Thursday, January 14, 2016

Caretakers don't always take care.... Part 2.

I can remember the exact seat I was sitting in when I knew we needed to move.... Mom, half-joking, asks me if I remember moving up to the edge of my seat and grabbing my backpack and purse and saying, "I'm going. We need to go now. Mom, we need to go there now."  I do remember that.... I think that's part of having an empathetic and A.D.D. heart (and mind).... everything feels equally important.... but this.... THIS really did feel like if we didn't act damn near immediately, that something more horrible was going to happen....

Mom asked what I thought we should or could do, and I didn't know.... In fact, I really had no idea.... We were waiting to get the call from the doctor regarding Poppa's surgery and how it turned out.... I sat on the edge of my seat, anxiety twice as high now....

Mom and I were able to go up to Poppa's room and Jason had called me shortly after, letting me know he was on his way to the hospital with the kids. "Let's get dinner," he'd said....

I couldn't think about food. I couldn't think about anything but going to Grammy's and Friend's apartment.... Some time passed. Jason and the kids came upstairs to see Poppa and we figured we'd better get out of there for the night.... We left the hospital and headed to a small shopping center with a bunch of small places to eat.... I honestly can't even remember where we picked, but somewhere quick and easy... We sat down, inside, to eat.... I'm pretty sure I let Lewie play on my phone to distract him and Taylor had a hint about what was going on.... I'd told Jason what was going on and how I felt like "we" needed to do something. He asked what I thought we needed to do, and I still hadn't any idea, just that "we" (pretty generalized), needed to do something.... aaaaaaand, he actually agreed.... He said, "It sounds like all signs are pointing in that direction."

....

We drove home in our separate cars.... Of course, my mind racing at what I could do... what could be done at this point?  ....

It was Wednesday night.... tucked the kiddos in and took my contacts out.... I got in bed and plugged my charger in, but who was I kidding? I knew good and well sleeping was not going to happen anytime soon....

I grabbed my phone, my charger, and my water and glasses and came back out into the dark living room. I left the small entry light on and came and sat on the loveseat.... I sat there for some time and played and replayed all of these different ideas and scenarios out in my head.... A million questions ran through my mind.... "What if this woman has been legally added to Friend's lease? What if this woman has had Friend sign crazy documents like an Advanced Health Care Directive or a Durable Power of Attorney? or what if this woman is legally on all of Friend's accounts and if I step in, there will be absolutely NOTHING I can do because this woman has already been "legally" added to everything?" It was scary! I was scared! I had NO idea what part of any of this could or would be true, but I had a feeling that there was a good chance. I'd sat there, imagining rallying some troops together and heading down there the very next morning.... I'd imagined a well, thought-out plan, executing perfectly.... and then a few, short moments later, I'd imagined it all backfiring.... I was so torn....

The clock neared 10-11 p.m. I'd been texting back and forth with my dear cousin.... She was the first one that came to mind when I'd imagined intervening somehow.... We are usually on the same wavelength with a lot of things.... We both have a pretty empathetic heart.... aaaaand, immediately, she was in.... We both knew that all of this wasn't right.... I'd reached out to my sister, because she usually spent quite a bit of time with my grandma, or was, at least in touch with her often. I'd wondered what she knew or what she thought about it all.... She had no idea about any of it, but was just as worked up as both cousin and I.... She agreed she could meet us there the next morning. So we'd agreed to meet the next morning. I'd had some time between dropping the kids off and meeting them at Gram's apartment. Gram didn't even know we were going to be coming.

After dropping off both kiddos, I'd made a quick run by Trader Joe's to pick up flowers and a card to make this visit seem as "genuine" as possible. I didn't want "Caretaker" to know that we were on to her, because IF she happened to be Durable Power of Attorney or was added to Friend's bank account or the lease or anything else and she felt like we were on to her, she might wipe Friend out and bail.... There had to be strategy behind this.... Cousin and sister both knew the plan.... we. were. ready....

