Mar. 18th, 2009

fictional: (dr. who family)
OMG, so happy to be out of the hospital. AND on the internets again.

So first of all, my dad is now home! He is recovering from the brain surgery really well. Every day I see more improvement; he can now stand on one foot again (though still a little wobbly) and his cognition seems really close to normal, aside from a little forgetfulness. He has definitely lost some vision, but as he says, if that's the worst side effect, they can keep his peripheral vision as a present, gift wrapped.

We are now waiting to hear from the oncologist (regarding the mass they've found in the lung; we need to do some scans to see where else the cancer has metastasized to, and what stage it's at, etc. etc. and what the treatment should be). We also need see the neurosurgeon for follow up visits regarding the brain surgery. (Every time I type or think or say brain surgery, I keep expecting it to end in a joke/maxim/cliche of some kind. It's weird.)

We are also dealing with insurance related fuckery. [Yes, we have now been dumped into the toxic waters of the American Healthcare System; IT IS EXACTLY AS CRAPPY AS EVERYONE ALWAYS SAID. Try to avoid, if possible.] The social worker at the hospital, Victoria [called Vicky; when she says it, you can HEAR that it is spelled "Vicki" -- 'i' dotted with a little heart, natch], was remarkably unhelpful to me in negotiating the insurance stuff [she also proved deficient in many other respects, including consistently showing up after four hours when she kept telling me she'd be there in ten minutes.] However the lovely and amazing [livejournal.com profile] faris_nallaneen who is a social worker of A Different Stripe Entirely spoke to her, and [because she is made of awesome] managed to uncover what she [Vicki] was refusing to tell us.

Vicki, you see, didn't want to explain things to me herself; she apparently thought it would be much better at this time for me to go to the social security office, and various other gov't offices to waste several days in hell, and get my answers there, in a much less clear fashion.

It turned out, as well, that she -- and many of the other hospital workers -- thought that we were a) indigent and desitute, b) could not speak English [even after speaking with all of us], and c) [because of these facts???] didn't need good quality care or assistance in navigating the system.
I mean, c'mon? Poor people? They don't deserve good care, right? It's just like natural selection, isn't it? [After I understood this, many previously unclear exchanges suddenly became comprehensible. For instance: Them: "You live in {area that is crappy/kinda ghetto/has govt. assisted housing projects}; Me: Um, no. My parents live in {neighborhood north of there; frankly kinda yuppified/gentrified}; Them: "Really? Are you sure?"; Me: "bzuh?!?!?!"1]

They assumed this apparently because we are a) BROWN and b) I spent most of my time at the hospital dressed with relative sloppiness [jeans & t-shirts etc.] This conclusion makes perfect sense because when you're spending nights in the hospital and your father has a BRAIN TUMOUR, you really feel the need to show up in heels and a suit. It's really comfortable when you're "sleeping" in a chair. Especially when there are catheters and blood gushing everywhere, and you're the one in the fucking barrel because you're an only child, and here you fucking are.

!!!

Let me not even start on the PASTORAL CARE people who would NOT leave us alone [her: "Hi... I speak... mostly English"; me (accentless for the record): "We speak English"; her: "Okay, I'll speeeeeak veeeereeeeyy sloooooowly. You're (looks me up and down) Catholic, right? You need (now loudly) A PRIEST? PRIEST? PADRE?"2] And the neuro ICU nurses, who I STILL want to stab in the brainpan, so they can experience their own care themselves and see how they fucking like it. Let's see how non-irritable they are. Charming!

HOWEVER it is not all terrible. My dad's neurosurgery team were AMAZING. Gorgeous hands, one and all, brilliant and thorough and quick and no nonsense, and all had good senses of humour. The resident at the first hospital, the one who rushed through the surgery, was so kind and so smart. (She was cute too, and Indian, and when I was dithering about going through with the surgery, she looked me straight in the eye and said, "if this were my father, this is what I would do." I believed her implicitly, and I'm so grateful.) The nurses in the regular neurology unit were so kind and competent and compassionate, that after the N-ICU people, I almost burst into tears at their awesomeness.

While I'm talking about awesomeness -- you guys! All your good wishes! I will reply to each and everyone, as soon as I have some more time; till then, please know I was touched to the heart by every single comment. Y'all rock so hard.

And as for the folks who've been going through this with me on this end, and helping so much, making food, helping me make decisions, doing driving and transport, communicating for me when I haven't been able to, taking time off from work, just chatting with me to keep my spirits up -- y'all know how much I love you.

Right now my dad's hovering over my shoulder, asking me if we can go on a walk to get him some potato chips. LOL. When I think of how he was on Thursday and Friday... it seems like a miracle. (An annoying, fiesty, curmudgeonly miracle who won't do what I tell him, and keeps trying to order me around and IS REALLY GETTING ON MY NERVES, but a miracle nevertheless.)

And now potato chips. Possibly also, (again as per his suggestion) a melon baller/ice cream scoop in case we need to scoop out any more defective head meat. Why hire other people to do what you can do yourself? Since we're going to be outside anyway.




1Yes. This really happened.
2This too. I kid you not.

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kali

August 2009

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