It’s been awhile since I’ve posted so bear with me these past few months have been in a word, challenging.
As many of you know Papa Fred has had a rough time since June. A staph infection almost took his life twice but here the rest of the story that more accurately explains my title to this post.
As I sit here hours from home I recall the attitudes of the ER doctors in Homer Alaska when I took him in because he was in obvious distress. Our first go round he presented with an achy knee that escalated to him literally unable to walk and not being totally coherent. I explained this to the ER docs and they told me to take him home he had a simple case of “water on the knee”. NOT! After much begging, pleading and giving a full explanation of why he was not fine and just how remote we live I was told he would be released and I was to take him home. My solution was to be the raving lunatic that comes so easily for me and I very colorfully ranted that I was through, he was their problem and I was leaving before they had me arrested for hurting someone because of THEIR ignorance. Not very eloquent I admit BUT it was effective in the matter at hand (keeping Papa Fred near medical treatment). Imagine my shock (I say this with much sarcasm) when hours later they call me to let me know he must be life flighted as his body is septic and he’s going into shock. The signs were all there yet they were initially insisting I take him home?!? Are you starting to see why I was simmering? Fast forward to Anchorage where he is flown to and receives the best care imaginable while in hospital. Amazing doctors, caring nurses and no questions go unanswered. He has his knee replacement from 26 years ago removed as that’s where the infection settled and grew then a couple weeks of iv antibiotics. He still needs 4 more weeks so they place him in a hospital affiliated “transitional care facility “. What could go wrong? I could return home and stay in contact via phone as he was in good hands right? WRONG! In my ignorance I assumed a medical facility would follow his progress and address his needs. Long story short he lost 50 pounds and had a reaction to the meds that the nurses refused to acknowledge to his physician, blood work didn’t get done as was requires and after digging I discovered nothing had been charted for 2 weeks because nothing had been done for him. After finally calling his doctors myself and bypassing the care facility Papa Fred was seen by his Infectious disease P.A. who quickly addressed ALL the issues and got things back on track. Yep by now I’m almost to a boil but the P.A. saved the day (and his life).
2 months later he’s finally home and life is getting back to normal. 3 weeks later it all falls apart. He begins feeling ill, has an upset stomach and major back pain. Once again we are in the ER. I won’t go into detail but will tell you I gave the ER doctors a full background on the previous months happenings and finally they do x-rays and a CT scan then promptly come in and announce to him he has cancer and is going to die. WOW. SERIOUSLY? Great bedside manner, huh! Okay so before you all get to sidetracked let me tell you after seeing the images my first reaction was “Who was stupid enough to give you a license to practice medicine and my second reaction was “are you freaking blind”? Long story short the now attending Doctor tells me he needs to get to Anchorage ASAP and may not make it there but I needed to take him myself. Upon inquiring about an air or ground ambulance I was given this excuse as to why me transporting him was my only option. Now get ready for this-you’ll have to read it twice to let it sink in. Okay are you ready? This poor excuse for a human much less a licensed practicing medical professional tells me “Hmmm, let’s see… he’s 74 years old, on medicare and medicaid and I just cannot justify a 40 thousand dollar expense in this case”.
Are you beginning to see a pattern here? My simmer is beginning to boil again but being who I am I get it under control, begin praying and set off in the dark for a 5 hour road trip with Papa Fred who’s only chance of survival is getting him the hell away from these quacks and to a hospital that will not discriminate against him because of his age or income bracket.
Back in Anchorage….Again. a flurry of doctors, nurses and lab techs. A couple of angry doctors? Wait not anger, frustration. By now I’m having to take deep breaths and calm down. Why do they keep asking me why I signed him out “against medical advice? Why I insisted on transferring him by private vehicle? Wait, What. Sudden realization. That poor excuse for a doctor had told them I signed him out against their advice and insisted on driving him myself. His discharge papers soon dispelled that lie. Now I have a full medical team working at an accurate assessment and course of treatment. I’m close to falling apart, I’m tired from lack of sleep, food and stress but I have angels working overtime and the leader of the pack is called Dr.Rojas. I will never be able to thank him enough for his diligence in getting the care Papa Fred needed. Dr.Rojas sent us to Seattle and I’ll leave it at that until my next post. The adventures continue…