Friday, November 21, 2008
Back in SF
Here's another view from Dad's hospital window. We arrived back in San Francisco last night, after a call from Dad saying that he was being sent back to the Reno hospital, and that the SF VA would handle the transport, but that they had to wait for a bed. We decided to drive down, but joked that Dad might not be there by the time we arrived.
Instead, it's now clear that we'll be here at least until Monday, and quite possibly longer. Dad's had neither surgery nor catheterization -- on the grounds that the first would involve replacing two valves, for which he isn't strong enough, while the second wouldn't accomplish anything at this point -- so they're ready to send him back to Reno. The question is where and how, since they've decided that he doesn't need to be in the hospital anymore.
If he goes home, we have to drive him, a prospect that fills both me and Gary with alarm verging on terror. He's been choking a lot: what if he chokes in the car? What if he passes out when we're in the mountains fifty miles from the nearest hospital?
But he may not go home. He may go to a Skilled Nursing Facility, or SNF, pronounced "sniff." The physical-therapy and occupational-therapy people have evidently recommended two weeks of rehab, and Gary and I think that's a good idea, although Dad's less than thrilled by the prospect.
Dad's very nice doctor told us that if he goes to a sniff, she and the social worker will try to arrange transport, but that I should be trying to make my own arrangements in the meantime. The respiratory therapist told us that if he gets sent to a sniff, he'll definitely be transported by van. Whom should we believe? I guess we'll find out when he's ready to leave.
Meanwhile, when a bed in a stepdown unit becomes available in the SF VA, he'll be transferred there to free up the acute-care bed he's currently in. On Monday, the OT and PT people will reevaluate him. If they decide he can go home, we all leave Monday. If they opt for the sniff, Arrangements Must Be Made, which could take until Wednesday.
My dad's depressed about hanging around his hospital -- despite the gorgeous view of the ocean -- and he hates the idea of the sniff. Gary and I are hoping fervently for the sniff, both because of the transport issue and because we don't think he's ready to go home yet, even with home healthcare. It hasn't escaped our notice that the VA flew him out here for procedures that weren't available in Reno, and then didn't even do the procedures. *Sniff.*
Meanwhile, here's a photo my sister sent me of our mom when she was about to go home from the hospital. Mom's been told that she needs a new heart valve but won't be getting it because she's too old to be a good surgical candidate. Does this sound familiar? She refused to go to a nursing home for the physical therapy her doctors have recommended, even though she's been falling a lot, and even though the stairs in my sister's house are so steep that they make me nervous when I'm on them. So Mom's home now; my sister says she's doing okay in some respects but not in others, but I don't have details.
So that's the news. I'll post an update if anything changes (which it seems to be doing every five minutes, in through here).
Thanks to everyone for the supportive comments. I'm sorry I haven't had time to answer them individually!