Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And the Question Is ???

Lately my days are exercises in coordinating various medical issues so complex it seems to rival a NASA space shuttle launch.  I am acutely aware of this because this morning the pharmacist called at 7:50 a.m. requesting the next supply order for my son's daily IV infusions.

I'm telling you, I don't do well before 8:00 a.m. with that sort of request; so I put him off saying I would call back in a short while.  Phooey!  I hate being asked complicated questions when I have not even had my second cup of tea.

My family all know this is a critical, even watershed, moment in my day.  I will never forget the time my granddaughter, S., cautiously approached me one morning when we were sharing a condo on vacation.  I had gotten up early and was enjoying a cuppa when she quietly and softly approached and asked, "Grandma, is that your first cup of tea or your second?"

She was only five at the time, but she already understood the critical difference in my response time and mental acuity, between walking around bumping into walls (no tea, yet), being able to form a coherent sentence, but without any real content (first cup) and actually being able to respond to a question with some logic (after my second cup).

Smart child.  Smarter, clearly, than the pesky pharmacist this a.m., although admittedly I don't know him all that well, and have no wish to do so.  However, as with many other health care professionals these past months, we have become, if not buddies, certainly more than nodding acquaintances. 

If politics "makes for strange bedfellows" - then health problems make for "strange alliances".  For example, I must remember to inquire about the vacation - last week -  of the front desk lady at the clinic this week, when we go to see the doctor. This tenuous bond with the receptionist allows for a little flexibility on her part when we are scheduling appointments, which can be pretty daunting when you factor in all the other issues K., my son, has going on.

K. is attached - with a kind of "umbilical cord" (although no where near his belly button) to a machine called a wound vac.  This involves the cyclical ordering of two different types of supplies.  They are supposed to arrive automatically on a set schedule.  They do not.  Then I must call a sales rep in Where-ever-ville, New York to request supplies.  They may or may not arrive within one day or one week.  You never know.

Then we have the PICC (peripheral intravenous central catheter) which is placed in his upper right arm (previously one was in his left arm - guess next time they will stick it in his ear) which accommodates his daily IV infusions.  This involves supplies so complex I have lists and schedules and a matrix analysis.

I am not a nurse, I'm just a mom.  Nevertheless, I now know the difference between a dispensing pick and a port attachment. I can calculate the ratio of dispensing picks to saline solution bottles, and adjust the syringe order to take into account the number of those the home nurse, who comes to draw blood each week, will also use.  She uses five from the supply order and did not tell us this, until we ran out one morning just as we were preparing to do his infusion.  Oh, swell.

I know to instruct the pharmacist to include a bio med patch for the dressing change in the PICC line dressing kit.  Why it does not come automatically, I have never been able to deduce.  But it does not.  Without it there is increased risk of infection in the placement sight - which goes directly to his heart, for crying out loud.

Then there are the home health nurses, the wound clinic personnel, the doctors, the MRI technicians, the PICC line placement specialists, and on and on and on......

I realize, if you have read this far, you must be cross-eyed by now.  I'm with you.  Thus you may understand my pique this morning when the pharmacist called before 8:00 a.m. - and not insignificantly before my second cup of tea - foolishly requesting me to provide him with a full blown IV infusion supply order!

He has some nerve.  And he has no idea what kind of chance he was taking in intruding into my morning tea ritual.  Oh, well, "fools rush in where angels fear to tread" - don't they?

Right now, I need a third cup of tea, as it is shaping up to be that kind of morning.  The pharmacist can wait.  I'll phone Randy/Roger/Raul/Robert, whatever the heck his name is, when I can think.

Right now, I hear the tea kettle whistling.  Ahh sweet sound, wherein I know help is on the way.
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Hope your day began better than mine did.  And that no one named Roger/Raul or whatever called you with a complicated question before 8:00 a.m.  Until next time ....Marsha


  1. Oh I definately need my cup of tea in the morning. Danny (hubby) can get up and be as bright as a button in the morning. Some mornings I can hardly stand it lol.
    Hope your day gets better :))

  2. No one should call at that time of the morning unless it's an emergency!
    Wound vacs are a wonderful thing. I've just had 2 patients have their wounds healed while using them, but they are quite a trial as far as keeping supplies and getting them in time!
    Hope your day improves!

  3. I wish I knew something medical to encourage you but all I have are prayers and lots of love for you and yours. Hang in and hunker down!

  4. I hear ya.

    I need two mugs o' hot, very strong joe second thing in the mornin'. Don't talk to me. I'm a morning person but you'd never know it before that second mug (I said MUG---not CUP).

    Presently I am dealing with insurance companies, trying to change insurers. Try THAT on a caffeineless tummy.

  5. What a priceless comment....."Is this your first cup of tea or your second?"

    Prayers that your day gets easier. I think I am going to make me an afternoon cup of tea. The power of suggestion.......

  6. Wow- I do hope and pray things get easier, for you and your son. What an admirable job you are doing for him in coordinating and facilitating all these complex aspects of his care.

  7. So many details to attend to, so much to do. The coordinating of supplies is no easier even in a hospital but needing them at home is more a worry for your loved one.
    As for the mental acuity in the a.m. I'm right there with you!!

  8. I hope things start improving for you soon. And I will know to approach you with great respect and trepidation early in the morning... Hang in there my friend.

  9. I hope that wound heals soon. You are doing a great job with all you have to do. Hope the rest of your day was better after that second cup.

  10. Well, what a relief to know that I am not the only person with a morning-handicap! :)
    Thanks for all the prayers and good wishes.
    Have a good day - Marsha

  11. My sweet spouse is an ordained musician-minister who plays his sax over people who are ill or in need of something from God. It is a new dimension of personal worship for us and the folks involved. I am a nurse so I have an understanding of the difficulty you are facing. I am a mom so that understanding deepens. There is a tenor sax solo in your teacup today, rising to Heaven like fragrant steam full of prayers and thanksgiving. Kat LaMantia

  12. I would need more than 2 cups of tea to face the day if I had on my schedule what you have. I can't imagine how hard your days are and moving house as well. You are super hero. I hope there is a light and a cup of tea at the end of the tunnel. I am not dependent on a cup of tea in the morning, but I need a walk and a shower before my brain kicks in.