Friday, July 17, 2009

The Battle of Oxford

Never heard of this battle? Well, it concerns my father vs Oxford Health Care. Our story begins when I began to notice that the caregivers, (Dad and Christine), were both getting pretty cranky. (lightly stated) Evidently the stress was getting to them and I knew it was only going to get worse in just two weeks time when the entire Brock/Stebbins family leaves for Galveston for a week and Dad is alone with Mom. When we return, Christine and I will both begin school, as will Devri, so the visits we have been able to provide through the week this summer will be coming to an end. After getting grudging permission from Dad to "check into" home health care, I found what I thought was a good program. An LPN could come to the house for four hours, twice/week and would help Mom get through her shower and dressed, and also would clean house, do laundry, fix lunch, run errands, take her for walks, and encourage Dad. I knew this would de-stress Christine a little bit when she is away at school/work, and I hoped Dad would be able to leave the house to visit friends, or do chores outside without trying to contain Mom simultaneously. I also hoped he might get a nap in. Mom has started getting up around 3:30-4:00 a.m. and moving to the couch, so Dad has been following her out there and getting very little sleep, no doubt contributing to his irritability. The cost would be $17/hour, which calculates to $68/visit.

So, I introduced the idea to Dad and got an immediate and adamant refusal. He didn't need any help, whatsoever. The reason he brought up, primarily, was that it was too expensive. This is also from the man who refuses to buy lettuce for the same reason. I smirked. I knew that someday we would need some nursing help if we are going to be able to keep Mom at home and it made sense to me to set it up now, rather than wait until everybody has a nervous breakdown.

The final result is that I made Dad mad, but he agreed to have someone come out on Mondays for the next two weeks and then made a decision as to contuing or cancelling. He still thinks it's too expensive and that he doesn't need any help, but he agreed to this concession just to shut me up. The first week I will go and meet the home health aide and the second, she will come while we are on vacation and Dad is there by himeslf. The nurse who sets up the whole program came to the house yesterday to meet Mom and Dad, (and I), assess what the needs were, and fill out paperwork. She was a funny lady who dad enjoyed, which helped, and she talked straight with him saying, "You cannot get down," and suggesting taking a break was a step in protecting his own health. So, although I'm disappointed that it doesn't appear he will take a break, (rather go nuts alone than stay sane with help), we are in the system so if something comes up and we suddenly do need help, (like if Dad were to get sick or something,) we are set up and ready to go. We just have to call and say, "Please send someone out."

Mom appeared to enjoy meeting the lady. She smiled at her a lot and nodded, sitting at the table with us while the lady typed information into the computer. Her eyes that were previously dull and bored perked right up when she walked in. Mom even situated her chair around the lady's shoulder so she could watch her type, still smiling. You know what a social creature Mom doubt she's dying of boredom being at home with no social outlet. I guess. Who knows. She sure was perky, though, during the entire visit. And the lady was a hoot who joked around with Mom as if there were nothing at all out of the ordinary going on. That was refreshing.

We'll see how it all works out. But this is the second time Dad and I have knocked heads....the first time was when we put locks on the doors. He ended up thanking me for them, but this time.....he's a hard sell. Always ready to help everyone else, but when it comes to himself...."It's too expensive." Why does he have to be so darn good?

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