Posts filed under ‘health’

Nov 3rd-No LIMITS-Chapter 22-Chris Ritchey

Author’s Note.. It wasn’t planned this way  but as I  reach  the 1st ending of this documentation of my  son before he passed . the  times of publication these chapters   are coinciding with times of his  ending.  I have said before this is  absolutely  crushing and painful to  write as I  have to  relive those moments and memories.  but to  get to  the “after” I  have to  document the “before” . As I  get closer to ” loss of all hope  memories ” I  have to  step  away  for hours  and sometimes days  as it is gutting to  go  through  again  and   a drain  on my  physical and mental being.. 

NO  LIMITS

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Eight: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/09/03/sept-3rd-no-limits-chapter-8-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Nine: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/10/03/oct-3rd-no-limits-chapter-9-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Ten: NO LIMITS- Nov 3rd- Chapter 10- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eleven: NO LIMITS-Dec. 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 11 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Twelve: NO LIMITS-Jan 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 12 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Thirteen : NO LIMITS- FEB 3rd- Chris Ritchey- Chapter 13 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fourteen: March 3rd, NO LIMITS, Chapter 14- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Fifteen: April 3rd- No Limits- Chapter 15- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Sixteen: May 3rd – No Limits- Chapter 16- Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Seventeen: June 3rd-No Limits-Chris Ritchey-Chapter 17 | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Eighteen: July 3rd – NO LIMITS- Chapter 18-Chris Ritchey | That Woman’s Weblog (wordpress.com)

Chapter Nineteen: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter-19-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/09/03/september-3rd-no-limits-chapter20-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Twenty One:  https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2021/10/03/october-3rd-no-limits-chapter-21-chris-ritchey/

Houston Nights and days – a blur

The days after the fundraiser back in Ohio  were tinged with  gratitude to  those who  were so  generous  and writing thank you’s to  those I  knew had donated.  Chris and I  duly  went about the routine of tests , bloodwork and infusion.  One such  visit brought out the Physicans Assistant , she was concerned that Chris was scheduled for the HINI flu shot.   I hadn’t realized that Angela had set that up   via Cleveland. Chris had never had a  flu shot  of any kind and I was unsure of his reaction to  it. Apparently  the PA was concerned as well, but Chris said :

“My  wife has arranged it so  I will take it”

I  sat without saying a word in a fake leather  vomit coloured chair holding my  breath. I was being pummeled with  thoughts

” don’t let him get this shot , it is not a good thing , something will happen”

all the while arguing  with  myself .

“If you  say  something and he doesn’t get the shot and he gets HINI with  his system so  compromised  then you , who  are not medically  qualified in anyway,  you  could cause him worse issues” 

So  I  said nothing , how I  wish  I  had had the guts  to  tell him no!   Hindsight is 20/20

Chris was always so  tired after the infusion which  he also  had that day .  We came home he ate a little, went to  the bedroom , called Angela  and  then  filled the hot water bottles , took pills and slept.

I  heard him during the night running the hot baths  that almost scalded his skin to  ease the pain  he was in.  I lay  awake  wishing there was more I  could do.

He finally  slept and in the morning I went into  the  bathroom to  collect the wet towels  to  wash  and on the floor were soaking wet T’ shirts. I  flashed back  to  when he was first diagnosed with  Hodgkin’s and the  “night sweats” that soaked his T shirts, pillows and bedding . Something was  wrong , so  very  wrong  and it was  so  sudden.

I wanted Chris to  call the Dr. but he wouldn’t as he was scared they  would take him off the trial . I  wondered  could it be a reaction to the H1N1 shot, it came on so  quickly . The next couple of days saw him getting worse. The lethargy  the pain, not wanting to  eat and running a temperature.

 

Angela (Lomabrdi) ritchey ( Murphy)  ( red) by Chris Ritchey

I  had  already  booked Angela a flight for Nov 3rd  as Chris was meeting with  the “team” to  see how the SGN 35 was working for him on November 5th.

I  was so  worried  and out of my  depth , I called Angela and said Chris is not looking at all well and I  am very  worried , barely  eating  and he won’t go  to  the Doctor or call.  Angela rebooked her flight and came down the day before Hallowe’en.

Chris was naturally  pleased to  see her. She never mentioned to  me if she thought he looked worse but in those few days I  noticed it so  she had to have noticed not seeing him for a couple of weeks .  His eyes seemed sore and red rimmed  , his skin  a strange pallor  tinged with  grey. .

Hallowe’en, we were invited to  JD’s and Karen’s for supper and to  hand out candy. Chris laughed and joined in the conversation, Angela would jump  up  and hand out the candy  and whilst everyone’s focus was on the kids and costumes I would watch  as Chris quietly  would reach  into  his top shirt pocket and pop  another pill. I knew my  son’s strength  but I  also  knew he was dealing with  a lot of pain . Angela had brought down some more medication from Cleveland and I  worried  about the amount and “what”  Chris was taking but once again I  said nothing.

Chris barely  ate in the next few days. He took Angela and I  to  the British  shop  ( he had his truck in Houston now). She and I  went in to  buy  Christening gifts for Gavin , Nikki’s new little baby  . Chris couldn’t get out of the truck, said he  just didn’t want to  shop , although  previously  when he had taken me he loved going in there . Again, I  worried.

On November  4th, the night before meeting with  the team of SGN 35  we went back  to  the “Black Labrador Pub” to  meet JD and Karen  . Chris had wanted to  thank them for all their hospitality  and friendship  whilst we had been in Texas. He loved the Ranch   and lost himself in normalcy  on those excursions to  that ranch.

He told me that when he was well he was going to  buy  some land and get Gavin a horse ...

Chris nibbled at a salad , not at all like him and JD chastised me because  Chris and Angela were going to  drive back to  Cleveland stopping on the way,  if the news was good.  How my  son who  was having a hard time  driving  30  minutes to  the Black Labrador Pub , how the hell was he going to  drive 1,300 miles to  Cleveland. JD, said

He will be fine “let go  of the apron strings  mom” … 

November 5th :

We waited in a little office, Chris once again behind his sunglasses , Angela went to  the restroom  I  sat once again near the door  scared to  breather. The Physician’s Assistant came in , and if  there is one thing I  know it is body  language and  she was happy. The Doctors came in and gave the good news … the SGN 35 was working  all was good.

I  breathed for the first time in  days. And then the tag line  ” the only thing was there was a slight “crackling” of the bottom half of the lungs  that they  were concerned about . Angela spoke up  Oh  she would have the Dr. at the Clinic check  it out, he had had the flu shot . That seemed to  satisfy  them  and they  gave Chris a strength test  and Ok’d him for another infusion before he left for Cleveland.

The first thing Chris did was to  phone JD, whilst I  called Nikki , who  was sick with  worry  and told her the results were good. But she said

can’t he leave the truck there with  JD and Karen  and fly home

No   Angela wanted  to  go  to  Nashville  and  make a vacation of it going home. They  had to  be back  in 10 days . I  flew home that afternoon  .

 

 

To be continued…………….

 

 

November 3, 2021 at 6:17 pm 1 comment

Sept. 3rd – No Limits- Chapter 8- Chris Ritchey

 

No Limits- The book

Forward: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

Chapter One :https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Two:https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-

Chapter Three: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/04/03/april-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Four: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/05/03/no-limits-chapter-4-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Five: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/06/03/june-3rd-no-limits-chapter-5-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Six: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/july-3rd-no-limits-chapter-6-chris-ritchey/

Chapter Seven: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/08/03/august-3rd-no-limits-chapter7-chris-ritchey/

After the Wedding- Chapter 8

All during the trip  to  Europe  I  was in a state of panic . I  tried not to  show my  fear, after all Nikki  was pregnant it was a time of celebration, of being with   family  and supposedly   moving forward with   hope  and happiness.  No  matter how I  tried I could not quell the terror that would  shake me awake at night or in unguarded moments transport me to  a dark place.

I wasn’t alone in this thing called premonition, Chris as a little boy had dreams and premonitions too. They faded as he grew or maybe he just didn’t pay attention to them. The day  I brought my  son home from the hospital, I sat gazing at his little flushed faced and those  eyes , new to  the wonder of a world  experienced for the first time and my  mother admiring her new grandson , I  heard myself saying as I  looked at my  miracle and said out-loud as my  mum sat with  me – he will have a sad life! I don’t know what made me say it, I put it down to post-partum nonsense but I was always, in hindsight,  since that utterance tried  to make sure Chris’ life would not be sad. I spoiled him and loved him, laughed with him, enabled him and tried everything I could to protect him.

