, and I explain to them that I was waiting for a call from the nurse when something happened to our phone service. She says she can't page a nurse, but she can page the doctor on call, which is not Bob's primary care, but The Big Cheese doctor (the one who owns the clinic) and he might be able to help me. So I'm thinking well, The Big Cheese should have access to patient records and he can look and see if the nurse left any notes on Bob's chart. So, I have her page The Cheese and, of course, when he finally calls me I am in the bathroom, so miss his call. I get his voice mail which basically says "This is The Big Cheese, call me back" but I can't call him back because his phone has come up as "private" on the Tracfone, so I call the answering service back and explain to them that I missed the darn call and she says she'll page The Cheese again. And I wait.

Finally, at 10:30 p.m., The Cheese calls and when I explain the whole situation to him, he tells me just to stop the warfarin on Sunday and start the lovenox on Monday as planned and not to worry about it.... And I don't believe he even looked anything up on Bob's chart....

Saturday rolls around and I am going nuts without my computer (though I am getting our calls forwarded and creditors are now eating up my Tracfone minutes). I don't see any "skeletons" from the "skeleton crew" in our yard, so I call the phone company for a status update and the automated message tells me that we are scheduled for service on Wednesday NOT Tuesday. Which really ticks me off, so I get a hold of an actual representative and ask her why we are scheduled for Wednesday and not Tuesday and I am told, once again, that we are NOT high priority and so we've been shifted to Wednesday because of the holiday backlog. By now, I am steaming, and I tell her that my husband is disabled and we need our phone service, and she tells me that she didn't know my husband was disabled and she will push us back up to Tuesday service as a "medical priority". And I ask about the "skeleton crew" and she says she's very sorry but the skeletons are too busy this weekend, and someone will be here on Tuesday.

On Sunday, I call the lab tech and get his answering service and leave a message reminding him to contact me. This is exactly what the lab tech told me to do. By Sunday afternoon, the lab tech still has not called me back so I call again and leave another message. And another message. And he never calls back.

So Sunday night, I take Bob off the warfarin. And on Monday I start the lovenox.

This morning, the phone company serviceman arrives and finds that  "Copper thieves" had cut our phone line down and stolen it for scrap.

Then, also this morning,  the Walgreens delivery guy shows up with a bottle of antibiotics. One that had been sitting at the store since Friday when the primary care doctor called it in, but Walgreens never bothered to notify me about it.

So I call the nurse and ask her what's up with this antibiotic? She says that she tried to call me on Friday but kept getting a busy signal, that the doctor had ordered a five day antibiotic so that Bob could still have his surgery on Friday, but that prescription should have been started on Saturday and she couldn't believe that Walgreens didn't call and inform us of a prescription ready to be picked up.

So it comes down to: the nurse couldn't call and inform me of the doctor's order because a copper thief cut down our phone line to sell for scrap. Walgreens didn't bother to inform us of the prescription and the landline WAS call forwarded but instead, just tossed the antibiotics in the delivery bin for Tuesday. And The Big Cheese doctor didn't bother to look at Bob's chart.

And yes, I am sharpening my ax... though the question is, who do I start with? Probably the copper thief, then The Cheese, then Walgreens, then maybe the lab tech, and finally the phone company just to show them who is High Priority here!  Bah ha ha!

We still don't know if surgery is on or off for Friday...

And lord almighty, why do I feel like I'm living in a really, really stupid soap opera...?

But at least I'm back on the internet!