Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Needlenoggin's Update (Part 1...through Thursday)

Wow. Let me tell you, I hate red tape. Now, for those of you who know me, this will not surprise you. However, I hadn't really realized how badly the health care system in this country treats poor people, no matter how deserving of care, is beyond me. I mean, Needlenoggin had a job when this happened, but didn't have health coverage because of his previous accident in December, so he's got to wait for Medi-Cal to approve him so that he's not out the hundreds of thousands of dollars his bills have stacked up to just from the ambulance and the first hospital.

Alright, so on Thursday we went down to his center to discuss his discharge plan, figure out his equipment and see what everyone had to do to go abut getting him home. Turns out, especially with his Medi-Cal and CASDI applications still pending (2 weeks after they should have been approved), that his discharge plan was this:

1) He will be provided with a manual wheelchair (that he cannot push due to his broken arm).
2) He will be waiting on the curb for me to pick up on 9/17 (three days after we've been allowed access into the new apartment and 3 days after Julian has come home from the hospital).
3) He will have no lift (to transfer him from his bed to his chair and back), since Medi-Cal has not yet processed.
4) He will have no hospital bed, since Medi-Cal has not yet processed.
5) He will have no shower chair to bathe in, since Medi-Cal has not yet processed.
6) Even though he cannot use a manual chair at all now and won't be strong enough to use one full-time for a long, long time, Medi-Cal will not be paying for an electric wheelchair for him.
7) Even though he will need medications given to him, help getting in an out of bed as well as assistance with all of his self-care and daily-living (at least temporarily), they will not be sending him a a care-giver. I can be trained to do all of these things (sometime between now and the 17th), and in the next 4 to 6 weeks he may be able to get In Home Support Services to come up with funds to hire someone (although they pay very, very little), but that won't be until he is home for a few weeks, and cannot be applied for until Medi-Cal has processed.
8) No, the will not keep him 2 extra weeks until I and Julian are healed from surgery.

We also found out that he has a picket of spinal fluid that has built up in his back, and is causing him to lose sensation in his C8 and T1 registers, and that he is considered impaired at C8 and T1 on one side now. Oh, and he's lost sensation on one whole side of his body, even though he had feeling there when he transferred in. They've apparently been aware of the growing pocket of fluid, but haven't dealt with it because the surgeons at Valley don't want to step on the toes of the surgeons at Highland, and even though they've tried contacting his surgeon through the one pager number they have, have not looked up other phone #s for him, or even his real name, nor have they called me and requested this info. I didn't even know about the fluid issue until Thursday at the meeting.


It was nice to see him, though.

(BTW, that shirt I bought him was designed by QuadAntics, a designer on cafepress who makes humorous wheelchair items. It reads, "This is not a wheelchair. This is a fully operational battle station.")