After Chris had completed his radiation treatments and  we were finally  over our “European Flu” , my  husband and I  were invited to  the newlyweds  apartment  for dinner.  I  hadn’t seen Chris in a couple of weeks he had been travelling out of state for Wyse  Advertising in his position as an Art Director. He had the Meineke Account and they  were shooting a new ad based on Chris’ ideas  which  would be aired on CNN and on the Meineke Bowl December 27th 2008.

 

As I walked into their apartment that evening in November 2008 my  arms full of wine and flowers , my son was sitting in “his” chair – one he had purchased after the wedding- men always have to have “their chair”. I  stopped short  as I  looked at my  son – something was wrong, his eyes, dark circles , pallor I  knew it was not good, but he had been through a lot and was back at work; logical reasoning’s  flooded into my  thought process but I knew   all the while knowing  this wasn’t good. I smiled and said:

I will just give these things to Angela, talk to your dad, I will be back in a second.

I joined Angela in the small kitchen , I  had hoped that my  wariness of her , which I  had felt from the first day  I  was introduced to  her, would have dissipated now they  were married. But no! it hadn’t, there was something that made me uncomfortable around her, something that made me try too hard with her, not be me. I remember thinking:

she is like her mother in so many ways but there has to be something I am not seeing in her that Chris does.

I knew from Chris’s  own lips, Sue Lombardi, the mother in law, was an irritant to him and didn’t gladly suffer her.  There were times my son used the cancer and fatigue as an excuse NOT to go to the Lombardi gatherings, and yet was well enough to join Jim and others at the Irish pub.

Angela, Chris does not look well to me is he OK…. is this the after effects of the treatment?

 

Oh No! she said

he caught cold on the trip  for Wyse – flying you tend to pick up stuff and his immune system is down because of the chemo and radiation. He is on antibiotics from the Dr. at South Pointe. 

I felt somewhat relieved, after all she was now a resident, the hospital staff knew Chris and his situation and so we sat down to dinner. I couldn’t take my eyes off my son, even though I was careful not to let him see I was looking and the quiet fear became a deafening roar.

Thanksgiving 2008 came, Angela was working (supposedly), I  am not sure to  this day  that I  believed that .. I  felt that she wanted to  spend  Thanksgiving with  her family  and Chris with  his, so  they  decided  to  each  go  their  own way and Chris would go  to  Lombardi’s for dessert.

Chris sat as his usual place at the dining room table. I realized I hadn’t really seen Angela but a couple of times, and then only briefly, since they had been married. Chris would come to Nikki’s every weekend but never did Angela stay, she was usually with her family.

 

I had cooked Chris all his favorite dishes that Thanksgiving Day but they largely went untouched. After he left to join Angela at her mother’s, Nikki was worried:

We have to do something, Mum, something is not right with Chris, I don’t care what Angela says he is ill.  .

 

Chris had been scheduled for a PET Scan  but he didn’t want Christmas to  be a blow out  so  he scheduled the scan after Christmas. We had a Christmas , Nikki  and I  treading on  eggshells and swallowing our fears like they  were broken glass.

Angela stayed at her parents and Chris as usual stayed with  Nikki, he had his own room. I went over Christmas morning and Nikki  was very  worried Chris looked dreadful .

Angela  duly  arrived that morning in her pajamas and coat , she called up  to  Chris to

get up  and come on she was waiting  ,

they, the Lombardi  Clan   were all going to  the cemetery  where the little cousin who  had been killed by  the falling tree branch  that September was buried in their  pajamas with  gifts for the grave , opening Christmas stockings  and decorate  a tree.

I heard my  son say

“No  that is  sick I  am not going to  be part of that ,you  go  but I am NOT! 

Angela Ritchey- In red – by Chris Ritchey

Angela’s  face darkened , you  could tell she was angry  and that Chris  had disagreed with  her in front of me and his Nana . I heard her say  as she left the  room

” things will be different next year”

I remember my  mum looking at me and saying:

you  know that girl has a coldness in her I hadn’t realized….

prophetic words indeed.

 

 

 

Dec 27th,  Chris was still at Nikki’s  where  we all tried to  help  him, Angela pretty  much  stayed away sulking   somewhat after the Christmas morning incident, Chris explained . We duly  sat around the  flat screen to  watch the Meineke Bowl  for his ad.

I was sitting on the couch and Chris slowly  started to  slump over his head  on my  lap , like he did when he was a little boy and I  knew…… time was not going to  be kind…..

 

Chris, had the PET Scan January  3rd  went back to Dr. Abraksia , the oncologist, who  originally  over saw the chemo   treatments and eventually the worst fears materialized. Less than 3 months after being pronounced cured of the curable cancer Hodgkin’s Lymphoma morphed into Refractory Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Nikki was around 6 months pregnant when Chris called me that January evening with the news the cancer was back. I knew  I had to  tell Nikki  in person – her being pregnant was something unexpected and we were treating her like crystal, as just 4 months before her pregnancy Drs. and specialists told her she would not be able to  have children. But I knew she was pregnant before she did , I  told Chris , he got angry  with  me

Mum, stop  it you  know how much  Nikki wants a baby  that is wrong of you.  

I said ,

well I  just know she is....

and when she came over with  the scan I said

Oh Nikki  I  have to  tell Chris……

there was such  excitement

I knew that Nikki  had to  be told carefully   so  got into  my  car and drove to  her home. It was snowing and icy  and I  nearly  took out a mail box .  Jim answered the door, one look at me and he knew things were bad- I told Nikki what I  knew and she crumpled  in two, just sort of folded up.

her baby  brother

she wanted to  go  to  him right away  but we convinced her otherwise- tomorrow we said .

Nikki and I  went to  Best Buy  on the way   and purchased a small flat screen for Chris’s  bedroom- knowing  he would be shut in that room whilst new treatments were tried. Chris was waiting for us, I started to  unpack the TV  whilst Nikki  and Chris went to  the bedroom- I  heard him say-

Nik- I  did everything they  told me to  do, why is it back it is supposed to  be curable?

Other self by Chris Ritchey

 

My heart was in my mouth- I stayed out in the living room giving Nikki and Chris space” to be”.  It was always the two of them against the world.

And so another medical chapter in the journey of the obscenity of Cancer began. I will write of that journey of stem cell transplants, trials the hope and the horror , the circus that is cancer . However,  this book is not about the journey of medical treatment but that of life and connection.

The Touch- Chris Ritchey

 

September 3, 2020 at 12:31 pm 1 comment

April 3rd- NO LIMITS -Chapt 3- Chris Ritchey

No Limits- The book 

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/01/02/jan-3rd-no-limits-the-forward-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/02/03/feb-3rd-no-limits-chapter-1-chris-ritchey/

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2020/03/03/march-3rd-no-limits-chapt-3-chris-ritchey/

After the engagement announcement and the resulting kerfuffle with  the in laws to  be, I decided I would only  do  what I  was asked , no  suggestions or real involvement with  this wedding. I  could tell it would be walking on egg shells time.

A few days after the ring fiasco  Chris called and said Angela wanted us to  go  to  Beechwood where she had made an appointment to try  on wedding gowns.  It was rather short notice but Nikki  and I,  for the sake of fence mending, agreed to  share in  what should have been a delightful afternoon. In fact it was  except the mother of the bride was not there, aunts and grandmother etc but no  Sue Lombardi.  Angela duly  tried on various gowns and she did look lovely. I suggested that I would purchase the  wedding veil  of her choice.

 

Since I  had to  get back to  a meeting – already planned- Nikki  and I  left. I found out later Sue eventually showed up  as she didn’t want to  take the time off work. Chris called and said Sue was  very upset and

“What would I  have done- would I  have taken the time off? “ 

” Chris you  aren’t pulling me into  that  situation”.. and I  kept quiet. 

