Friday, June 10, 2016

Changes: Dealing with an elderly parent (6/10/16, part 5)

June 10th, 1:51 PM: I'm sitting at my computer where I've been since a few minutes after 8:00AM. My phone is dead, having run down from hours of calls, information-gathering, and questions. This morning I began the process of trying to find a neurologist that the hospital doctor had advised she needs.....of course, in my naive and uninformed state, I had no idea how difficult that would be.

First I spoke to mom who immediately launched into a tirade of how she wasn't going to a doctor anytime soon and if she did it would be one she chooses. I know I've heard that you can't reason with dementia....right? So does that mean I shouldn't respond when she says things like this? I attempt to ignore it, and instead gradually ask some questions about her regular family doctor, etc. Since her goal in life is to keep information from me and not let me know anything, she changes her story pretty often just to make sure I can't ever get the whole picture. I jot down the names she mentions, answer the same questions for her again and again and when she complains about how hot the house is I remind her to check to make sure the air conditioning is on. (because just last week she was running the heat and it was 85 degrees in the house)

I google the family practice where it appears the doctor she sees hasn't been there in ten years. I call anyway and learn she was there in 2014 but not only is there no paperwork on file giving me permission to speak with the doctor, there are no emergency contact listed at all. Neither of us are on the account; I ask how we fix this and the receptionist offers to mail out the form. Knowing that mom will fly into a rage if she sees it before I can explain, I ask her to mail it to me instead but apparently it has to go to the address on file. So if I can get to the mail next week before mom does I guess I have a chance....?

The receptionist explains we don't need a referral to see the neurologist and gives me several names of nearby practices. I start calling and learn the wait is two to three weeks for an appointment....but, by a stroke of luck there is a cancellation for Monday morning...if only the correct information can be provided. I beg the lady on the phone to hold the appointment and I will call right back with the insurance info that is required. I call and cancel my own medical appointment which was for Monday, and then get back in touch with mom for details.....dredging for the details on insurance is challenging but it looks like I might have it all.

I redial the neurologist's office and ask for the Monday morning slot, only to find out it's been given away. Ok. There is one two weeks out, we will take it, here is the info. Oops, a glitch; I didn't know that Medicare is considered her primary, not the Blue Cross/Blue Shield and this practice isn't taking on any new Medicare patients without doctor's authorization. What does that mean? Well, it looks like we need a note from the last doctor who said that, meaning the one from the hospital. Who can't really speak to me because mom refused to authorize that. So....we can't make the appointment? I'm told no, that's not possible. I'm feeling like crying. The receptionist backs out of the system since she's unable to set mom up at this time. It's been six hours of trying to set anything up and I'm back to square one.

UPDATE 5:30PM: I just got a call back from the contractor who has done some work on mom's house. She thinks it will be a couple of hundred.....and it's actually $5,000. She had part of the roof replaced! Getting more annoyed that the hospital let mom out AT ALL. She has no clue where she's been, she won't do anything she was told to do and I just found out she's refused to pay people who came and did work on the house already.... but my hands are tied. I can do NOTHING at this point due to her paranoia and memory loss. How the hospital saw fit to let her go is beyond me....

"Life on Delmarva" • #delmarvausa