Thursday, December 13, 2012

This Did Not Happen

Because Robert lives in a care facility paid for by his Medi-Cal coverage, he is only allowed to stay overnight somewhere else 73 nights in a year.  That may seem like a lot until you count up weekends, holidays, vacations plus the occasional doctor visit that happens late in the day or early in the morning where an overnight visit would be more convenient or when someone is sick and might be better cared for by family. 

I am not asking the state to pay for Robert to stay at my house overnight but do want the care facility to be paid.  I also don’t want to have to pay the care facility close to $200 a night for taking him out of the facility on night 74+. 

Call me crazy but that seems a bit excessive.  I mean, there are a lot of nice spas/hotels charging a comparable rate and I guarantee you Robert is not getting spa service over here at our house.  He might get Rocky Road ice cream or chocolate Frappuccinos from Starbucks but spa service – um, no.  Nobody is leaving fancy chocolates on his pillow. (Quick note to hubby: I wouldn’t mind fancy chocolates on my pillow!).

Apparently, the state doesn’t care about the actual days – just overnight visits.  I could, theoretically, pick Robert up first thing in the morning and return him to his care facility a minute before midnight and it wouldn’t count toward the 73 days.  Considering he lives 45 minutes away (one way), this solution isn’t that appealing to me. 

Although, for purposes of this story, that’s exactly what happened. 

Oh wait.  First, you are getting sleepy.  Very sleepy.  Look at this shiny object.  You are getting sleepy. 

Now repeat after me:  Robert did not stay at our house overnight this week more than one night. 

Now that we’re clear about what did or did not happen, and I can probably take the 5th if ever asked about it and I know where to find a good lawyer, I’m pretty confident I can continue with the story.

I picked Robert up at his facility on Saturday and it was immediately clear he had a cold.  By Sunday morning, he was running a fever but it went away by mid-day (letting him sleep all morning and loading him up on Tylenol helped).  We had a family party to attend and, although we were late, we got there just in time for lunch and a gift exchange.  To Robert, this was perfect timing.

Once we were back home, I got Robert settled on the couch to relax with a box of tissues and a Frappuccino.  We had several recordings of Jeopardy so he couldn’t be happier.  While he watched television (and dozed), my daughter and I tackled the outdoor Christmas decorations!  Richard came out to figure out the most efficient way to hook up several dozen extension cords (you think I’m kidding) and after just a couple of hours, Phase I was complete!

Robert continued to feel the effects of a cold and didn’t eat a lot at dinner.  By Monday morning, he was again running a fever and coughing quite a bit.  Being the paranoid sister that I am (hey, his hospital stay in May for pneumonia and sepsis has me a little wary of colds), I took the day off and had him rest and see a doctor.  She ordered a chest x-ray mainly to appease me which turned out to be clear. 
When Robert has a cold, he gets very wobbly and it’s as if his legs turn to Jell-O. He moves slow to begin with but when he’s sick his usual two hour routine in the morning of bathing, dressing, eating and grooming (all done independently) become impossible tasks without help.  It takes me a few minutes to know whether or not I should step in to help because I don’t want to step on his independence but once I do, he’s always very appreciative.
“Thank you for putting my right sock on.”
“Thank you for putting my left sock on.”
“Thank you for putting my right shoe on.”

You get the idea.  He may be sick, but he’s polite.

He woke up without a fever on Tuesday (yay! We’re on the mend!).  He went to Day Program but Hubby picked him up early so he wouldn’t overdo things.  Robert and Richard spent the afternoon together while I was at work.  Robert watching Jeopardy and relaxing and Richard washing all of his bedding (Now that I think about it, I guess I should be leaving Hubby chocolates on his pillow). 

I came home a bit early that day and made potato soup for dinner.  Robert told me how delicious it was but me, still bitter about how he raved about Richard’s pancakes, jokingly said, “Just say that 10 more times and I’ll be happy.”

Looking straight at me, he repeated, “This is delicious.  This is delicious.”

Rachel said, “I think he’s counting.”

Richard said, “He’s up to four.”

He continued: “This is delicious.”

“FIVE,” we all shouted.

“This is delicious.”


“This is delicious.”


On it went until we shouted “TEN” and broke into cheers! 

Robert grinned from ear to ear.  After dinner, he went to bed a little early and seemed well enough on Wednesday to last a whole day at Day Program.  He was still wobbly but Day Program is flexible enough that Robert could enjoy a quiet activity for the day.  Just a movie and quiet time and then back to his care facility where he can stay until this weekend. 

They know he’s been sick and are keeping an extra eye on him and (hopefully) helping him get around until his legs get their strength back and his balance returns.

It’s this sort of collaborative care and communication with his other caregivers that I wished the state was concerned about instead of how many overnight visits one client may (or may not) have.  After all, isn’t this sort of collaboration what keeps people healthier?  Out of hospitals?  Happier?  Saving the state money?

I’d love for the system to allow more flexibility but, in the meantime, if someone asks if Robert stayed with us for a few extra nights this week, in true Sergeant Shultz fashion my answer will be a resounding:

“I know nothing.” 

Oh, you can wake up out of your trance now.  Just remember, this was all a dream and this did not happen.

1 comment:

mem said...

Polite is always nice! So are chocolates on the pillow, but we can only dream... Glad he's feeling better.