 

Chris had  still not recovered his usual good humour , although  he was speaking to  his sister once again. I couldn’t figure out what we had done wrong now. Finally , Nikki told me : Apparently  Chris was beside himself  worrying as to  how he was going to  pay  for the wedding items that Sue and Angela had said  were his obligation. The rehearsal dinner, cars, flowers , liquor for the reception, gifts, photographer, honeymoon  etc. He had spent his savings on that ring and had just been offered a position with Wyse Advertising. Since  his family  had paid for all his college – 5 years at Cleveland Institute of Art he did not have any  student loans and he was trying to  get a loan for this wedding.

I thought to  myself some of those  of those expenses should have been covered by  the Lombardi  family and they  should have realized what a wedding list of over 200 would cost this young man.  but as I  said

I  was going to  keep  my  mouth  shut .

Chris came home from work and I asked him what exactly  was worrying him  and he told me. I told him his father and I  would pay  for all he needed to  pay  for and not to  worry. He balked at the idea  and I  said:

OK let us pay  for it , rather than you  taking out a loan  and you  can pay  it  back to  us over time.

It was decided and life pretty  much  went on, people being young and planning. Although   it wasn’t  all plain sailing as  the bridesmaids and groomsmen were picked and Nikki , Chris’s sister was left out of the plans.  Chris asked her why  she wasn’t going to  look at the bridesmaids dresses  and she informed him

” I  wasn’t asked , I  don’t believe I  am part of the wedding party” ( although  her husband was)

Chris immediately  got on the phone to  Angela

“Nikki  is one of the wedding party  right? ( the reply  of yes if she wants to  be) rather a backhanded invitation ….

Looking back these things faded into  the realm of  really  didn’t matter they  were inconsequential  in the grand scheme of life. Summer passed , autumn and Christmas and then in February  a trip  to  the Doctors for Chris, whom we thought  was not getting over bronchitus and swollen glands .

Our world was suddenly  turned  upside down inside out and  the silent screaming started : I wrote about the phone call   10  days  later:

All it takes is a phone call to  start you screaming

Hello!
It was a phone call that sent an icy cold that permeated through my very core and has not left me yet, my brain not wanting to “compute” what my ears were hearing, mouth dry, eyes welling with tears , the incredulousness, the denial , the confusion, the sheer terror that runs through your frame, your mind screaming, a few seconds that changes your life forever- nothing will ever be the same.

A phone call that leaves you weeping with fear, that terror, whose tentacles reach through your very being, tearing at your insides, ripping to shreds happiness and laughter. One of the people you love more than life itself, one that you gave birth to, cuddled, bathed, fed and protected is on Route 2 and has answered another (cell) phone to be told that test results (for possible bronchitis) have come back with a life threatening disease.

face of a cancer cell

Someone please wake me from this nightmare……..what am I supposed to do, what do I say, how can I do anything- someone , anyone why????????????????
The look on your husband’s face as he tries to understand the picture of what is happening with this conversation………

The dread disease that sends a mother into the world of deal making ,

No please – not my child , let it be me, take me ,God how can I bear this?
How can I be brave and make it better when my heart is exploding with pain, every part of me screaming from the gauntlet of emotions that are coursing through my very essence?

You are removed from the world around you –

Nothing matters, not the politics, not the crime, not the state of the roads, not the weddings, the weather, blogs, the pettiness, media , CRA’s, pontificators, principles , presidents, arguments ….. .nothing…. your world has shrunk, your planet consists of no more than 8 people and the all consuming fire of fear that your child is going to be in a world of hurt and you are helpless.


You want to curl up in a dark place – trying not to feel, to escape but the pain and confusion drags you back to the surface of desperation, despair and the reality that is now your world.

Eventually the body decides, through sheer exhaustion, to sleep but the nightmare doesn’t stop, you wake, a pillow wet with tears, a coldness that remains in your very core reminding you there is no escape- you truly do

“wake from sleep exhausted”(Susette Kelo)

Family , friends try to be encouraging and for that you are grateful but in a mother’s heart there is really nothing that they can do or say , you want to wake up from the nightmare, make it go away.

Make it stop

You look for anything that will give you hope -that there is a mistake but somehow inside you know the truth – it will not go away – it is going to have to be dealt with.

No matter how old your child becomes they will always be your child. You see not the young man or daughter – you see the chubby 2 year old with soft plump arms, the eyes that never change

only mummy can’t- no soft butterfly kisses or a cookie is going to fix this – there is no magic bandaid with happy faces.

Your life and that of your loved ones is contingent upon a surgeon’s knife and upon a lab in California – a stranger making a decision that will decide whether there is happiness , hope or pain to come in your life and that of your child. You are just another lab report , a number with an insurance billing code- a job of work.

This nightmare of speculation and waiting for the next body blow , like some sort of insidious torture technique, rips at you and the very fabric of your family . Life goes on around you but you are removed you go through the motions but you aren’t really there and you only care about the turmoil that one phone call caused.

The tests, the scans, the trips to the hospital, the waiting rooms with color co-ordinated furnishings, a laugh echoing through a hallway, people talking about the weather, a child crying as life goes on -biopsies, more waiting – hoping- praying pleading with a greater power

“please let them have this wrong ” “please let it be a mistake”

Watching every movement,

“are they eating , are they paler today , the cough – is it better, worse,?”

Trying to smile, to put on the brave face and make life normal until the results are in, cooking food no one really wants to eat , but the strength has to be kept up.

Laying awake watching the clock tick away the hours of life and darkness, waiting for morning……things always look better in the daylight,
but that isn’t true- the mornings come and there is no sanctuary in the watery, wintery sun. Days run into one another, hours, the calendar and the marked events deemed important enough to make note of are no longer significant in their passing.

The darkness envelopes and you think of other mothers, how do they cope with news that threatens their babies, their teenagers, the mothers whose sons and daughters return from war missing limbs and with horrific injuries, how do they cope even having them in harms way- day after day ?

How does a mother bear the news that her child is gone- no longer to hold them, to feel a heartbeat , to gaze with love upon their face, the hear their laugh , to see their eyes no more ….the gut wrenching sadness the rises up. unasked, unwanted, and overflows with the releasing of tears without warning.

Then the results and you know, even before the Doctor opens his mouth – you see his eyes- what they are…. you hear the bad news tempered with good news and hope and another journey begins…………and you know that somewhere another mother shares your pain and fear and is trying to make a deal

take me, not my child………………..

To  be continued

April 3, 2020 at 2:03 pm 3 comments

Medical Care- A Consumer’s perspective- Brookdale Pt 2

Part Onehttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/03/22/the-ratings-of-medical-facilities-series-it-begins/

Part Two- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/04/09/medical-care-from-a-consumers-perspective-ohio/

Part Three- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/04/22/medical-care-a-consumers-prospective-mercy-health-lorain/

Part Fourhttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/04/29/medical-care-a-consumers-perspective-mercy-health-lorain-2/

Part Five – https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/05/27/medical-care-a-consumers-perspective-cleveland-clinic-rehab-hospital/

Part Sixhttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/06/15/medical-care-a-consumers-perspective-brookdale-skilled-nursing/

This will, hopefully,  be the last in the series of medical care received in various  medical facilities , three different types of medical care, and three different providers. Ideally  this post should be in two  parts but I want to  leave Brookdale behind  so  it will be lengthy.

The common denominator was the insurance coverage Medicare and Medical Mutual. Although  I  am fighting one bill ( will be explored in this post)   and the Medicare evaluation of Brookdale as mentioned in Part SIX is an issue for us, on the whole Medicare and Medical Mutual – so far – has been less than the nightmare I  thought it would be.

I believed we were spoiled by  the nursing staff/ aides and housekeeping staff  at Mercy  Health  Lorain, upon reflection they  set the bar very  high– a  few of their  physicians I  found decidedly  lacking ( see Part One).

