A Day in the life
As I was going through my documents to prepare for meeting with our
representatives in Congress, I saw this story. I had written this for a
freelance job, but it was not published.
On this day, I am now fifty-one and my aunt has moved up into heaven as of
two years ago. This piece illustrates what many caregivers go through. Now I
just care for my husband and my senior citizen dog, Ted. My son is now twenty
four and he is self-sufficient and we are proud of him.
I woke up before my alarm after about four hours of straight sleep. My eyes
felt a bit grainy as if I needed to go back under for a couple of hours.
However now that I am forty-six, I am like a senior citizen.
Once the sun is up, I am awake. I am close to eating my dinner at 3pm as
well. Hahaha. I got up and saw that my husband left a bottle of medicine next
to my side of our sink vanity in the bathroom. That means he needs a refill. I
get him to wake up after he put on his pain patch as it makes him very sleepy
for the first hour or two. We eat our breakfast and then it is time to blaze
the road to the VA in Temple, Texas. It is about an hour drive from our home,
and we allow extra time because there is ALWAYS construction or some idiot
tying up the road which is only 2 lanes during some of the drive.
The appointment with the doctor went fine and the doctor ordered lab work,
which is routine for my husband with his myriad of health issues. We go to the
desk. He asks the clerk if he was having a good day and he just stares at my
husband as if he has 3 heads. My husband is hard of hearing due to the brain
injury he suffered. I looked at the clerk and said, “Did you hear him? My
husband asked if you were having a good day.” I smiled at him, as I know
most of the employees are nice, are overworked, and underpaid. He looked at me
stonily as if I were asking him if he would like me to pull his fingernails
We walked away. Then we went to the Travel line, where the VA reimburses you
mileage if you must drive over a certain distance. It is not a tough process
and I think it is pretty awesome they do that. The woman behind the window
responds happily to my husband’s query as that is his greeting to everyone we
see behind a desk.
Three hours later, we are eating lunch and its go time to get back to our
home as he had a civilian doctor’s appointment. At this stage of the game, we
use more civilian providers for things as the offices are only 5-30 minutes
from our home, which causes less physical discomfort for my husband.
I had to drop mail off at the Post Office and then we get to his doctor. By
this time, I am yawning a bit and my brain is screaming for some good dark
Columbian coffee. We get through this appointment, and we walk in the door. My
elderly aunt calls me, telling me her nebulizer broke. She uses that for
breathing treatments and she has end stage lung disease. I start mentally
panicking as I think where I am going to get one of those, it is the end of the
business day, and it is Friday. Then I see my husband’s empty pill bottle in
front of me.
It was a Friday afternoon, and the pressure was on. Was I going to be able
to reach his doctor’s office in time to get the authorization necessary so he
would have his medicine over the weekend? Was I going to be able to find my
86-year-old aunt the equipment she desperately needs? I email the doctor’s office
for my husband and call them on the phone to light them up. I call my aunt’s
oxygen supply company thinking since they provide air, they must provide
nebulizers. They do not.
I start calling the local pharmacies around our area and find out that
Medicare only will pay for them with the bidder in the area that won the bid
for durable medical equipment. What? How would an elderly person who does not
use the internet figure this out? Thank God for Google as I googled, “Medicare
provider for equipment in Hutto TX” and there it was, the golden goose of
supply companies. I call her doctor after talking to the supply company as I
cannot buy the nebulizer for her without a prescription for it.
I look at the clock and its 5pm. My heart is pounding as I think about all
the deadlines and things outside of my control. My phone rings and it is my
aunt, telling me her nebulizer is fine and it just had a tube unplugged. I
laughed so hard. My phone pings, telling me the prescription is ready for my
husband. Like a boss, I roll through the drive through and pick it up, crisis
I got home and as soon as I walked in the door, the dog told me he needed to
go outside and take care of his business. As we were walking down my street, I
breathed in deeply and took in the fresh air and looked at the flowers I saw in
front of the various homes on my block. I listened to the birds happily
chirping and saw a Cardinal fly in front of us.
It was a gorgeous day. I put out all the fires I had to and chuckled to
myself at how close the timing was. After we finished his walk, I made myself a
cup of coffee and sat on my porch and relaxed. I read a book and mentally
unwound and re-wired myself at the same time, thanks to my Columbian friend.
What a day. Always an adventure.