Showed up to Grammy's with flowers and a card. She was surprised to see all of us.... Then she wondered why we were there.... That was when I'd told her that we needed to intervene. If we didn't do something, it was only going to get worse. We'd let Grammy in on the plan. We were all 4 going to go down to Friend's apartment with flowers and card..... We would knock and when someone answered, we would act like we were wanting to stop in and visit and see how Friend was doing and tell her that we missed her since we hadn't seen her for a bit, and that we were worried because Grammy had been trying to contact Friend and wasn't able to speak with her....

Grammy was very hesitant.... She was thinking that "Caretaker" was such a nice person.... We could all feel her hesitation, but we insisted.... and she obliged....

Downstairs we went to the 2nd floor....

Sister put her ear to the door. Inside, we could hear television and we could hear "Caretaker" talking to someone on speaker phone, but we couldn't hear specifics.... Looking down the hall, I could see Mr. Maintenance Man standing at the door, looking in at us. It was very apparent, he knew we were there and he was scouting the scene.... I quickly tapped Sister and told her to just knock on the door.... that Mr. Maintenance Man was watching from outside, down the hall.  She covered the peek hole and knocked.... "Caretaker" answered the door.... "Awesome!" I thought.... That was one of my fears.... that she might not answer the door.... but she did and there was Friend..... hunched over and walking slowly out of the bedroom, as if coming out to see what was going on.... She didn't look ANYTHING like we'd always seen her.... She usually had her hair colored and fixed up, some make up on, and accessorized with some cute necklace or scarf.... This was not the case.... She looked so frail.... 2" of gray roots, grown out.... her hair lying flat, looking so lifeless.... She was walking hunched over, barely dragging her feet with each step.... This was not the Friend we knew....

"Ohhhh look! You have 4 beautiful women visitors!" Caretaker says, loudly.... still having her phone mate on speaker.... In another language, "Caretaker" must have said that she needed to go or would phone her friend back later, because she ended up hanging up shortly after.  "Caretaker" greeted us with such joy and smiles, speaking loudly the entire time...

We all chatted briefly.... "Friend, we brought you flowers and a card and wanted to see how you were doing! We miss you! How are you doing?"

Friend says, "Ohhhh, I'm doing fine.... getting better...."

Her face looked so hopeless.... We knew this wasn't right....

to be continued....



Monday, January 4, 2016

"Caretakers" don't always take care.... part 1.

I've gone back and forth about this one.... this one has taken up huge parts of my soul.... stayed with me for so much time and still continues to linger.... This whole thing has been like something you'd see in an awful movie.... things you only see on the news, happening to other people.... not to anyone you know....

You ever sit back and wonder, "How the hell did this come about? How did I get into this?!"  I've done this multiple times in the past 4-5 months.... I'll tell you the best way that I can....

August 2015.  Grandma is 86. Friend is 87. They live in same independent apartment community, exactly 2 floors separating the 2.... If you were to go down two apartments below grammy's, you'd be in Friend's apartment.... Friend becomes ill.... Grandma mentions this to us, casually. Friend has always been completely independent. Friend doesn't have ANY family here in the states.... not a single member.... Friend asks neighbor to call an ambulance as she has shingles and believes something else may be wrong with her... She feels awful.... Friend's neighbor calls 9-1-1. Ambulance transports Friend to local hospital. Maintenance man of the property knows all residents well.... knows who has family and who does not.... Tips off "caretaker" in the building that Friend was transported by ambulance to hospital. Tells "caretaker" that Friend does not have ANY family here. "Caretaker" shows up to the hospital and tells 87 yr. old Friend that Friend's apartment building sent her to come care for and take her home, because they knew she has no family.  87 yr old Friend, terribly vulnerable and slightly confused, has no idea what is going on and agrees to leave with "caretaker," as she has seen "caretaker" in their apartment building before. ("Caretaker" is not licensed by the way, but no one knows this.... hell, we didn't even know any of this happened until way after the fact)....