 

Also , the Cleveland Clinic Rehabilitation was beautifully  clean and the food was very  good , rehab staff were excellent, you  knew what time  therapy  was every  day and who what and where so  families could adjust schedules to  participate with  the patient. You  knew who  the nurses were that day  and your aides. Unfortunately,  it was down to  a small percentage of aides  that spoiled the experience and also  caused a health issue ( in my  opinion) by  spreading C’Diff from one room to  another and then sending  contaminated material with  the patient to another facility. Brookdale

 

Ah! Brookdale, Westlake Ohio…..the 5 star Skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility  which is in the middle of a very  large Assisted Living and Senior Living

Brookdale Senior Living owns and operates over 1,000 senior living communities and retirement communities in the United States. Brookdale was established in 1978 and is based out of Brentwood, Tennessee. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brookdale_Senior_Living

The typical Brookdale Senior Living CNA salary is $12. CNA salaries at Brookdale Senior Living can range from $10 – $15. This estimate is based upon 66 Brookdale Senior Living CNA salary report(s) provided by employees or estimated based upon statistical methodshttps://www.glassdoor.com/Hourly-Pay/Brookdale-Senior-Living-CNA-Hourly-Pay-E6433_D_KO24,27.htm

Independent living prices average $2,900 monthly. The majority of locations will cost between $2,300 and $3,500. Skilled nursing communities are available as a Basic Monthly Service Rate of between $6,000 and $8,500.

I have not received the cost of our one  month stay at Brookdale Westlake “skilled nursing and rehab ” in Westlake as of today’s date but I do  know one charge was $400 per day.

After the poor experience of “transfer” from Cleveland Clinic Rehab Hosp. Avon  (which was paid for by  self -pay) I wasn’t in the best of moods . I understood from literature that I  had read  this was a “newer facilty”. I understood it to be around 10  years old. In my  opinion it was becoming a little “shabby” without the chic.

 

 

I should point out this is a very  large complex and the “skilled nursing” ( bit of an oxymoron in my  opinion) section had quite a large turnover of people coming in and out of rehab. However, my  first impression after leaving the gleaming white , bright Cleveland Clinic Rehabilitation Hospital(CCRH) was one of “OH!” and not in   a pleasant way.  The parking for the visitors for the skilled nursing/ rehab   section was awful, you  had to  hope the parking gods were on your side as you  drove round and round hoping for someone to  leave.

Please note this a critique of the Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Section of the complex, I  have no  thoughts or opinions as to  the rest of their complex and assisted living sections.

 

The facility  allows pet visits to  the patients rooms, all well and good but unlike The CCRH where there was a designated area  tile floor) for those  pet visits,   animals in all shapes and sizes routinely  walked the “carpeted corridors” , one little fella dragged his bottom along the carpet which  made me go  eeeewwwwwww. Had they  been bathed, de-fleaed , some looked as if they   weren’t exactly a pampered pet? I did take my  dog to  see her master at the CCRH after going through the paperwork and a shampoo. I  did not bring her to  Brookdale!

 

The room was  supposed to  be “homey” and an effort was made in the design and décor.  However too many  bumps and bruises on the paintwork, furniture  left an impression of needing a redecorating. The “homey”  bedspread  with  its little bag of goodies, had decidedly  seen better days , faded (hopefully)  through a lot of washing?  Again, being spoiled by  the open airiness of the CCRH with  large windows this was a bit of a disappointment , his room was dark and yes in my  opinion a bit dingy. The photo  from their website  is really not a great representation as to the “light” in  the room  we had.   After the pristine cleanliness of CCRH it was a bit of a disappointment Oh well thought I different facility  not a hospital .

 

The bed was actually  quite small, and no  sides. Apparently  “nursing homes” cannot restrict the occupants ( such  as  the side up  in a hospital)  neither can they  belt you  in  a wheel chair. This  was  all well and good but for a patient that has very  little trunk strength and one who  was a fall risk  this was not ideal. I  was told we could request the sides if we went through the paperwork and the Dr. must write out a prescription  to  have the sides installed. I said this is what I  wanted done. That was the last I heard, and actually  he fell out of the bed twice, a chair once  and the wheelchair once. Not so  good when it comes to  the fact he had just had major brain surgery after a fall.

 

After 4 days of being a resident  the bathroom became   the holding room for dirty  sheets, linens, towels  used diapers and pads ( remember that C’Diff) I  was ready  to  remove the patient from the 5 star facility and interaction with  some very  off putting aides  . I  called the head nurse and one of the administrators , after my  daughter was given the pads etc to  clean up the leaking Foley  bag. Since she was gowned and wiping down the room with cleaning cloths due to  the C’diff   maybe they  did think  she was a staff member, as we were told. Obviously  no-one else up  to  that point – knowing there was an issue with  C’diff wore those items. ( Benefit of the doubt)

Some aides did make a half hearted effort to “gown up” after the complaint, however,  latex gloves routinely  ended up  being  taken off and thrown into  the “general purpose waste basket”, well those that made it in as they  were thrown – I  was forever  picking these up and emptying the  room trash!

 

As for “housekeeping” I can’t remember that happening to  any  degree maybe weekly and only  once was there what I  call a thorough cleaning ( the Sunday  after I complained )  whereas in the previous two  facility  it was daily and sometimes twice a day.

 

 

The ‘weekend administrator” did get the bags of laundry and garbage out of the bathroom , did send in a cleaner  and apologized. The “head” nurse did get the Foley  bag removed, changed the mattress to  an air mattress,  as he was starting to  get a bed sore due to  being stationary and unable to  move on his own ( eg. roll over)  and was also very  uncomfortable due to  a pre-existing back condition. And so  it began…………

 

The rehab staff were very  good, he could not have intensive rehab at this facility , again only  so  often  due to  Medicare restrictions. But on the whole we were pleased. My  goal was to  have him ambulatory , able to  get into  a bed at home and to  be able to  get to  the bathroom. This was going to  mean  on a walker at least because this “Old House” was not wheelchair friendly.

Since there was definitely  an issue with  85% of the aides ( remember the staff that was above average according to  the Medicare evaluation  ) my  daughter would spend every  morning going with  him to  rehab, not the organized times etc of the CCRH we were expecting, she would stay  until after lunch  and I  would come later in the afternoon through the evening.  Night times were very bad for him, but he was on digoxin and although  he had adverse reactions  to  this drug we could not get  Doctors to  take him  off of it ( prescribed by  the ghost cardiologist from Mercy)

https://www.nhqualitycampaign.org/…/Drugs_that_may_cause_psychiatric_symptoms…visual hallucinations, fear, paranoia, agitation, anxiety. Sudden … Hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, confusion, mania, anxiety … Digoxin (Lanoxin*).
Note: the moment he was home and our cardiologist saw him digoxin was “nixed” and so  were many  of the other medications.
I am sure the administrative staff as well as a number of the aides were not at all happy  with  my  advocacy for my  husband. A “difficult patient” due to  medications, pain and confusion and a difficult wife 😉 . I  would ask you  to  remember this man went to  bed at Mercy  woke up eight days later after being intubated  and having respiratory  arrest unable to  move , unable to  speak ( due to  his vocal chords being stretched, ) not knowing where he was and what happened and having an 8 inch  slice taken out of his scalp. He remembers nothing at all from Mercy  , very  little from CCRH and too much  from Brookdale, Westlake.
 Patients were told they  could eat in the dining room  and for the most part the food was fine, the aides in the dining area were very  helpful  and the view of the duck pond a nice outlook. Mealtimes became a highlight to  one trapped in a wheelchair.
The call light response times were awful, in our case, of course being a “demanding patient” who  wanted to  use the bathroom or get out of the bed  and wheelchair due to  his discomfort didn’t help. The notice on the board in his room “call don’t fall” didn’t count for much.
The  Administrator did print out a  record of the response times to  the call light. Amazingly  they  had response times of 30  seconds  up  to  5 minutes.
What they  hadn’t realized with  the amount of time my  daughter and I  were putting in and the fact that as a blogger and ex- columnist I  have this penchant for documentation we also  kept a record of those call times and for the “most” part they  didn’t concur with  the print out. With  that printed out response time for his room number   I  received a bill for another patient, which  I  duly  returned, that had had that room previously.
March  17th  he fell again , this is an excerpt to  Medicare  appeals as they denied the cost of the emergency  room Dr.  after I  insisted Brookdale transport him to  St. John’s after yet another fall.

On March 17th I received a call from the night nursing staff at Brookdale that my husband had fallen trying to get out of his chair. The nurse informed me he had bruising to his abdomen and an abrasion to his left leg.They could not tell me if he had hit his head. Considering they stated he had only fallen 10 minutes previously to calling me   I was concerned they could not tell me whether he had hit his head and that bruising to the abdomen was already in place. I deemed it important considering the history of previous weeks of major brain bleed and surgery he should be checked out by someone other than an LPN. Hence the trip to St. John’s Westshore Emergency Dept. He was monitored in the ER and after a few hours sent back to Brookdale .

