TGIF? Coming Home

HOME /  June 6th:  Friday morning was an anxious time. I wanted to be with Kathy, but had to be here to direct everything. A guy from Baystate Infusion called about delivering the suction machine and then someone called about the feeding pump and supplies and wanted to make sure some one was home.

They called from the hospital and were ready to discharge Kathy at 10 am, but there was a snafu between her insurance and the feeding company, Coram. Papers were faxed back and forth, by them, not me. At noon they called again that the EMTs were there waiting for something else to be finalized about the feeding. At 12:30 I got the call that Kathy had left the building and was on her way home.

By then the respiratory guy had showed up with his suction machine and a ton of forms. I told him to hurry because the ambulance would be here soon. The visiting nurse called to ask if I wanted her to be there. I thought about screaming “Hell yes.” But was remarkably calm about it. The ambulance pulled up around 1 in the afternoon with Kathy. The first EMT walked up the stairs so I could show him where she went. We went out the kitchen door to show him how she was taken out.

When the second EMT asked where they were bringing her, the other guy said, “Up those steps.” The second EMT was pissed and said “No way! Up them rocks?”

Meanwhile, Kathy was asleep through it all. I tried to say “You’re home Kathy. Welcome home.” but I’m sure she couldn’t tell what was happening. Probably a good thing. A police cruiser pulled up asking if they needed help and school buses started adding to the parade. Finally, they moved her from the regular gurney to some sort of chair gurney, and brought her up the steps and walkway into the house. The EMT apologized and said “It wasn’t that bad.” They put Kathy onto the hospital bed with all the linens and the gown she had in the hospital and they were gone. Meanwhile, I signed what seemed like a million forms for the suction machine and paid a $7 co-pay. For a minute or two I got to check on Kathy. She looked so weak and frail. I was afraid to move her to check whether she was wet or anything. I was afraid she would break.

The visiting nurse showed up and I got rid of the suction guy, but the guy with the feeding pump was still a no-show. The nurse checked Kathy out and started to say that they discharged her too early. “You could complain.” Then we got to making her more comfortable.

lopez-valve__96652It turned out the valve for the feeding pump must have been bumped during transfer so she was soaking in liquid food from her stomach. (Since I am editing this with hind-sight, I can tell you this part causes problems down the road.) Between the nurse and I we cleaned her up and changed from the diaper to a clean depends. The nurse was getting nervous about the feeding pump. I called the caller ID number that had come in before, but the woman said crossly”How did you get this number?” I said I had received a call and gave her the info. (Well, excuse me for wanting to keep my wife alive.)

Finally at 3:30 the guy from Coram showed up, complaining about our parking situation. The nurse had to move her car a little to make room. He was very unprofessional looking and had obviously just put out a cigarette. He wore jeans and his sport shirt wasn’t tucked in. No uniform or anything. He brought two boxes of formula and the rest of the stuff was in a big paper bag marked “Lehndorff.” He set up the IV stand and attached the pump and started to train me. I have to say despite the visuals, he did a good job of explaining most of it. I’ll describe the whole process later, reliving that day has tired me out.

The guy left and we filled up the machine with enough food for the night. The nurse left and Pat came by around 8:30. Since Kathy was already clean and dry she just helped me get organized a little better. We put all the towels, sheets and incontinence pads in one cabinet and arranged all the suction and feeding supplies in one of Kathy’s dressers.

Kathy slept all night. So did I.

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