"Caretaker" was looking for new "patients" because the last 2 that she had been caring for just died, within 2 weeks of Friend getting transported to the hospital.... "Caretaker" stays around the clock with Friend for what turns out to be a few weeks.... We finally find out about said "Caretaker" being at Friend's apartment by Grammy. Grammy has also been going downstairs to visit Friend at her apartment 2-3 times a day.... A few weeks pass and "Caretaker" is not allowing Grammy to see Friend as much. "Caretaker" says that Friend is sleeping and not up for company.... Grammy does not tell us this initially. Mom asks Grammy about Friend and if "Caretaker" is still there.... Everyone has bad feelings but no one knows what to do.... "Caretaker" stays....  Between 4 and 5 weeks pass and Grammy hasn't been able to see or talk to Friend in a week and a half.... Grammy tries calling Friend multiple times and someone either picks up the phone and hangs up or else tells Grammy that Friend is sleeping and not wanting any company or to talk....

Fast forward to end of September... Mom and I are sitting in the hospital while Poppa is having surgery.  We are talking about everything under the sun and bring up Friend and Grammy. Mom tells me that Grammy called late the night before Poppa's surgery, asking her to come over because she was ill.... Mom shows up around 8-9 pm to find Grammy had been throwing up....

Rewind 2 weeks before Poppa's surgery....  Grammy had been sleeping on and off all day.... was terribly confused and had even seen a neurologist because we were all convinced she was getting alzheimer's or something of the sort... She has always gotten up and ready near the same time every single day for years.... now she'd been sleeping on and off all day... She wasn't getting ready.... she was staying in her jammies all day.... It was scary!!! It all happened so fast!

NO IDEA WHYYYYYY this hits me the way it did at the hospital, but it hit me hard this way.... "Has 'caretaker' had any access to Grammy? Food or drinks or anything?" I'd asked Mom.  Mom didn't know.... We called Grammy at 4 pm, and of course, woke her up.... She was slurring and not making a whole lot of sense, but told us that "caretaker" was so kind and always making sure she ate or drank, etc.... I immediately told her not to open her door for anyone.... not to take ANY food or drinks from "Caretaker" and to call us immediately if "caretaker" showed up, knocking on her door again.... Grammy was scared.... but so were we....

I KNEW we needed to do something..... and I knew we needed to move quickly.....

(to be continued)


Saturday, August 8, 2015

So long, Little Red Wagon....


Okay... this is lame.... but this Radio Flyer wagon was my gift to Taylor on her 1st birthday.... Well, it wasn't JUST this wagon, but the wagon (and the umbrella that attached to the side) was her "big gift." She loved going on walks and riding in wagons.... we'd put blankets and pillows in this one.  There are 2 cup holders, so she could always bring her sippy cup with her... This one even had a built-in cooler (see how the bottom, beige part, dips down? That's the cooler.... There's even a drainage hole so the ice could melt and drain out.... we actually used that "cooler" more for storage when we'd go to the swap meet). The 4 interlocking sides of the wagon are all removable, so sometimes, over the more recent years, I'd use it as a dolly for heavier items.... 

Next month, she is turning 13.... we've had this wagon for almost 12 years.... I was thinking that maybe it had some sentimental value to her, buuuuut.... after trying to convince her that it did talking to her about it.... no.... it really doesn't.... not now, anyway.... 

A few months back, mom and I were at Costco and we saw this foldable/collapsable wagon with a carrying handle (even though it is heavy as all heck and you wouldn't really "carry" it anywhere, other than lifting it in and out of your car).... My immediate thoughts were, "PERFECT! I could get this one and get rid of the radio flyer! It would save room in the garage and Jason will be happy!" Last month, mom got me that wagon for my birthday but she also told Jason my ORIGINAL plan about getting rid of the radio flyer also, so now I feel obligated to get rid of this wagon, and I guess I really don't NEED to have TWO wagons.... especially because I'd just recently purchased a dolly to serve the purpose of a dolly.... 

For all the wonderful walks we shared in this little red wagon.... the countless smiles and joy you brought Taylor, circling around and around in the backyard.... For holding our purchases, our belongings.... for carrying Asia on "walks".... for helping me carry things around the yard and from the truck to the garage.... I am so thankful for you, sweet Radio Flyer.... I hope we can find you a new and wonderful family.... one you can bring many more smiles and memories to for years to come!!! 

(Do you wanna know how dysfunctional I am? I'm literally typing this with tears in my eyes, thinking about all of the memories!!) 

So long, Little Red Wagon.... with this post, we will never forget you!!! 

