Curiouser and Curiouser

September 29, 2011

Health, Mike

Truly, some days I feel like Alice spiralling round and round down the rabbit hole into a world of the wholly unexplainable.

I’ve been reading those hospital records again.  Truly. Based on results, my adorable husband should be (a) dead then (b) vegetative then (c) dead again and then (d) dead again and (e) probably severely brain injured.  Without a lot of probability of useful recovery.  I’m glad I didn’t read them earlier in his illness.  I’d have been mighty scared.

It is true.  I must watch him do everything lest he use A&D ointment (or worse) on his toothbrush, wash his face with Listerine (or worse), be sure that he is dressing appropriately for the weather (he doesn’t and since he is unclear on the seasons it is almost pointless to drive that home until we can get better oriented).  It is equally true that finding the microwave (or a spoon or creamer or sugar) is an adventure in queuing (because he is not processing information and can’t always remember where these things are found though they’ve been the same place for 26 years.  Heck.  He doesn’t remember living here at all!) time after time after time, that I have to remind him of my name or the kids names and the day of the week is always Saturday or Sunday regardless of the evidence presented to the contrary.  Yep.  It’s all true.  But this man is alive…and reasonably well for however long it lasts.  And I am so grateful.  Truly.

But the curiouser and curiouser parts are when he seems so with it…so all in there…that you forget that you are living with somebody with a serious brain injury.  For example.  Today he told me his brain was half shot.  And he wasn’t sure how to fix it up.  Yet.  While sorting his medical records out to send to the VA, I saw the diagram of the cardiac arteries demonstrating where his blockage was and the stent placed.  I showed it to him.   I explained it was where the stent was placed to relieve the blockage that caused his heart attack and cardiac arrest.  And that the blockage came from overweight, cigarettes when he was young, butter, cream, fried foods and did he know what THAT should be telling ME????  He thought for a moment.  Smiled.  Said,  “What to feed me?”   Then laughed with me like crazy.  His same old sense of humor was still there.  Now I ask you.  Brain half shot.  How the heck can that sophisticated sort of humor and analysis live inside the same head that can’t find the microwave two seconds after he found it just prior?    It’s all too much for me.

Meanwhile, speaking of the VA, I’ve got the records ready to go to them tomorrow in the morning mail.  There’s 387 pages of sadness and scary stuff.  I don’t know what they’ll make of it when a box arrives on their door.  Like they need one more big fat file to wade through right?!?  I’ve called the Wound Care Center to advise them we have secondary insurance through the military…Tricare…and so the balance (co-pay) they were looking for could be submitted there.  They were like, hey, great!  Disregard the bill.  I was like…NO WAY.  Phew!  I’ve got to get the front steps fixed before Mike…or somebody else…breaks their neck on them.  And every co-pay saved goes toward that.  Right about now, the VA is my friend.  The military is my friend.  Perhaps my economic salvation as the medical expenses just continue to mount in spite of the very, very good medical insurance we have.

I’ve been reading about the military’s programs on TBI.  They are making a big deal about TBI because so many soldiers were injured from blasts in the middle east.  And because they can do amazing things medically that they couldn’t do, say, during Vietnam or WWII.  They make their programs available to all veterans who have suffered a brain injury.  Well.  A brain injury coupled with trauma.  SIGH.  I KNOW their cognitive therapy programs would work on Mike’s brain injury as well as a TBI.  And since Highmark is going to start balking at further therapy I could surely use a speech and cognitive therapy program.  Especially a FREE or NEARLY free one.  I had dismissed the notion because we were doing ok with the status quo…but my status quo is probably going to be shaken in a week or two.  Janet Cromer’s blog post brought the VA program back to mind today so they are in my sites again.  Tomorrow is the day.  I’m calling them and going to try to see if I can’t get Mike able to use some of their services.  It can’t hurt to try right?  Wish me luck….

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