Friday, March 30, 2012
What would you change...
There has been some concern that Riley’s heart may be experiencing erratic beats. His blood pressure has also been a bit erratic. So I took him to the primary care doc to get it checked out. The result was that he found nothing wrong. They didn’t do an EKG, they just listened with the stethoscope.
OK. I was good with that. There was nothing wrong… except… something just didn’t feel right. I told both the doc and the PA that I wanted to make sure his heart was healthy enough to withstand the stress of detox. I wanted to put him into a long term care facility, but he would have to detox first.The response: EVERY alcoholic is healthy enough to detox at ANY time. ALL alcoholics should detox no matter how bad their health is.
After the statement, they turned and walked away from me. They said I should call if I need anything else. Uhhh --- I need something else. I need respect and an open mind. How about that? Do they have any of that in one of those little locked cupboards in the supply room? I think not. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt this way while in their office. Hmmmmmm…. I think that nagging little feeling was telling me that it was time for a new primary care doctor.
I took Riley into my cardiologists do an EKG and give me a second opinion on the healthiness of Riley’s heart. The EKG showed nothing amiss. However, an EKG doesn’t give a true picture of the health of the heart. The only way to determine if the heart has been worn down is to do an echocardiogram. That will be performed on Tuesday. Riley will also get a halter to monitor his heart over a space of 24 hours.
In the meantime, the bath aide discovered Riley has an open bleeding sore in the crack of his butt cheeks. This is caused by not changing his diaper often enough and him not cleaning his butt. He has diaper cream that he is supposed to be using, but it seems as much as he insists he is using it – he is not. If I can’t keep this sore clean it will certainly become infected. Riley is very resistant to me helping him with any of his personal hygiene and that’s why we have a weekly bath aid. Weekly isn’t going to work. He needs daily supervision that will insure he treats this sore so it can heal. The type of infection from the location of the sore – can be deadly very quickly.
Gil, has been spending a lot of time trying to find an VA long term care facility that will accept Riley for detox. He has called every place and every one he knows. There is no help coming. The VA would have to admit him to a substance abuse program that is long term which would start with a medically supervised detox. No place will take him because he openly states he will resume drinking as soon as he is through detoxing. He can’t just go to a facility (any facility) for long term care if he does not detox first. Since he doesn’t want to detox or go to any facility – there is nothing I can do to force this issue. Gil thinks it’s really an insurance issue – insurance companies don’t want to pay for lost causes.
I don’t know if getting guardianship is going to be the answer either. I’m his wife with a full power of attorney, so my question to my readers is – Do I need to get guardianship? And exactly what will it do for me?
Last month, I talked to the Magistrate about having Riley committed as being a danger to his own person and others. The Magistrate wasn’t enthusiastic about the whole idea. All that does is get him put into the back of a cop car and taken to a hospital for evaluation. After that, a determination will be made as to what is in his best interests. I don’t want him treated like a criminal. I suppose I can take this route – but it will be my last resort.
What I need is a personal aide for Riley who will come in and help with his hygiene and the cleanliness of his personal space. He will not allow me to tend to his sore and gets belligerent when I try to take care of his room. But, when a stranger comes in, he is cooperative. But – I can’t afford it.
The application to the Veterans Administration for disability compensation can take up to six months to process. It can take more than six weeks just to get an appointment for a VA sanctioned evaluation.
If the only issue were all the other alcohol related diseases, I would say – OK, if the app is approved before he dies, I can get some help in here while he is dying. I truly believe he has another six months before he dies from just the alcohol and once I get the app approved, I can afford to hire someone to maybe extend that life just a little longer. But now, with the new sore on his butt, I don’t have that much time. If this sore becomes infected, Riley could be dead in less than a month. It would be a shame for him to die because I couldn’t get him proper care when I can see it is just out of reach.The good Senator from North Carolina, Richard Barr, is on my list of people to call today. When I went to his website I found information about how he supports health care improvements for veterans. I want to ask if there is any way he can put a rush on Riley’s application. After all, I have provided all the civilian medical records and information. That’s one step they won’t have to deal with. I don’t think we are any more special than anyone else, it’s just that I’m quickly running out of options here.
Even if my phone call doesn’t end up helping Riley, maybe it will bring to attention the fact that there is a big disconnect in help for caretakers such as myself. Maybe there should be more “wet house” types of facilities where drunks can live out the rest of their lives as drunks without inflicting their insanity on others while being monitored for things like broken arms or sores on the butt. Maybe substance abuse centers should have to take any drunk requesting admission even if he says he doesn’t want to stop. After all, isn’t that why Interventions are done?
I get close to 800 hits daily on this site. All of you have an opinion. If I could get my thoughts together and get a petition started on changing how caretakers and drunks are treated, what would you want to see on that petition? How would you like to see things change? Is it more required education for the medical community? Should a different criterion be established to get drunks into detox/rehab? A program that gets the caretaker in-home help when reaching the end of the drunks mortality? What would you want me to lobby for, if I was to go in that direction – which is apparently where I am headed?
at 8:42 AM