A.D.D. Solution #437- How to get rid of stuff

Soooo.... I've struggled with "getting rid of stuff" for quite some time.... I don't know if it's the A.D.D part or my crazy emotions.... I have so much "stuff".... I remember who gave me what and when and everything else you could possibly remember about items.... I have all these wonderful intentions of finding the perfect people who might want or NEED these items, but where do you actually FIND the perfect people for your stuff? I imagine finding a woman who is looking for work and then giving her my Express dress clothes, because I know how much I paid for each pair of those pants and shirts.... Or, I imagine finding kids who don't have toys or kids who need clothes and giving them all of the kids' things.... Where I'm going to find these kids? I'm not really sure... Our garage is like.... ummm, I don't even know what you'd want to call it, but it's scary.... it has a whole bunch of crap from a whole bunch of years, holding a whole bunch of memories (and not) and I just have a really hard (and overwhelming) time going through any and all of it....

A few weeks ago, in one of my therapy sessions, I'd had this idea.... what if I took my laptop with me, out into the garage and took photos with the "stuff" that I've been holding on to.... take a photo with the stuff and then jot down the memories that I'm afraid of losing if this item goes away....

So.... It's been an idea for some time and I haven't really started it yet, but last Sunday, after some good tunes and a few glasses of wine, I'd decided to give it a shot.... I made a sign.... "Get Rid Of.... (Let it go) of all your junk & dysfunctions...." and then started piling stuff shit next to that sign.... You may laugh.... you may wonder why I've held onto it for so long.... I couldn't tell you exactly why, but for whatever reason it's been in my shelf-less garage.... and I've had a hard time determining a "stack" for it to go into.... but this.... THIS marks my starting point.... well actually like my 3rd or 4th starting point, because I've been throwing some plants away for a few weeks already.... (which I feel TERRIBLY guilty about).... anyway.... here goes.... bear with me on this BORING and highly emotional (for me) journey.... as I go piece by piece, through all kind of crap... and let. it. go..... (of course, I'm singing "Let It Go")....

AHHHH!!!!!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My Personal Ad....

Funny what attracts you to someone, initially....
I can give you boatloads of lists of things that I found so attractive about Jason.... and I can also give you some much smaller lists of things that I chose to overlook at that time....
Fast forward to nearly 7 years later and here we are....
Every marriage goes up and down....
It is DEFINITELY how you weather those storms, TOGETHER, that determine the outcome....
It's easy to be with someone who makes you happy and smile and laugh and sees you through your good times....
Admit it.... it is easy to be with someone who is HAPPY and radiant and beaming.... no?

Recently, (well within the last few months), I've thought about the things that I LOVE to do....
which then led me to think about the things I DON'T love or even LIKE to do....
which then led to me basically writing a personal ad....
which then led me to send it to Jason, via text, because it kind of made me laugh....

MY PERSONAL AD (if I was advertising myself.... which of course I'm not, but if I were.... this is probably what it would say):

"Hi. My name is Ashley. I love music, dancing ( I don't care WHERE I am or who sees me.... In fact, if you join in, you get bonus points!) .... Love red wine.... and sitting on the beach, especially at sunset.... I don't like long walks in the sand. I usually get tired.... (and hot and sweaty).... and I don't particularly ENJOY being hot and sweaty.... but I DO love the sun! I carry my venti Starbucks cup, filled with water, with me everywhere I go because otherwise I'd forget to drink water and I don't want to have kidney issues.... like, ever.... (and secretly because when I was pregnant and chubby, I started drinking TONS of water and actually lost weight...) and there are just a ton of other healthy reasons to drink water.... so, there's that....

I don't enjoy cooking or cleaning. Ideally, I'd have a housecleaner come every 2 weeks, because every 4 weeks just reminds me what a failure I am at cleaning.... The hair build up on the floor grosses me out.... Don't get me wrong, I'll clean, I just REALLY, REALLY enjoy everything clean at once.... and I get distracted.... A LOT.... I have been practicing being a lot more mindful with what I'm doing, but the internal battle of fighting distraction and the actual distraction just really clash a lot and sometimes I can't even fight the distraction....*

I cry a lot.... like A LOT, a lot.... happy things. sad things. every things.....  I think everything has feelings, which leads me to doing weird things like HAVING to put groceries back when other people leave them in the wrong section...**

I love plants, mostly succulents because they tend to be the only thing I can semi keep alive.... and because they are terribly resilient, which I think we all have to be in order to keep moving forward in life, growing and progressing.... we have to have some amount of resilience for that....

