Friday, October 17, 2008

The infection of a triplegic

Sorry it has taken so long to get things updated. Life around here has been nuts since Needlenoggin came home, with doctors' appointments nearly every day, my school about ready to start back up and moving everybody in to the new home. This update covers him through about 10/25.

So, let's start with the title, huh?

Needlenoggin came home on 10/4, and had his first check up at the GP (back at Highland Hospital, as they're the only place around here that takes MediCal). We get in, are made to wait for an hour and a half, and then are ushered in to see Dr. "F-is-for-fail." (Can ou tell how well this is going to go?) Anyway, Dr. F sits down with Needlenoggin and I and I hand over all the prescriptions Needlenoggin is taking that need to be refilled, and say how glad I am that he got an appointment so quickly. Dr. F looks at me, rolls his eyes at the Rx papers, and then opens his BLANK manilla envelope, looks over at Needlenoggin and asks, "So, why are you here?"

Ummmm... Needlenoggin is too shocked to respond, so I start to fill te guy in. :I didn't ask you," he grumps. Yeah, I know. But Needlenoggin's memory is shot and he doesn't know the dates he was here, so maybe you should listen to me. Turns out, the guy hadn't picked up any of Needlenoggin's records from down the hall at Medical records, his fax machine was broken, so he'd never received the ones from Valley, and he had NO IDEA who my brother was or what was wrong with him.

He agrees to refill the Rx forms for one month, then makes an appointment for us to come back in December, and tells us he'll need the records before he can refill the scripts further. To re-cap, "Here's 30 days of meds. Come back in 60 days to talk about getting more." Oh, and then he changes Needlenoggin from Percoset over to Vicodin (for breakthrough pain) without asking why or even telling us he was doing it (just wrote a different script) and writes for all EXCEPT Needlenoggin's anti-anxiety medication. When we ask for that one as well, he tells Needlenoggin, "If you're going to be my patient, I'm going to take you off of that," agrees to write a VERY temporary script, and says, "He looks fine to me, so I don't think he needs it."

Really, you got all of that from not wanting to talk to me, a few words from Needlenoggin and your what, gut feeling? Idiot.

Wen we get his little form back, we realize he's written Needlenoggin's diagnosis on it. "Hemiplegic."

Well...he is only half paralyzed, so I guess that could be an honest mistake. See, Needlenoggin is a PARAplegic, which means his paralysis affects the lower half of his body. In HEMIplegia, the paralysis is on the right or left side, and is usually due to a stroke, not an accident.

Two days later, we realize that Needlenoggin has a UTI, a very serious condition in paraplegics, so we make another appointment with Dr. F in order to get an antibiotic. Well, first I tried to get the doc from Valley who wasn't a moron to prescribe one over the phone, but she wanted there to be a urinalysis first, so he'd get the right drug, and sent us back to Dr. F. Fine. We get in there on 10/16, and and he still didn't have Needlenoggin's records, and addressed him as a quadriplegic, while Needlenoggin was holding a clipboard in his left hand and writing with his right. That would signal, at least to me, that maybe all 4 of his limbs aren't paralyzed. So, Needlenoggin and I coined the phrase "Tri-plegic" for the imaginary diagnosis Dr. F gave him.

At this appointment, Dr. F had written a script for some random antibiotic and sent Needlenoggin out the door before I've even parked. He DID order a urinalysis, but wrote the Rx first.


Which brings me to that whole drama.

Without pre-authorization, MediCal will only fill 6 medications. Needlenoggin takes 8 all the time, so we had to pay for 2 drugs ($160 and up per drug per month) while they think about covering them. Then he gets this antibiotic, and it's #9, so we have to pay for that one, too. The state of California REALLY is trying to kill poor people.

Alright, lastly, when we called Highland to check on the time for his Neurosurgery appointment on 10/15, we were told he didn't have one. Then, we got yelled at by the MediCal processing board ("We won't cover him if he skips appointments") and Highland for missing it. Grrr. We were told that "around 10/22" we'd be called for an appointment in San Jose to get this brace off, but they forgot to put him on the schedule, so it looks like it can come off in January, when they can see him.

Oh, and there's still no help from IHSS, no word on his California State Disability Insurance, and no SSI. I've hired a nurse to come in part-time to help me out, but I'm having to pay the guy out of pocket, so he's only in for a couple of hours in the evening for the most medical-labor-intensive parts of the day, but I'm going a little bit nuts. I must get two dozen phone calls a day, and no one is calling with good or helpful news.

Oh so here's a nifty picture of the back of his neck:

That's from the spinal fusion and the exploratory drain surgeries in July and August. C'mon, it's a cool scar.

Little Monkey's Helmet!

So, the first one that was ordered was too large (looked like the poor kid had a colander on his head) but the second one is here, and it is wonderful. Here he is, grinning away (as usual):

A good thing, too, as he's started to crawl AND to cruise from person to person as if he's in any way allowed to be mobile. Seriously, the thought of him clanging that HUGE soft spot into anything sharp or hard, or of Rorysaurus catching him with a sharp elbow or toy...anyway, the helmet is wonderful.

He's also got FIVE teeth and is cutting a sixth, so he's been grumpy and tired and nursing ALL THE TIME, but he's still loving and cuddly, just very, very needy.