Thursday, December 25, 2008

Taking Care of Grandma

So, its been a while. I promise to fill in the gaps and post photos as soon as some of the dust settles.

The dust storm:
I have moved to my family farm in Barnesville Ohio to care for my grandmother. Just about five years ago she had her left knee totally replaced, followed by her right knee two years ago. However, her first surgery had always been a bit off, her knee always hurt her but she's too tough to complain about it.

Well, she finally had enough and checked in with the doctor and they agreed that something was wrong and it needed attention. We scheduled the surgery on December 3rd so that I could be here with her (I am the only child/grandchild without a wife, kids, or mortgage). Turns out that she had a major infection in the bone of her leg due to the original surgery...that she would require three months of antibiotic treatment followed by another total knee replacement.

Now the fun starts...medicare! My grandmother qualifies for home health care by a trained nurse because she is not allowed to put any weight on her knee for the next three months...she has NO knee right now...only staples (see pic).

However, our friends at medicare do not cover the required antibiotics if they are administered by the Home Health nurse. But, get this, if she is an outpatient then the drugs are covered by medicare. Which means that for 6 weeks I am loading my grandmother into a vehicle, transporting her to the local hospital 15 miles away for a 4 hour IV drip of antibiotics, then loading her back in the car and home. Odd, that the very thing that the doctors who did the surgery asked us NOT to do is the only option we were given by medicare.

Moving my grandmother greatly upsets her body, she gets nauseous and needs nausea medicine to make the car ride bearable. She is not allowed (by doc's orders) to put any weight on the leg, but to get up out of her bed, into a wheel chair, then out of the wheel chair into the car...and on and on till we are back in her bed at home again breaks that rule! Medicare sucks...much worse than you could imagine.

But you should know that she is healing, her spirits are as high as they could be, she is surrounded and cared for by family and when this is all over she will be managing the farm again just as she has for the last 4o years.

I would like to offer thanks to the creator and cosmos for putting me in a position to help. I am personally feeling powerful and bright while with my grandmother. Learning things about my family and my grandfather that I might not have otherwise learned. I am also getting a chance to relearn my animal husbandry and farming skills, not to mention all the baking and cooking that I am now doing.

It's quite a good feeling to be helping with want of nothing in return. One of my favorite bands of the time, Midlake has a song called "Home" and in it is a line that rings quite true for me right now:

"Give me a day full of honest work and a roof that never leaks and I'll be satisfied"

I am satisfied.

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