I love sweets and good food in general, and I just think that life is way too short to only do grown up stuff all the time...."

*in case you are thoroughly confused, I'll give you an example.... the other day, I put a trader joe's bag of jasmine rice in the microwave for 3 minutes.... and figured 3 minutes plus the additional minute it needs to cool down would be the perfect time to fold the load of laundry that just beeped. So I went and started folding the laundry fresh out of the dryer, cleaned the lint trap and realized the trash bag in the laundry room was full so I took it to the bathroom trash and had to go to the bathroom, then realized I needed to take the bathroom trash out.... took the bathroom trash outside, came back in the house and realized that I had put rice in the microwave and it was now EXTRA cooled off.... so I added my red ginger to the rice, sat down and ate a bowl, rinsed it off and did some other stuff and headed back towards my bedroom and saw the laundry room light was still on and the dryer door was open and the dryer light was on, because the door was open, and yeah.....) It just takes me a lot longer to get done things that shouldn't take that long.... and it is frustrating as all hell and not because I'm terribly lazy, but usually because I want to do everything....
WHO in their RIGHT mind would EVER respond to any kind of personal ad like this??!!

**mostly like me putting a frozen box of waffles back in its frozen section when someone decides they don't want/need it and leave it in the pile of avocados in the produce section.... weird things like that....

Thankful for a husband, (though he didn't respond to this written ad), has loved me through 7 years of this nonsense!

To be continued....

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Happy Birthday, Dad....

You know, I do miss him terribly, because I can't help but to replay parts of my life in my head and how I would have LIKED to have done them differently.... There are things I wish I had known sooner.... But life goes along just as it does... I can't say that I don't hurt anymore, because I do, but I just miss him more than I hurt, if that makes any sense.... The longer he is gone, the more fear sets in that I won't remember things about him one day and that really scares me....

Today, on the way to dropping the kids off at school, I said, "Today would have been Pappy's 68th birthday!" I did not have any sadness in my voice.... I felt rather peaceful.... I did....  From the back seat, Lewie says, "It IS his birthday mom."
I said, "If he was still alive, he would be 68."
Again, he corrects me and says, "He IS 68, mom. He's just not alive."
It made me smile.... He says, "I'm really sorry your dad passed away, mom."
I said, "aww thanks buddy! It's okay though. Everyone passes away at some point and Pappy was very sick and in a lot of pain for a long time."
He asks, "How did he die again?" (I've told him the story many times).
"He had cancer buddy."
"Yeah, but what kind? How did he get the cancer?" he asked....
"He smoked and got lung cancer, and then the cancer went from his lungs into his brain, and then there were other complications from that."

I started reminiscing about my dad and some of the hilarious things that he did.... I see his sense of humor in the kids a lot.... They don't even realize it, but they remind me so much of him too.... Little Lewie is SOOOO much like my dad, it's pretty crazy.... Taylor and I were talking about my dad and I was smiling and it was feeling rather upbeat, when all of a sudden, I look over at her and tears are just streaming down her face. She squeezed her eyes shut and almost looked as if she was smiling, but she was crying.... (my girl does NOT cry very often, at all!).... My eyes welled up with tears and I put my hand on her shoulder and asked, "aww honey, what's wrong?"