It is my contention that due to the recent history of falling and two brain bleeds the ER was the appropriate facility at 1 a.m in the morning. Brookdale, in my opinion did not have a qualified individual on duty or equipment to ascertain a diagnosis. The ER was the best place”

As time wore on and actually  his discharge times got put back , I  realized that, in our case , although the rehab therapy was very  good, it wasn’t enough. He was spending too much  time “waiting” and sitting in a wheelchair for the  two  to three hours of rehab and at least two  days a week where there was no  rehab at all. ( Again due to  Medicare restrictions). So  as his Dr. concurred and my  husband was unhappy  at the facility  and was at least able to  use the walker (with  help) and we felt we could manage his  care  we discharged him from Brookdale Westlake  on March 29th.
I am pleased to  say  that in April he went into out patient  physical therapy  at NeuroSpine Care, Sheffield Village, three times a week. He has progressed amazingly  well and they  have him transitioning to  a cane , able to  stand  and do  the things that make life normal. http://www.neurospinecare.com/
I do not agree with  Medicare ratings that this is a 5 star facility, but then again I  do  not know how low they  set the bar!
The best I  can give this facility  in rating , remembering it was supposed to  be, according to  Medicare, a 5 star facility  is a C minus. Although there were highlights such  as the rehab staff, the “aides” were another let down  and remember these are the individual that are dealing with  your loved one.  ( I  would say  my  general impression was that the aides were dealing with  quite a few patients each  shift and if their stated wages were anything to  go  by  they  need a raise in order the attract  better qualified individuals !
Remember this is a FOR PROFIT facility  and you  are the consumer not a charity  case and Medicare  and yourself will be paying for the “business”
of care and rehabilitation!!!!!!!
https://www.ibisworld.com/industry-trends/market-research-reports/healthcare-social-assistance/nursing-residential-care-facilities/nursing-care-facilities.html

 

July 11, 2019 at 1:20 pm Leave a comment

Medical Care – a consumer’s perspective-Cleveland Clinic Rehab Hospital

Part Onehttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/03/22/the-ratings-of-medical-facilities-series-it-begins/

Part Two- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/04/09/medical-care-from-a-consumers-perspective-ohio/

Part Three- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/04/22/medical-care-a-consumers-prospective-mercy-health-lorain/

Part Fourhttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/04/29/medical-care-a-consumers-perspective-mercy-health-lorain-2/

 

Cleveland Clinic Rehabilitation Hospital Avon Ohio, was NOT on the list of 34 facilities given to  us by  Mercy Health social workers – Lorain Ohio.  I  did some research  on my  own, went to  the internet and to  my  facebook page and asked local friends if they  had had good or even poor experiences with  facilities in the area. Cleveland Clinic Rehabilitation Hospital came up as being a good facility.  https://my.clevelandclinic.org/locations/rehabilitation-hospital/specialties

My  daughter and I  spent a Thursday  morning touring the facility. It has all the benefits of a hospital doctors  , rehabilitation therapists,  nurses,  aides and the focus is of course on rehabilitation. The facility  is only  a few years old and shiny  , white and extremely  clean. The rooms were large , bright and airy. We were most impressed with  the rehabilitation area and the state of the art equipment .

However, my  husband ( due to  Medicare Insurance  rules) apparently  could only stay  for 19  days.  It is my  belief  he probably  should have been released to  that facility  further along in his recovery. He was paralyzed down one side  and was on a plethora of medications. One which  was given to  him at Mercy  by the “ghost dr.” which  causes confusion etc. Again not being a physician and not knowing at the time he was even on this medication I was also  unaware  that in order to  combat the confusion ( also  he was on pain killers) he was being given another drug for Alzheimers.

I must interject here as to  hospital to  hospital transportation, I  wish  I  had something good to  say , you  really  are at the transporters “mercy”. The time arranged   leaving Mercy to  the Clinic was supposed to  be 11 a.m However, although  I  was supposed to  follow him to  the new facility  I  couldn’t by  6 in the evening after waiting hours and hours I went home and told them to  call me when he was being transported . You  see I  had to  sign the admittance papers and permission to  treat. At 9:00 p.m. I  called the Clinic who  told me that it was so  late he would probably  now be transported the following morning . I went to  bed only  to  be called at 11:15 by  the Cleveland Clinic Nurse that he had been sent to  them a few minutes prior  and could I  give the permissions verbally. ( This was not the only hiccup with transport).

I was, on the whole, extremely  pleased with  this facility  but it was not all good news. Once again the rehab staff were wonderful, and it was so  organized, you  knew exactly what he would be doing and when, I  was very  impressed with  the rehab staff, also  the cleaning staff once again were in the rooms every  day  and sometimes more than once. The nurses were for the most part very  professional and helpful as were 80 percent of the aides.

My  husband needed help  initially from two  and on some occasions three individuals to  see to  his needs. The confusion caused by  the drugs  did not help, that and the weakness and immobility of his left side. He had to  learn to  use his vocal cords  again ( which were stretched due to  the intubation) . It was a few days before I  realized he was still taking the medication for gout  which  should have been stopped at Mercy.  The medication Colchicine, can  and does cause diarrhea  and stomach  upset. The gout symptoms had abated and he really  should not have been still on this drug , especially  since it does also react with  Digoxin  but of course I  was unaware he was on this drug as well.

I  did insist since the diarrhea was an issue  they  stop the Colchicine. I also , once I  found out he was on Digoxin  ( Lanoxin),  they  stop or change that medication    BUT and here is the issue  it seems that doctors at this facility  and other facilities in the chain are loathe to  change another “specialists” diagnosis and treatment.  This was a huge problem  for us. One because we were out of our network and OUR team of physicians and specialists who  knew his history  and his courses of treatment we had to  rely  on basically  strangers to  his situation.

Therefore I  started asking for a daily  list of all his medications

Once he was off the Colchicine he stomach  upset went away. BUT not for long  a woman in the next room came down with  C’diff https://www.cdc.gov/cdiff/what-is.html . Now it was put to  us that my  husband came down with  this due to  the huge amount of antibiotics he was taking and had taken. BUT that is not the whole story:

IF the lady  in the next room and not had the infection first I would not have done more research thinking  it was because of the antibiotics . Although  the staff were for the most part adhering to   handwashing etc protocol not all of them did . Infact  I  would say  20  percent of the aides were lax in that area. I  actually  had to  throw away  his cellphone as it somehow became covered in fecal matter ( C’diff contamination) and was put on the bedside table. My  husband was incapable of having reached the table.  I  will say  that for the most part the aides and nurses did respond to  his call light in a timely  manner.

One aide,  in particular, left a lot to  be desired, from his treatment of my  husband  and his response times were not great, his laxness in this area and lack  of hand washing protocol  was a great concern.

 

Please understand a patient is in pain  and although  they  had been told of the back injury   it took at least a week for them to  address the situation ( it hadn’t been addressed at Mercy so  not on his record) , which  meant sitting in one position or laying ( when you  are partially  paralyzed) can be unbearable and since you  can’t move  the aides had to  do  it for him. This did cause “some ” of the aides  frustration and it showed.

Chris Ritchey Face book icon

 

There was  another aide  who also  needed to  be retrained or let go  in my  opinion.  I came into  find my  husband half in  and half out of the bed, the top  sheet wrapped around him and soaked with  water. Actually  I  had just walked into  the room with  one of the hospital administrators, so  she did witness the situation. She immediately  went to  work taking care of my husbands comfort. The aide , when she was called , said he spilled water on himself… remembering the jug was on a table  out of his reach and he was not able to  move his left arm at all, that scenario was very  unlikely. I looked at this aide and said:

“so  he spills a jug of water all over his bedding and you  leave him laying in it?”  

The aid turned to  me and said:

“SORREEEEEEE”( in a very  sarcastic tone)

I then turned to  the administrator ( names available) and said

“she is done I  don’t want her anywhere near my  husband

The administrators at the Cleveland Clinic Rehabilitation hospital did address my  concerns but as I  told them what stopped them from getting  great review  on the place as a whole in my  opinion  was 20 percent of their “aides”  and it was those 20  percent that  caused situations that should not have happened, but it is those situations you  remember .

