Monday, August 24, 2009

In Which I Totally Freak Out

Jer had a fairly quiet day today. I had a rather emotionally fraught day, however.

See, they keep talking about sending Jer home on Saturday to be an outpatient until his big surgery, which will be at a hospital up in Seattle. That's in five days.

Every time they say this, a billion little mice in my brain start squeaking in sheer, utter terror. They sound something like this:

Saturday? That's five days away. Five days away and Jer still needs the help of me and two physical therapists to get out of bed. Five days away and he'll still be in huge casts that need to be elevated all of the time and he'll still have heels that are shattered into a billion pieces and we have no equipment at home and no vehicle that will work for him and I won't be able to leave him by himself and Connor starts school next week and they say we may not qualify for home health care and for the love of God why is this a good idea?????

Then the mice all degrade into gibbering and I have to go sit down for a while.

I told the case manager that our biggest issue is the vehicle, and explained the problem. We have a Nissan Xterra, and it's not wheelchair accessible at all. Currently Connor is small enough that I can simply lift him in and out of the car, and I just fold up his wheelchair and put it in the trunk. Now, Jer is not allowed to have his feet down from elevation for more than fifteen minutes at a time. It's a thirty-five minute drive from the hospital he's at now to our apartment, and a forty-five minute drive to the hospital where they'll be doing his big surgeries. So Jer is going to have to be in the vehicle with his feet elevated. This is impossible the way things stand now. I asked the case manager how we'll need to convert it (Rip out half the back seats and stick a ramp in the trunk? Will that even work?), or if we'll need to just rent or buy an accessible van, and what our insurance would cover. He suggested we just set up a "cabulance" system to get Jer to his therapy sessions and doctors appointments. That means an ambulance/shuttle would come by and pick up Jer to take him to and from the hospital. This is all well and good, except I can't leave Jer alone in the apartment (since he can't get out of bed by himself while wearing unbelievably heavy casts on both legs-- this would be bad if there was, oh, a fire or something) while I take Connor to his PT, the doctor, school, etc. and I'll need to go to the grocery store every once in a while.

He ordered Jer's other equipment (hospital bed, bedside commode, lift, special wheelchair, bath chair, and sliding board) today, and said he wasn't sure when it would get there. I'm thinking we'll set the hospital bed up in the living room and I can sleep on the futon-- it won't be pretty, but it will work as a temporary solution. As for the car-- he said he didn't have any ideas about the vehicle and maybe we should just look into Continued Care for Jeremy. In other words, A NURSING HOME.

I don't think so.

I talked to Jer's Rear Detachment Commander today, and he thankfully was able to give me some actual helpful information. The VA is able to help convert vehicles, for one thing. He also talked to me more about our traumatic injury insurance that should help us cover a van if we need to buy one. So I'm feeling a little better about the whole situation.


Gibber gibber gibber.



Lin said...

Breathe, Jess, breathe. Take one issue at a time and it will work out. It's just a lot to take in all at once, especially since you were set with Jer being gone and you handling Connor and school alone. Get some good sleep and take tomorrow when it comes. I have full confidence that things will work out fine. Hugs, pally. Be sure to take care of you in all of this.

Anonymous said...


Though my husband's condition was not nearly as involved as Jeremy's, I could so relate to your fears of managing his care at home (and that episode with the cashier the other day)! Don't you want to wear a little name tag that says something like, "my life is extremely stressful right now.(or my husband is in the hospital with serious injuries)..Please be nice to me!" Re: the car situation, your back seat may be too high, and you'd need to remove Connor's seat, but I brought my husband home several times sitting across the back seat (although just remembered you have a wheelchair as well). Hmm The cabulance sounds like a good idea for now:) Thinking of you, Lisa

Colleen said...

So overwhelming! I can't begin to imagine the racing thoughts. That's great that you may be able to get some help with the car situation. I will continue to be thinking and praying for you.

xraevision said...

This post surprised me! A move home seems a little premature. I know Jeremy must appear "bored" to the staff there, but he doesn't have much choice about that because, um, his legs are in huge casts, he can't move himself, etc. Will you have to drive him to the hospital every second day to have his heels cleaned out?!! Sounds like a situation in which you just need to find the right people to give you answers. I know you will figure out all of the logistics. And cheese can help you too. Seriously, cheese is deliciously calming.

Julia O'C said...

I can see why the mice are gibbering...

A rehabilitation center/nursing home, while not a great solution, wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. In the meantime, I hope the VA is able to get you situated. I'm completely *shocked* that the hospital thinks sending him home is a good idea.

I wish I had a magic wand that I could wave and just FIX this for you.

leah said...

Wow. Five days! I hope that many things fall into place in that period of time. The cabulance sounds like a good plan to get him home, and maybe the VA will be able to get a modified van to you in short order. I'm praying that everything falls into place, and quickly!

Cheese sounds like an excellent idea. Followed by a nice bottle of Pinot Noir.

Julia said...

Any chance they can wrangle a home nurse or assistant for at least a few hours every day? Kind've like the respite care for Connor. Can you make the case that Jeremy needs care around the clock, and that you can't be there around the clock, ergo ... ?

I'm sorry it's all so crazy. I get a bad case of brain mice myself every now and then, but nothing like what you're experiencing. But it will be okay. Not clear exactly how yet, but it will come together. If you're not up for the cheese yourself, you can always give it to the mice and see if that pacifies them for awhile.

Ellen said...

Hey. Listen, think of this: before you had Connor, if you were told about all you'd have to handle with him, you would have had a BILLION mice in your brain squeaking away. And you dealt. It hasn't been easy, but you've dealt, with strength and with clarity and with humor.

You will deal with this in the same way, I am so sure.

I am thinking about you every day, I am sorry I have not been here, we are at Duke U. getting Max stem cell therapy.

Take care--

Anonymous said... Why can he not stay where he is for 5 more days?

Lots of emotional support here and usually someone says something like - accept help from others. Or pay for it. Isn't he still employed???

Using an ambulance (don't care if they want to call it a cab) makes the most sense to me. Here's an accessible van rental website:

Part time in home nursing care seems called for also. So much simpler to keep him where he is, seems to me. (But what do I know?)

Any reconsideration to sending him to one of those other big centers for wounded warriors? Sorry - that probably is just another mouse entering the room.

The best message from the mice-gibberish is that all this is temporary. That is, he is expected to recover, over time.

My Hubby always said there was plenty of 'hurry-up and wait' in the military. Just think of all the confusing messages you got in the beginning. I'm hoping I will come back and find that the plan has changed and the mice have dispersed.

Email me if you want, if there's something I can talk you through, answer a question. Barbara

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to say. I am here reading and praying. Dear God, send help. In every form possible. People who understand and can provide, equipment to help that will be availbe before he gets home, and vehicles to help transport. You do all and know all Lord. Thank you. smg

Elizabeth said...

This is just so sobering. I am grateful that you are writing about this, about your husband, his brave and heroic work as a soldier, his injuries and your role as wife and mother to a child with special needs. For those of us who are "liberal," who often decry the war and its endlessness, it is a good thing to hear about the real consequences in such a personal way. I hope and pray that you get the assistance you deserve. Many good wishes your way.

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

Oh my word! That is nuts! I just don't understand the thought process behind sending him home at this point when he still needs to much help!

I have only been reading your blog for a short while, but from what I have seen, you are a strong, amazing woman. You can and will handle this, just as you have handled everything else that has been thrown at you.

Praying for you, for Jeremy and for the long list of details that need to be worked out in short order.

Anonymous said...

Hugs and prayers are being sent your way. You are a strong women and I admire your ability to handle all of the challenges in your life.

Blog Directory