She said, "I don't remember him, mom. I try so hard to remember him, but I don't remember him, mom. I can remember going to Tennessee and doing things there, but I don't remember HIM!" and she just cried and it broke. my. heart.... She knows how much he loved her because everyone always tells her that.... she sees pictures everywhere.... My dad was a strong and masculine man, but boy could his tone go from deep voice, to teddy bear when he saw Taylor.... It was such an incredible bond to watch develop... He gave her anything she wanted.... Maybe it brought peace to my heart, because I saw my dad in a form that I never saw him with while I was growing up.... I'm not quite sure.... We didn't see him often, but it was nice when we did.... He would call and ask to talk to her.... he'd leave messages for her.... He really loved her a lot.... and she loved him too! I think that's why it makes me sad that she doesn't remember him.... THIS is one of those things that a child just can't ever understand until they have children of their own... how closely and connected your heartstrings are to theirs....  I feel fortunate to have had Taylor so young, because it TRULY gave me an incredibly deep appreciation for what my mom did for all of us girls.... That was a huge blessing for having Taylor when I did....

When Lewie heard Taylor begin to cry, his tears let loose as well.... He had already had watery eyes, but then his alligator tears came too.... They were both crying and then I began crying too! I said, "awwww no crying.... Pappy was very sick and in a lot of pain, but you know what? He knew he was going to pass away the day that he did. Do you know how powerful that must feel? To KNOW when you and your body are just done fighting?"

For those of you who don't know the story of the day my dad passed, it was pretty incredible but also very, very difficult for my stepmom who was the only one with him when he did end up passing. The ambulance came to their small town and pulled all the way up to their front porch. He wanted to walk himself, with his oxygen, out to the ambulance. He put his arm around my stepmom and said, "We've had a good life together, Ma. I'm done fighting. I'm not coming home this time." She wasn't having it. She was in a rush to get things together and pack a bag for the hospital, because she never knew how long their stay would be and they were far from any hospital.... Once he was admitted, she wouldn't leave, so she was trying to get things together... She dismissed his "nonsense talk" and hurried along.... Again, he said, "I'm done fightin' Ma. I'm not coming home this time. No more tubes. No more drains.... I'm tired."

That was it.... that was at 7 o'clock in the morning and he passed away at 12 noon, just 5 hours later.... Of course the weeks leading up to this day were not easy.... He had had a 60+ day hospital stay and had just been home not very long when this happened. I had flown out there and helped her to care for him just about 3-4 weeks prior to his death.... He wasn't the dad I remembered, but every now and again, I'd catch a glimpse of the dad I knew.... He was still stubborn as all heck and still believed HE was the boss and he could still bark orders at us, but to see his physical strength, as well as his mental state, deteriorate at the rate that it was.... that was incredibly difficult to see.... Here was the man who had the strength of Hulk (at least it always seemed like that, to me, for my whole life).... He did the physical and manual labor of 5 men, and could do nearly anything.... He loved to learn and to explore.... Many of my earlier memories of him were in Tennessee.... He had a big home and a big yard.... The neighbors were all so friendly and helped and taught each other.... Us kids would jump on the riding lawn mower and attach a trailer to the back. We'd ride each other around and out into the woods, collecting trashcans full of leaves, building HUGE piles and then jumping off of the trashcan (turned over) or off of tree limbs into the piles of leaves.... We picked green beans and cucumbers and caught plastic pools full of toads.... Many of his days were spent with a cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth, as he "piddled" on projects in the yard or garage.... "Whatcha doin' dad?" I'd ask.... "ohhh, just piddlin'," he'd say.... That meant he was just tinkering with a few different things... He'd always have an ice cold beer in a coozy. But there were usually at least 2 coozies, one for the current drink he had and one in the freezer for the next beer he'd drink.... (He ended up quitting his drinking after his heart attack in his 40's....) and he did quit smoking, but picked it back up after some time.... Dad eventually quit smoking and eventually even became appalled at the smell of it. It amazed me because this was a man who, at his smoking peak, smoked 3 packs a day.... he smoked inside his house and the car, and wasn't ever bothered by the smell.... So, within the last few years of his life, it was nice to see him finally realize how AWFUL the smell was and to even talk about it with us....

Today, I am thankful for the 60 years he lived.... Though I wish we had more time together, I am thankful for the times that we DID have together.... I know that he loved Taylor and I.... 8 years after his passing, I feel a lot more peaceful than I ever did about things before.... I have a much better understanding of our lives and I am thankful for that.... What I mean by that, is that I believe I have a better understanding of his life while I was a child and how our lives transitioned as I grew older.... I am thankful he quit drinking and smoking and was sober and able to feel things, especially within the last years of his life.... Some of my fondest memories will be of those last few years and some of the conversations we shared....