HEALTHCARE IS A HUGE BUSINESS AND EVEN THOUGH  WE THE CONSUMERS ARE PRETTY  MUCH  AT THEIR MERCY (NO  PUN INTENDED) WE ARE STILL CONSUMERS PAYING FOR A SERVICE.

We were assigned one doctor for my  husband and he called in others as needed  such  as another cardiologist, ultra sound  etc.  The doctor was quite nice, spoke very  softly but with  a heavy  accent so  I  was once again forever asking him to  repeat what he was saying and every time he was in the room he was costing ( according to  the bills I  received) 350 to  500 dollars for up to  35 minutes. I should go  through  the dates to  see how many  times a day  but considering I received 74 pages of bills each  page having at least 5 charges on them I am honestly  too tired to  do  the homework.

The discharge date  ( the 19 days being almost up) I was given another list of this time 54 “skilled nursing facilities ” for the next part of the journey  and this time I  did have time to do  some homework……….. To  Be continued

 

Cleveland Clinic Rehabilitation Hospital gets a B plus…. it was an A minus  But then that C’diff situation  was made worse…… more on that as we continue….

 

 

 

May 27, 2019 at 10:02 pm 1 comment

Medical Care, a consumer’s perspective- Mercy Health – Lorain ( 2)

Part Onehttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/03/22/the-ratings-of-medical-facilities-series-it-begins/

Part Two- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/04/09/medical-care-from-a-consumers-perspective-ohio/

Part Three- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/04/22/medical-care-a-consumers-prospective-mercy-health-lorain/

Mercy Health — Lorain Hospital https://www.mercy.com/locations/hospitals/lorain

After hours of torment and worry , my  husband was in ICU- Mercy  Health , Lorain. The brain surgery  went well, now a matter of time.  I  have been in ICU’s more times than I  care to  remember , each  hospital a little different.

I have to  state here and now the  ICU nurses and team at Mercy were wonderful to  us. I cannot say  enough  about them , they  were so  caring and compassionate. The housekeeping staff who  cleaned  and cleaned would see me sitting in the small waiting room whilst tests and all things happening to  make my  husband comfortable were happening. I would see a hand reach  out and put down a cup  of coffee or fruit drink and a smile.

Yes, they  made things so  much  easier.

I really  had to  force myself to  think and stay  upright and ask questions of the myriad of people who would come in an out including physicians, physicians assistants, residents.

 

Indeed  on a few occasions I had no  clue as to  who  they  were , some not all introduced  themselves, very  businesslike  and with  a clipped manner  when answering my  questions or observations. In the end, I  learned to   ask  those questions of the nurses and they  would check  for me. When  dealing with  “one or two  of the physicians”  the answers were ensconced in medical terms  and a couple of times I  had to  have them repeat their answers  due to  heavily accented language I  found difficult to  grasp. That was something I also  had to  deal with  later on as well.

I wrote to  the CEO of Mercy ( Edwin Oley) after we transferred to  the Cleveland Clinic Rehab Hospital . I have copied parts of the letter and my concerns . I  have left out the physicians names  for this blog but they  were named in my  letter. Needless to  say  I  have not received any  response from Mercy  Health  Lorain ( not that I  expected  any    but “received and filed ” might have been polite at least :

Excerpts and notes  from the letter- February  12th 2019

For the attention of Edwin Oley, Mark Rau and Cheryl Rieves

Dear Mr. Oley,

I am writing today not only to thank the nursing staff for their excellent care, and also “housekeeping ladies” in the ICU who were so kind and helpful during our time of crisis and all but one of the physicians.

January 18th my husband had a fall – although his Doctors are at St. John’s West Shore we were taken to your ER. I have no complaints with the treatment there . He was admitted with a small brain bleed , which they felt would be absorbed and that is what looked like was happening. He was in ICU for a couple of days , then in general population and then sent to your REHAB unit. Again, I find no fault with the care, the nursing and rehab staff or physicians .

January 24th my husband suffered another major brain bleed in your Rehab unit ( on the right side of his brain) It was totally due to your response team , staff and Dr. XXXXX that my husband didn’t die, he literally was minutes away from that happening .

We were so grateful this happened IN the hospital had he been elsewhere he would have died. After major surgery he was sent back to CC11 in ICU – he was intubated and the care was wonderful . It was there I encountered Dr. PXXXX who did not impress me, I didn’t even know who he was and he certainly did not interact with me at all.

 

Wednesday January 30th my husband was finally able to come off the “tube” I must state here , my daughter and I had been putting in 15 hours shifts, trading off so one of us would be there , a terrible and emotionally draining time .

 

Six days after the surgery and two hours off the breathing apparatus I went home for a rest . I was woken by a Social Worker phoning me to explain “I would have to make a decision as to my plans for my husband “ I told her I have no plans he hasn’t even woken up – any plan I would have would be to get him sitting in a chair. She stated I would have to let them know and would leave a list of facilities in his room . which she did!

NOTE THIS IS THE LIST OF FACILITIES GIVEN TO  US BY  MERCY HEALTH  SOCIAL WORKERS!

 

 I want you  to  put yourself in our position, we had had a terribly  traumatic time very  little sleep for days  and we were given a list of 34 places  one of which   my  husband needed to  be transferred to  in coming days. We didn’t know “what his prognosis would be, if he had major brain damage and here is the list  “check them out…….( this certainly  was not helpful)

Saturday February 2nd My husband was moved to Tower two North– Once again hours after being in the new room I was sent another Social Worker – I had to make plans – he was still out of it and on a feeding tube and unable to swallow on his own . I reiterated I had no plans I couldn’t make an educated decision until I talked to my medical professionals who knew his history and were not in your network. I asked if this is rehab why couldn’t he stay at Mercy in the Rehab unit where he was initially – I was told flat out he would no longer meet the criteria of 3 hours daily . Dr. AXXXXXXXXXXX of Rehab would not accept him. I said well I am not making a decision until I know more.

Every day I was prompted by   staff as to my decision.

Tuesday February 5th – during rounds – Dr. PXXXX and a host of people came into the room . I had only had cursory glances with this Doctor – I didn’t even know why he was there, every other physician explained who they were and what their specialty was , including therapy professionals. The communication in that area was excellent.

 

During this particular round Dr. PXXXX informed me they would have to put a feeding tube in his stomach, and I would have to make plans as to where I was sending him. The Social Worker also reiterated when I asked:

 Why can’t he stay at Mercy Rehab after all I felt comfortable and they saved his life.

ONCE again I was told Dr. AXXXXXXXXXX wouldn’t accept him .

 

Dr. PXXXX said:

you have to decide and he needed “skilled nursing”

I said

No I need to talk to his Drs.- PXXXX informed me “transfer him to St. Johns , I said the insurance wouldn’t cover that as it would be a lateral move, I would  check out some of the facilities on this list and since I had been in the hospital for days on end I hadn’t had time . He informed me that once the feeding tube was in he would be ready to leave.

I suggested, it seemed to me they were doing that to   get rid of him.

Dr. PXXXX left the room whilst my daughter was asking a question re the stomach tube….. only to return and said AXXXXXX  MXXXXX ( name of local facility) !!!! I understand he some interest in that facility.

Actually the next morning ,my husband who finally woke up to some degree, pulled out the feeding tube from his nose, they couldn’t put in the stomach tube due to food in the esophagus and it was delayed until Wednesday at which stage he had been now moved to Cardiology .

He has AFIB and because they couldn’t feed him his heart medication in liquid form they moved him so they could give it in his IV. Whilst in Cardiology they once again tested his swallowing capabilities and he passed- no stomach feeding tube)

 

Again another Social Worker came in what were my plans ????I spent the next hours researching and pop in visiting these facilities –

I was told Mercy Allen had no beds available and I couldn’t give them a date anyway .

 

At this point in the epistle I would like to add that my husband has for the past 16 years has NOT been able to take Statin Drugs of any kind. In fact in ER we specifically stated and it was put on his wrist ALLERGY STATINS  HOWEVER, some Physician , whom I never heard of or spoke to PRESCRIBED LIPITOR- A STATIN which actually started to cause my husband issues.

My daughter stopped the nurse from giving the 2nd dose. After checking I found written in the note “QUESTIONABLE ALLERGY”) NOT ONCE DID ANYONE ( INCLUDING THE PHYSICAN ) ‘QUESTION THE FAMILY AS TO WHY THIS DRUG WAS NOT ALLOWED!

