Have I Mentioned, I Hate Hospitals

First things first.  I went to the hospital with my sister, brother-in-law and mother this morning.  My dad was in much better shape than expected. My sister said his improvement over yesterday was 200%.  This is great news.

The bad news is his underlying sciatica is still there and still causing him lots of pain.  Narcotics help, but there’s a limit to how much he should or even wants to take.

Hospitals in general are depressing. Maybe more so in Florida where many people have cascading ailments making a full recovery unlikely.

My dad is on the third floor, separated from another patient by a cloth curtain.  We listened to a doctor explain his prognosis to him this afternoon. So much for health privacy laws.

My dad’s heart seems unscathed by the pain he had a few nights ago.  He still has long standing heart concerns.

In many ways a hospital resembles an ant farm.  Uniformed staff is constantly scurrying back and forth. Each has his own special job and is mainly oblivious to those around him.  The ants are always in motion.

Everyone’s niche is so tiny they’re unable to help at all outside their own specialty. That is one of the most frustrating parts of ‘big healthcare.’ So few people can answer questions.

We did see a doctor briefly. Doctors in a hospital are like that one piece in the McDonald’s Monopoly game that’s nearly impossible to get.  He seemed to have my dad’s best interests at heart.

My father was in for observation. Yes, he had a bed and round the clock care, but he was not considered admitted under the medicaid standard! You need three midnights to pass after admission to open the door for further treatment.  Without official admission that won’t happen.

Sometime today his status changed to admitted.  That’s good, even though we’re not sure how it happened.

He’ll probably leave the hospital in a few days  and head to a rehab facility. We need companion care for my mom for that time.

My sister has taken charge.  She is great at this. We will work together to help my folks write their next chapter.

Growing old is not for wimps!

14 thoughts on “Have I Mentioned, I Hate Hospitals”

  1. Geoff, have they determined the underlying cause for his sciatica? I suffered with it for a long time and they were able to resolve it with surgery. Until they did the surgery they managed my pain with a pain relief patch so that I would be less likely to develop an addiction. – I’ve had a tough couple of years – right hip replacement 2010, back surgery 2012, left hip replacement July 9th of this year – I’ve had a lot of experience with pain! FYI – I’m younger than you are by a couple of years.. Sucks getting old. Hope your father recovers quickly.

  2. I do hope you consider moving them closer to either your’s or your sister’s family. However, your in the warmer climate which probably is a better choice. I understand they may not want to make the move but it really would be so much nicer for them to be near family. I don’t think I could ever move far from my children. As it is I’m in an in-law with one of them and at the other’s house at least once a week or other week! FYI born in 51!! I wish your Dad all the best. I’m sure your Mom will be well taken care of also. I was at one time a Home Health Aide.

  3. My Dad is 86 and my Mom is 84 so I know what you are going through. We are blessed to have our parents still…but the worries are immense. They need an advocate and it is a blessing that your sister is good at it. Please give her a little gift – as an advocate myself, I can tell you it is very stressful. Not only are you worried but you’re hoping you’re making the right decisions, doing enough, not missing anything, etc. We can not count on the medical profession to take care of us anymore – we must be aware and speak up. Sending prayers that your Dad continues to improve and that Mom is OK too.

  4. Having an education in medical coding and billing the reason they changed his status is if they didn’t they would not get paid. Medicare/Medicaid is very specific on this. Make sure you check out the rehab facilities and pick one of your choice. Physically go and check them out way before he needs to transfer. Otherwise all they do is put him where there is an open spot and not necessarily a good place. Been there, done that. Also good if one of you has medical and financial power of attorney as they are less likely to screw with you.

  5. Keeping good thoughts for your Dad How is your Mom? I have an Aunt who is 104 and realize how difficult it can be navigating the health care system That third night is important for Medicare to pick up the tab for the rehab Good luck !!

  6. The line was from the movie, Quartet. And how true that is. Your Dad will need a strong person to deal with the staff at hospitals in Florida. Sounds as though you and your sister will be there to make sure he gets the care he needs. Unfortunately, the time he spent “not admitted” could be a back breaker financially. Let’s all pray this is not the case. I wish your Dad and Mom special blessings at this time.

    1. Actually Patty, there is a protection for that. Having seen in a Medical Coding/Billing situation in a hospital where the doctor didn’t admit him, they cannot bill him for their mistake. Rules of Medicare/Medicaid. Usually it is the doctor that put him in observation that has to admit him and sometimes this slips their mind and the Hospital has to eat the cost of what is or isn’t paid for under observation. Having the background and the experience with my mother on this I have learned a lot and learn new things every day. My mom is in a nursing home now and I still learn new things everyday. It is a lot to navigate and watch over. Even them being in a nursing home (and my mom is in a good one)you have to keep an eye on things all the time both medically and financially.

  7. “Growing old is not for wimps!:….getting old is often referred to as the “Golden Years”…….I prefer to reference the aging process more accurately as the “rusting years”! I could use a few drops of oil from the Tin Man’s oil can too.

  8. People quote “Growing old gracefully” — could someone please explain how that is done? I find it is the most trying time of my life — worse than raising 3 children under 4 years of age and then their teenage years. And then there is the generation that is growing old AND have their parents to take care of as well — and it is awesome your folks have the family support to help them navigate through this time in their lives. Travel safe & our best to your folks.

  9. I hope he has good insurance. Since he was at the hospital for a few days without being admitted, medicare will provide limited coverage. i hope you and your sister can get some info before you get the “surprise” at the bill. Hate to say this but you have enough to worry about his health but the bottom line can be worse than the disease sometimes.
    All the best to you and your dad- he seems like a great guy!

    1. That is the reason why the Hospital quickly admitted him all of a sudden. They made the mistake, they have to eat whatever Medicare will not pay. You are right, there are limits and protections for the patient too.

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