I smile today, because I imagine him in his eternity.... making sure EVERYONE knows it's his birthday.... I imagine someone rubbing his feet with horse hoof cream, and him watching T.V., doing his loud fake cry for attention.... I imagine my Grandma (his mom) preparing his favorite meal for him, or him asking for ice cream for dinner.... I can hear his deep belly laughs.... I can see his cheeks turning bright red and his belly jumping up and down from laughing so hard.... I can smell him just out of the shower, with a squirt of his cologne.... I can feel his soft cheeks just after he shaved and I can hear his deep, deep voice, saying, "heellllo darlin."

I can see his big, new smile and I can feel his big, warm bear hugs....
I can feel nothing but love for him today.... and that makes me smile....

Happy 68th birthday, Dad! I can feel your presence all around me today.... I love you!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Part 2. Getting the appointment.

Thursday (just shy of 2 weeks) rolls around.... We still hadn't received anything in the mail or a phone call or anything else, so I called their office. The MRI had been approved. They faxed over the info to the scheduling line and had me call to schedule the test. They had us come in that Sunday, 3 days after I'd called. We arrive before 12 noon and were taken into the back. The tech was a very friendly man. He explained everything, thoroughly, to Taylor.... She wasn't nervous.... Thank goodness....

He had me place the "marker" on the lump.
This marker is super small.... like the size of a capsule you'd swallow with a glass of water.... anyhow... it's basically a capsule, filled with yellow fluid on a sticker that sticks to your back over the area to be photographed.  

So we place the marker over the lump and into the "tube" room she goes.... He shows me to a chair around the corner from the room. It's one of those cold, hard, hospital recliners.... I had my backpack with me because we were told it could be an hour.... Jason was at home with Lewie because Lewie had woken up with a 103.4 fever. (He had JUST gotten over being sick, as he got sick right after Taylor had gotten better)... the man turned the music on for her.... The very first song was that hawaiian version of "somewhere over the rainbow" followed by some Norah Jones and then "don't worry, be happy..." You're probably wondering why I go into such detail about everything.... Things, like music, remind me of times in my life.... lyrics to songs, happy times, sad times.... music is a HUGE part of me and how I remember things.... I really was enjoying the music selection.... He stopped and made a call to the radiologist at some point during the exam (it was after a pretty short time).... The music was playing and there was a loud chirping sound in the background.... When a mother wants to hear something, she can tune her ears in to the sound she is trying to hear and drown out the rest of the noise.... and that is exactly what I did....  "She's only 12 years old," I'd heard him say. They showed me the MRI and how there wasn't any fluid around the marker (besides the fluid that was IN the capsule/marker).... This could rule out it being a fluid filled cyst.  

The MRI machines are basically pre-programmed with protocol for certain tests. When there is an order for an MRI of the spine, the machine has 10-12 photos that it takes, because what they are looking for is usually seen within those 10-12 images... The tech who was taking these images noted that the normal set of 10-12 photos was not capturing the capsule/marker in that 10-12 set.  So he increased the number of images and took 22 instead, and STILL wasn't getting the marker into the images.... That was the point that he had phoned the radiologist. He was given pretty specific instructions on what we needed to do at this point. The radiologist needed us to phone our doctor the next day (Monday), and tell her that instead of the MRI of the spine, she needed to place an order for an abdominal MRI with focus on the lateral back mass. This way it would ensure capturing the capsule/marker in the set of images that they took. 

Monday comes, and I called the doctor's office and explained the situation. She informs me that she will put the new order in for referral from the insurance company and they would let me know in 7-10 business days. I was NOT about to wait another 10-12 days for a response again.... I told her that I could call the insurance myself if I needed to. They hadn't submitted the set of images from the first MRI, so technically, they shouldn't have needed another approval as we were doing the same test, just in a different area.... She said, "Give me a few hours and let me see what I can do, okay?"  A few hours later, she calls with insurance approval. AWESOME! Now I can call and reschedule. 

Thankfully, they were able to get us in that Wednesday evening, just 2 days later....