 Cardiology sent my husband back to 2 north

( NOTE: it was only  later at the Cleveland Clinic  I  found out my  husband had been prescribed  Lanoxin by  the same “unknown physician”. Had I  known  I  would have mentioned that  it was found in a previous “heart issue” Lanoxin did cause serious side effects with  him.. such  as paranoia , confusion ( remember that  for chapters two  and three of the journey. Again this is partly  due to  my  not remembering all the drugs he has had issues with  and the fact they  did not have access to  his full medical history

As I researched, Wednesday and talked to many people I decided on the Cleveland Clinic Rehabilitation Hospital – Avon. Their representative came an evaluated my husband late Wednesday evening . My daughter and I toured the facility on Thursday morning the 7th . We were very pleased with what we found . THIS FACILITY WAS NOT ON THE LIST GIVEN TO ME!  ( Note you  can see I  penciled it in on the list from Mercy  Health)

 

THEN IT STARTED – For days and days I was told Mercy would not accept him back into their rehab unit WHERE we had asked to go time and time again. BUT LO AND BEHOLD HAVING BEEN TOLD FOR OVER A WEEK NO!!!!! ALL OF A SUDDEN – OH WE WANT HIM HERE- HE CAN STAY PLEASE ! I had all sorts of staff and Directors etc – stating he COULD GO BACK to Rehab. I spoke to Rehab representatives who had found out that morning he wasn’t coming back –

Dr. PXXXX actually told the staff  I was sending my husband to a skilled nursing facility – which was NOT TRUTHFUL I hadn’t made up my mind at that point and was waiting to hear back from the Clinic. HE HAD NO BUSINESS SPEAKING FOR ME!!!! AND Dr. AXXXXXXXXX had not made any such determination as to my husband’s status as I was told by Rehab. Staff on Thursday morning .

 

The decision to leave was very hard we had received excellent care but what with the No Room at the Inn fiasco  and the pushing to leave and make other plans during a time of great distress for me and my family and the “statin” situation we have moved my husband. He is very weak but starting to respond.

 

My feeling is your facility fell down in not communicating to the family properly – social workers should give “all pertinent information”- in laypersons language and a full explanation as to why ( days of paper work etc) to families who are under stress as it is.

 

At least two of your physicians caused more harm, emotionally to the family and in one case could have caused other issues. Due to the protein treatments given in ER , to combat the Xarelto I informed them that within days he would get a major gout flare up ( Gout initially   due to statins after his open heart surgery in 2002. Which is WHY NO Statins) . He did get a Gout attack on the Wednesday Jan 23rd in Rehab, they drained the knee and gave him a cortisone shot but the damage was done.

Photo  source : https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Healthcare-professional-views-of-hospital-to-home-care-transitions_fig1_230565561

Why the 2nd massive brain bleed the next morning – well we aren’t sure, but REHAB staff saved his life and the fact he isn’t there today at your facility is entirely at the hands of administrative decisions poor communication between social workers and overriding a medical allergy without discussing why it was necessary with the family. Questions feel free to contact me……

I  don’t think  I  need to  go  into  further detail this letter pretty  much  said it all. And the cost so  far  for Mercy Health  –  is approximately  $70,000.00 and climbing .

 

Next Up  Cleveland Clinic Rehabilitation Hospital

 

 

April 29, 2019 at 9:59 pm 9 comments

Medical Care -a consumers prospective-Mercy Health Lorain

 

Part Onehttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/03/22/the-ratings-of-medical-facilities-series-it-begins/

Part Two- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/04/09/medical-care-from-a-consumers-perspective-ohio/

Mercy Health — Lorain Hospital https://www.mercy.com/locations/hospitals/lorain

Our particular health  care journey started with  a fall January  18th/19th 2019 and a call to  911  and a rescue squad. Since the patient, my  husband, had fallen and was unconscious for a few minutes it was decided to  take him the the emergency  room. In this case  although  our physicians and hospital of choice is St. John’s Westshore, the drivers  would only  take him to  the nearest ER.

29000 Center Ridge Road
Westlake, OH 44145
https://www.uhhospitals.org/locations/uh-st-john-medical-center
 The rescue squad insisted he be taken to  Mercy Health Lorain.
https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2018/02/22/mercy-health-merge-bon-secours-health-system/362456002/

In July 2016 – another fall had required a trip  to  the Mercy  Health Lorain ER. I was not impressed at all with  that particular visit, the ER at that time left a lot to  be desired, imho  and after three hours of not seeing anyone higher that a Nurse Practitioner  I  insisted my  husband be transferred to  St. John’s West Shore.

The diagnosis was very  serious  Rhabdomyolysis 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4365849/.

Many  days were spent in the hospital recovering from this health  issue and all the problems it entailed.

Needless to  say  a trip  to  the Mercy  Health ER in Lorain was not something I  relished, but I  knew I  could insist on him being transferred if worse came to  worse.  I  have to  say  I  was pleasantly  surprised in the difference from 2016.  We were seen quickly  by  a team of nurses and a physician ( not one lone nurse practitioner) and when the diagnosis of a small brain bleed an intracranial bleed   was determined.

A brain hemorrhage refers to bleeding in the brain. This medical condition is also known as a brain bleed or an intracranial hemorrhage.

I was relieved to  have a  Neurosurgeon who  was already  in the ER  come in an explain the situation. The fall had caused this small brain bleed but it was exasperated by  the fact that since 2016 my  husband was on the blood thinner  Xarelto

https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/rivaroxaban-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20075013

The ER “team” had to  use other meds in order to  lessen  and counteract the effects of the Xarelto. I had to  sign papers to  that effect. As I signed the required documents I read of the “proteins” that would be used.  This brought up  another problem … because all my  husband records were with  St. John’s and his UH physicians  the records at Mercy  were very  sketchy  and out of date.  Proteins being pumped in to  my  husband will cause ( within 4 days) an attack of gout.  Of course his doctors at UH  were aware of that  but I had to  inform the ER physician of this, I  think  he thought I  was  not at all to  be taken seriously  and the almost “pat on the head – there/ there” look crossed his face. Gout indeed?????

So  there you  are in the ER at 1 in the morning trying to  rack  your brain , as you  are worried and anxious as to  what this particular “team needed to  know” allergies, past medical history , medications he was on, when he last took anything, insurances  because Mercy  did not have access to  his patient information – they  are under a different system.

 

I  am sure they  thought I  was over stating the problems, gout and bad reactions to  statins, so  NO  STATINS- remember that because it does come back  to  haunt, both  the gout and the Statins.

This is something in my  opinion that needs to  be addressed. We  as a family  decided to  have him admitted to  Mercy  for observation, the bleed location was not operable and they  hoped it would be absorbed. The decision to  stay was based on two  reasons:

1. The Neurosurgeon  I  immediately  liked and felt comfortable with  and 2. that particular weekend there was a major  winter storm hitting the area and roads were closing.

Hindsight has confirmed that our decision to  stay  was indeed the right one.

A hell of a storm broke that morning and roads were closed. I  could not get out of my house for two  days. My  daughter and husband with  their large vehicle did manage.  Cat scans were done and all was progressing nicely . However, 4 1/2 days after he was admitted the “proteins” did do  their damndest   and a major gout attack  took place, blood pressure and pain were an issue. A doctor was called in to  give  a shot and to  drain the knee on that Wednesday  evening.

 

Early  Thursday  morning I received a call from the nurse at Mercy …

 

“my  family  had to  get to  the hospital right away – there had been a complication- my  husband had collapsed with  a massive brain bleed- we needed to  get there quickly”

By  the time we arrived at Mercy Health he was already  intubated and prepped for major brain surgery. He had had a massive subdural hematoma:

 

“People with a bleeding disorder and people who take blood thinners are more likely to develop a subdural hematoma. A relatively minor head injury can cause subdural hematoma in people with a bleeding tendency.”

  https://www.webmd.com/brain/subdural-hematoma-symptoms-causes-treatments#1

As luck  would have it the Neurosurgeon  that had inspired confidence in that ER was ready  to  operate . My  husband was rushed into  the operating room , we were told to call relatives etc. I  have to  say  the “rapid response team” of nurses and professionals were wonderful , they  did along with my  favorite neurosurgeon ( by  now)  saved his life that morning . 

