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topaz: (Default)
A recent posting by [livejournal.com profile] agaran reminded me of this story, which took place earlier this summer:

The scene: in the car, on the way to visit [livejournal.com profile] keyne in MGH.  The driver in front of me was taking a leisurely pace.  I was unhappy with it and told him as much, until he wandered off onto a different road.

Quinn picked up the thread and started saying: "Dammit! Shit! Dammit! Fuck! Dammit!" or some such.

While I was struggling to find the right thing to tell Quinn, Morgan turned to him and said sternly: "Quinn!  Those are grownup words."

And then, while I was struggling to find the right thing to tell Morgan, he went on: "And besides, that asshole already got out of our way!"

I gave up struggling and quietly promised myself a drink later.
topaz: (hands)
My weekends are almost as hectic as my weekdays.  Maybe more so.  Appointments with nurses, children to exercise, meals to cook, dogs to herd, medical supplies to buy.  My mother has been instructed firmly by her own physical therapist to stay off her foot as much as possible.  I have to insist that she sit down and not cook the chicken herself, not move the chairs herself, not do the laundry herself.

This is the first weekend with Ellen home.  There is a lot to adjust to.  I hope that with some effort we can settle into routines that work for everyone over the coming weeks.  I have only had time to help Ellen with her PT a couple of times since she came home on Friday, and am worrying a lot about it.  I know that a day or two won't make a lot of difference, but I know the importance of establishing healthy, consistent routines, and the difficulty of breaking a bad pattern and developing a good one.  When we do get to work on her PT she has been insistent about doing all of her exercises as completely as possible, so that's encouraging.

Every night I am exhausted, but it's not the fine clean kind of exhaustion that comes from working your body hard, that leaves you light and relaxed at the end of the day.  It's a bitter, cold exhaustion that comes from holding yourself very tightly in a small space for a long period of time, a kind of rictus of worry.  My days spin with mad activity, but it all still leaves me frustrated.

My parents have a swimming pool.  (I can't believe how lucky we are, to live near my parents who have their own swimming pool.  The boys have been spending about one hour out of every three in the water.)  Swimming in it reminds me of the difference between swimming in a pool and swimming in a lake.  In the lake you can swim, and swim, and swim as long and far at a stretch as you like before turning around.  In the pool, you reach the edge and have to turn around after only a few strokes.  As lovely as it is, it feels perversely cramped, confining compared with the limitless freedom of the lake.  All the time, it's bumping up against the edges, turning, turning, turning, turning, turning.
topaz: (qwrrty)
.... or something:

Dear Member:

After careful review by the Clinical Coordination Department of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, I am pleased to inform you that the request for hospital services made on your behalf has been approved.

Place of Service: Inpatient Acute Care Hospital
Type of Service: Medical Care

An "acute care facility" is what we were fighting to get [livejournal.com profile] keyne sent to after MGH, since her surgeon had stressed the importance of her getting "active, aggressive physical therapy" as soon as possible.  Because they would not approve acute care, on June 14 we accepted their offer of a "skilled nursing facility" instead.

The letter is dated June 16.  We just received it today.  Imagine -- that their costs have risen so that they have to use fourth-class mail for everything!  It must be horrible for them.  Just think, soon they may not even be able to afford enough staff to reject every initial claim that gets filed.
topaz: (hands)
After drafting a long-winded and vague description of what we need help with, I finally took [livejournal.com profile] pheromone's advice and set up a web site to coordinate these tasks.  Thanks to Erik H. for suggesting lotsahelpinghands.com, which appears to be tailored to exactly this kind of activity.

If you have time and opportunity to come help, let me know and I'll send you an invitation to the lotsahelpinghands.com community that I set up for this. (The URL is http://www.lotsahelpinghands.com/c/11181/ but it appears that I've got to invite you before you can sign into it.) I've created open tasks for the things that we need most right away (childcare and meals).  I'll add other tasks, like helping me organize the house, as soon as I figure out how to explain to people what needs to be done. :-)

It feels incredibly hard for me to ask for help.  Thank you all for making it possible for me.
topaz: (Morgan - 4 days)
Now that Ellen's status seems to have stabilized a little bit I'm looking ahead to figure out how the rest of the summer will work.  We have arranged to move in with my parents for the next several weeks, at least until Ellen is confident of moving around on her own on crutches.  My folks have a part of their house built to be wheelchair-accessible, and at least one of them can be home all day to help.  That's an enormous relief.

Many of you have asked if there is anything you can do to help.  The answer is yes.  We do need help. )
topaz: (gormy gull)
I am amused beyond all reason that the responses to my last post were split somewhere between "glad that Ellen is doing better" and "Ooh! Llamas!"

You guys are the rockingest.
topaz: (hands)
Auto insurance: $1,700

Driver's side air bags: $695

a world still full of dreams
topaz: (profile)
Ten stitches, if I'm counting correctly.
topaz: (thinky)
Does anyone have a spare wireless access point they're not using, or that they won't need for another 7-10 days?  It would come in very handy to get [livejournal.com profile] keyne Internet access.  She can get a cable modem in her room but not wireless.  Doesn't have to be fast, doesn't have to offer lots of firewalling features, just has to offer 802.11 in some shape or form.
topaz: (thinky)
Short synopsis: if you've ever tried to diagnose a server failure by talking to someone reading error logs to you over the phone, on a dying cell phone battery, while driving at rush hour on a city expressway to visit your spouse who's in the hospital --

-- I don't recommend it.  Really.  Not at all.
topaz: (gormy gull)
So, on Thursday evening at around 6:30, Ellen lost control of her van and hit a tree at about 45mph. She broke a clavicle and fractured her ankle badly enough to require reconstructive surgery. The surgery took place early this morning and went well, but there is a possibility of long-term bone damage and nerve damage.

At this hour she is recovering in Mass General Hospital in Boston. She will be there for at least the next 3-4 days and, while she's still in a great deal of pain, she would welcome visitors. She's in Ellison 612A -- she has her cell phone with her, and I will find out the phone number for the room as soon as I can.

The long-term recovery prospects will be challenging, to say the least. The surgeon told me this morning that at the very very best she can expect three months in a cast with no weight on her right leg whatsoever, and  [livejournal.com profile] docorion  confirmed my guess that the realistic outlook is more like six months. In the meantime, with a broken collarbone, it doesn't seem as though she's going to be able to use crutches either. I'm sure the medical staff will help us figure out a solution, but we're kind of bewildered at the moment.

More as it happens. Ellen does not have Internet access in MGH, so if you have trouble reaching her on her cell please feel free to contact Tim.

April 2012


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