When the year started out, I had high hopes of beginning to blog on this site on a regular basis, but that quickly went away. It was not that I did not suddenly want to continue blogging or that I got lazy.
Back in December 2012, my father had a stroke down in central Florida and I wound up basically moving to the area my parents were located with my father’s situation coming to be the focal point of my life for the next several months.
After my father’s basic physical health situation was stabilized, he was moved from various units at the hospital that provided him care, starting out of course in the Emergency Ward, where he did lay in an ER bed for nearly four days before being moved to the ICU. This situation was due to the fact that the hospital located at The Villages had become too small to handle the large number of patients they deal with thanks to the explosive growth of the retirement community to which they had moved, but we got past that rather quickly.
Overall, in spite of the huge volume the hospital deals with, the quality of care they provided was of high quality. They do have plans to both expand the size of the hospital and to eventually build a new one. They are also undertaking a new model of health care, establishing a series of localized “prime care” clinics throughout The Villages area that will handle residents regular and preventative health care needs and even some limited emergency situations.
After a few days in the ICU, my dad was next moved to the Cardiac Care unit and spent a little over a week in that portion of the hospital.
Before long, however, we were told that he would be moved to a rehab unit specializing in stroke and heart patients with that unit located in another of the health system’s affiliate hospitals.
The rehab unit was located in “the Old Leesburg Hospital,” a facility located about 20 to 30 minutes drive from their home in The Villages, Florida. He remained there, undergoing various forms of rehabilitation for about six weeks or so.
At first, the lead doctor for the rehab unit told us that my father was going to be released directly into our care without any sort of intermediate place to keep him.
We began to freak out, knowing that he was not yet ready to return home since he still was barely able to get himself around to any degree.
Fortunately, we had a very good source at the hospital, a social worker who told us several things–first off that the doctor who was from the Philippines, was not really for sending patients to private rehab hospitals, thinking that families are the best place to put such patients. The social worker also told us that Medicare likes to send patients home–even though they still have several months of eligibility remaining to go to a private rehab facility.
Our social worker told us that if we insisted upon sending him to a private rehab place, then they would pay for that and we pushed the doctor to send him to such a place.
We gave word to the doctor that we insisted upon moving my father to a rehab center and within a few days she approved the move and he was transferred to a place.
As it happened—not far from my parent’s place, a new private rehab center had just opened a few months before, The facility was really nice–at least in terms of the physical quality of the facility. We thought it would be a good place to send him, and all-in-all, it was, but being a new facility–things were still “not up to speed” and there were “growing pains” relating to the way the place was operated.
I have to say, the whole experience was both a trial and a learning experience—a trial to be dealing with a loved one who had gone through such a health crisis and a learning experience as to the ways of the medical system.
It can certainly be said that when dealing with our health system, you need to become informed as the way things are and you certainly do have to speak up for the rights of your loved one and your family when it comes to treatment.
Fortunately, we did luck upon several people, who like the social worker at the rehab hospital, did a great job in helping us and being an advocate for my father and our family at points in his treatment.
For the next several entries, I will discuss other aspects of my father’s situation and how we as a family came to deal with what would come next in this chapter of our lives.
My dad on board our boat, the River Breeze. We were taking a late season trip down the Ohio River from Cincinnati to a point very near the Bellterra Casino located in Southern Indiana. There was a high pressure system going through the region, kicking up the wind speeds to near gale force numbers (sustained in the high 30 mph range with gusts to 40 mph and beyond–this made some stretches of the river exposed to the winds really rough.) We were nearing our destination. Sadly, this was my father’s last trip aboard the boat. This was taken in the latter part of September 2012 and he would have his stroke a few months later, in early December 2012.