Hours in the waiting room, moved to  ICU and prognosis iffy– the next 72 hours  would tell the tale …..

To be continued …………….

 

 

April 22, 2019 at 11:26 pm 3 comments

Medical Care – From a Consumer’s Perspective- Ohio

 

Photo Source :  https://revenuesandprofits.com/top-20-u-s-healthcare-companies-by-2016-revenues/

 

Part Onehttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2019/03/22/the-ratings-of-medical-facilities-series-it-begins/

 

The amount of money  spent “annually” in the United States on health  care  is, according to  Forbes Magazine

Americans spent $3.5 trillion on healthcare in 2017, adding up to 17.9% of GDP, nearly the same as 2016’s 18% share. Healthcare spending grew by 3.9%, the slowest it’s grown since 2013 and slower than the previous year’s 4.8%.

The main reason overall healthcare spending grew more slowly was because of less growth in the amount of healthcare services people used and in the use of fancier services like MRI instead of CT scans. This is one category called “use and intensity” and is what’s left over after the report authors at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services subtract out spending growth that is attributable to U.S. population demographic changes and healthcare prices going up.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/elliekincaid/2018/12/06/the-amount-americans-spend-on-healthcare-is-still-growing-but-more-and-more-slowly/#66d12d242eea

And you  can find a good article on the breakdown of those costs in this article by  the Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/12/27/the-u-s-spends-more-on-health-care-than-any-other-country-heres-what-were-buying/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d76a430d79f9

White Coat of Death by Chris Ritchey

My  point is: This healthcare industry  is a HUGE , unwieldy , money  devouring creature ,  as we spend  to  stay  alive, enjoy a “healthy ” life for longer .   Americans are paying through  the nose.  The healthcare “industry” from doctors offices, clinics, drugstore/ drugs, emergency  rooms, ambulance services  hospitals , nursing homes – they  truly  do have a lucrative business https://www.payingforseniorcare.com/longtermcare/statistics.html

Percentage of all federal domestic spending that goes to the elderly: 46%. Average annual health care costs for older Americans who earn more than $30,000 a year: $11,000 … Average cost to stay in a US nursing home for one year: $76,680.
and yet  the hourly  wage for a nursing home assistant according to
https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Nursing-Home-Rehabilitation-Facility/salaries
Average Nursing Home / Rehabilitation Facility hourly pay ranges from approximately $11.46 per hour for Dietary Aide to $19.00 per hour for Admissions Coordinator
Photo Source https://smithandjones.com/resources/blog/rise-of-the-healthcare-consumer
“The consumer movement is partly an age-related phenomenon. Each generation of patients has unique emotional triggers and motivations for how they choose care providers. Seniors (age 70+) still follow their doctors’ recommendations, but Baby Boomers (age 45-65) treat healthcare decisions more like consumers: they research their options, challenge assumptions and rely on conversations to make their choices. Young adults (age 20-45) are more inclined to shop around and show preference for healthcare brands; while they won’t admit it, they’re heavily influenced by great advertising, social networks and word of mouth recommendations.”
All the cost involved in healthcare  comes from “we the people”  in the form of paying for insurances, through  various programs, government, private and out of  our pockets – we pay  one way  or another . Therefore, it seems to  me the healthcare industry  needs to “listen to  their consumers”. That is probably  wishful thinking  because  we the consumers are a “renewable source” so not really  important in the business plans of CEOs or CFOs.
One woman and her blog is not going to  change a damned thing ( and they  know it) , but at least the information will be out there and some of the situations that needn’t have happened on my  family’s latest “health  journey” could be addressed, by  Medicare , the hospitals and skilled nursing facilities  we have dealt with  in the past  three months – after all someone’s life , happiness and health  were at stake  and we are paying for it- big time .
I will document the good the bad and the downright ugly from my  perspective as a CONSUMER, NOT a MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL……….
To  be continued……..

April 9, 2019 at 12:52 pm 5 comments

The Ratings of Medical facilities Series- IT BEGINS

These past weeks have been very  tough both  emotionally  and physically on this family. I  have not written anything for those weeks  except of course for the 3rd of the month  remembrances of my  son, Chris.

Hopefully  as we come to  the end of  “hospitalization” and I  am still in a state of hope that will end soon and we can move on to  healing at home and with  “out-patient therapy”.

Honestly   every  single day  since January  19th has been taken up  with  the health  issue , there has been no  room in my  life for  all things “Lorain”, blight, history , drug dealers  and housing courts and “less than ” judges  , slum lords,  or any  of the other 60 categories covered over the years on this blog.

I am lucky  if I  can get home , get something to  eat and fall into  bed. I  am too tired to  research  and weigh  in  on , Lorain City  school fiasco   https://www.forbes.com/sites/petergreene/2019/02/27/lorain-ohio-and-the-failure-of-school-takeover-policy/#47fa8004faa6     as I  have done in previous years , saving historical sites, attend any  of the meetings. I  was lucky  I  had a break  to  do  the tax papers for Charleston Village Society  Inc. – the “site” on 2nd and Oberlin has not  had my  attention at all, thanks has to  go  to  the volunteers and City  of Lorain Utilities for stepping in. I  haven’t even written our annual report for the website  but I  will.

the site today

I will focus on the three healthcare facilities we have personally  been involved with  since January  18th 2019

Mercy Health — Lorain Hospital https://www.mercy.com/locations/hospitals/lorain

3700 Kolbe Rd.
Lorain, Ohio 44053
Photo  Mercy  Health  website
 then the transfer  to  the Cleveland Clinic Rehab Hospital – Avon
for 19 days 2nd week in February  2019
33355 Health  Campus Blvd- Avon Ohio 44011
Photo – Cleveland Clinic Website https://my.clevelandclinic.org/locations/directions/415-cleveland-clinic-rehabilitation-hospital-avon
and currently since February  27th –
  Brookdale- Westlake Village Skilled Nursing /Rehab
28450 Westlake Village Dr. Westlake Oh 44145
https://www.brookdale.com/en/communities/brookdale-westlake-village/skilled-nursing.html
Photo Brookdale Website
I would remind readers of this blog  , as always :
these are my  personal opinions based upon my  personal experiences with  documentation and records where applicable”.
I will of course be sending the links to  these posts as they  happen to  the  administrative officers of all the facilities involved with  their chance for rebuttal or explanations and for their information.

Chris Ritchey Face book icon

The great , the not so  great experiences and the “need to  address issues” will be explored.  I am in no  way  shape or form  touting myself as a medical professional or even any  great knowledge of the medical field. However, I  have been involved , as readers are aware in many  issues on this site for the past 11 years including  “health  care issues galore in the past 10  years”   and I do  due diligence.
This is no different  except of course the toll it has taken personally.  I  have documented as we have traversed the “health  care system” made the notes  and tried to  be as unbiased  as much  as possible…… it will be noted when  my  frustration becomes personal 😉 .  The series will explore the treatment, the health  insurances, the family  responsibility  and after care.
And so  it will begin………………

March 22, 2019 at 1:31 pm 5 comments

March 3rd – The Rating – Chris Ritchey

ART WORK- CHRIS RITCHEY

It has been a short month  February  but one of the longest in other ways. We are now on our third  venue  with  regard to  “hospitals and rehab”. As we traverse yet another life changing road, I believe it is time to  rate the experiences.

Chris Ritchey Face book icon

Your hospital experience found me pretty  much  a novice and very  naïve, because your “bride” was part of the Cleveland Clinic System, Southpointe and Main Campus I  deferred to  her- a huge  mistake– I  will always believe that  to  be the case . That perceived mistake is not one I will ever make again.  Much  to  the irritation  of CEO’s, some Doctors, not so  much  the nurses,  but aides and hospital protocols I am involved more than just visiting at regular hour, I  am an advocate for “my  patient and loved one” and your sister  is just a younger version of me!

It is you  and your  strength  that has kept me , if not on an even keel  at least  afloat and once again it is anger that keeps me upright.

I know  the signs and I know you  are with  us on this journey , just as I  carried you  beneath  my  heart  and shared souls – that continues  as does my  love for you. I will write the story  of our latest journey , the Kudos, the positives and negatives of each  of the facilities – maybe others having similar journeys  will see the pitfalls and the solutions.

I love and miss you  more than ever ………

March 3, 2019 at 7:17 pm 2 comments

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