Updates on the follow-ups

CAREGIVING:  After Kathy’s appointment with Dr. Jackson a lot of ‘stuff’ has started happening. Or not, depending on how you look at it.


A referral call was made to Baystate Hospice. The nurse left a message and was going to come over to do the intake. I called her back and told her that we were requesting palliative care, first. Also I told her, “I’m actually kind of surprised that Baystate is calling. I thought it wasn’t covered by our insurance, NaviCare.”  She said she would have the Palliative Care nurses contact us, and check on the insurance. Later she called and confirmed that our insurance doesn’t work with them. So, I had to start calling.

I called Robin, the nurse practitioner at NaviCare and she said we would probably use Mercy Home Care, which is what I suspected all along. It turned out I needed to call Riverbend (Dr. Jackson’s office) to get them to call Mercy; to call me. Got it?


Prescriptions had been faxed to Rite Aid on Wednesday. When I called they still didn’t have anything for Kathy. I called Riverbend on Thursday. They found out that, because Kathy was a new customer, I had to go in-person the first time, to give all the insurance stuff. Made sense.

I went to Rite Aid and did the paperwork and they said they would fill the prescriptions while I shopped. They wanted me to know that the insurance would only cover three of the four scripts. I asked “Four?”
“They won’t cover alcohol swabs.”
Alcohol swabs? I can’t clean her mouth with alcohol swabs. I have a script for Suction swabs but they go to Baystate Home Infusion, anyway.”
Then it turned out the antibiotic for Kathy’s toe infection wouldn’t be in until tomorrow. I asked them to deliver that to the house. (That was the main reason for switching from Stop & Shop Pharmacy, besides my hope that they would have everything in stock.) I picked up some other stuff. I found the probiotic capsules to keep her from getting diarrhea from the antibiotic. Everything has a side effect. That includes switching insurance, switching doctors and switching pharmacies.


The pink swabs have a lollipop type stick. Even though it wasn’t what I wanted they still come in handy for cleaning stuff out of her mouth and cleaning her tongue.
The green swabs. Also not what I wanted.

When I got home I called Baystate Home Infusion, our old but now reinstated suction supplier. I left a message that I was still trying to get suction swabs and if she could call me back “I could give her the actual product number, to avoid ordering the wrong thing.” I was going to say ‘…don’t send the pink things I got from Agawam supply. And don’t send alcohol swabs that Rite Aid almost sent.’ I figured I could tell her that when she called. She did call while I was out and left a voice-mail that they were sending me a month’s supply (30) swabs by UPS. More wrong swabs came Monday. They were just the plain green swabs. I give up. It must be me.


There is still confusion about scheduling the aides. And when some are coming. I keep thinking I have it arranged, but there has been a gap between when Betsy leaves in the morning and when Britney comes to relieve her. That means I have to be back here to make sure there is someone with Kathy. Then I can leave again, but usually I am exhausted by then. On Friday, I was able to go get my blood work done (just the usual annual stuff). Betsey was going to stay a little later until I got back. But, it was a really quick trip. I worried about nothing, once again.

On Monday I figured out how to change the schedule by moving some of Betsey’s time from Thursday to Friday. That closed up the gap between her departure and Britney’s arrival. I cleared it with Betsey and Britney and called the agency. I think I should do their scheduling for the agency (not a chance).


On Sunday afternoon Shaun, a nurse from Mercy Home Care, came over to meet us. He was here for a good hour or so. He won’t be our nurse though. The first real nursing visit will come on Tuesday. He was just doing the Intake, as they call it. He checked Kathy’s vital signs. I gave him Kathy’s medical history as best I could remember. (I think it would be good for caregivers to type out a synopsis of what the patient has had and when; what meds; when diagnosed etc.)

Marty always gives a nasal inspection to everyone who comes in. Shaun was talking about his daughter’s lab/great Dane mix. It is longer than the hospital bed Kathy is in. He said they learned (the hard way) not to give him any human food at all. I was going to repeat his description but I think I will spare you. Talking to him was interesting because he went to nursing school when he was 50. He had owned a machine shop and had also worked at Smith & Wesson in Springfield. I’m always interested in careers that take a turn later in life.


One important bit of news is that the new medicine Dr. Jackson prescribed for Kathy’s saliva and secretions, Glycopyrrolate seems to be doing the trick. I’m doing a lot less suctioning. Kathy is breathing a little better. Time will tell.

The used ugly snowblower was delivered Monday afternoon and it is sitting on the porch waiting for action. Kathy still is not considered a citizen by the health insurance connector. But, tomorrow is the day I am supposed to call and check.


I guess that’s about it for now. I need to concentrate on drumming up some design work as soon as I can. I’ll try to do a post about that and do some grovelling for work.

This is a suction swab. One end attaches to the tubing on the suction pump. Then I use mouthwash on the green sponge. Since there is suction as well as moisture, there is less likelihood of her choking.

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