Friday, February 28, 2014

The latest at the Andersen household.....

Regarding Penny,
 
So we are getting ready for Penny's next Cystoscopy (on March 7th). We are praying that the results will be negative and that she has beaten her cancer for another 3 month period. We are praying hard for another 3 month miracle.
 
We are now into Week 2 of Penny's father temporarily coming to live with us. As he is eligible for home health care, we are starting to see activity regarding a home health nurse stopping by (in addition to Physical Therapy). We stopped at his Attending Physician (who talked to him about his Parkinson's Disease and limited memory / physical abilities). He is now aware via the doctor, that he can't live by himself anymore and that he can no longer drive. Unless he physically / mentally improves, the situation will only see him slowly getting worse over time. We are preparing for that eventuality, we just don't know when it may happen (months or years). Our issue is that with my maladies,  Penny's many disabilities, and Travis' limitations.... if her father's condition continues to degrade, we won't be able to care for him as he needs for excellent quality of life. He absolutely loathes facilities that are there for Seniors (and I understand his concern / worry), however... it is a lot of responsibility to shoulder (not to mention the fact we live in a 2 story 110 yr old farmhouse that is not equipped to handle anyone who has limitations... and we only have 1 small bathroom). We don't mind the responsibility (and welcome it), it is recognizing that we are not healthcare experts and may not be the best solution for his needs. We do not have the activities and facilities at our house (that help older seniors to live an active lifestyle). He is essentially sitting in our living room or in his bedroom (watching TV). Penny is in no condition to be a caregiver.... and it is breaking her heart. We are making do as best we can (with prayer and patience).
 
Regarding Travis,
 
We are still waiting for his Social Security Disability decision. Apparently, it is now at their Quality Assurance office in Chicago awaiting a review of the SSD decision. It isn't helping that their search for assets regarding Travis isn't being resolved (Travis has savings bonds that he reported to the Social Security Administration as he was required to do so), unfortunately... his Uncle in Michigan has the Savings Bonds and will not provide Travis the information needed to give to the Social Security Administration (he allegedly is afraid Penny and I will turn in the bonds before they mature and insists that he is in control of those bonds until he releases them). We have no clue why he thinks that. All we were asking him for was for the information (to present to the Social Security Administration). Now, we will have to get an Attorney to get the answers (as Travis will not receive any benefits until the information reaches the government). One just cannot make this stuff up....... =(
 
Regarding me,
 
I spent over 7 hours at the VA on Tuesday. Starting with Blood letting (4 blood tests with a total of 7 vials drawn... by Nurse Ratchet who couldn't find a vein to save his life), then general surgery, radiology (for x-rays of my feet), audiology, rheumatology, podiatry, orthopedic, pharmacy, & neurology.
 
Why?
 
I fell last week (which contributed to my hernia repair ripping and returning). So they are trying to get to the bottom of why I am falling (8 times in the past 2 years).
  • Neurologist - So one of my blood tests is for something called "X reflex" (a blood test to look for a genetic marker... ordered by the neurologist). He also ordered the neuropsych test to determine the extent of my memory plus neurological issues (I failed a preliminary memory / cognitive test).
  • Podiatrist / Radiology - I then got an X-ray for "plantar fasciitis" in both feet (my arch is in tatters regarding my tendons) . I then received a brace to stabilize my right foot (which is the worst of the 2 feet). I now need to get a new set of shoes (2 different sizes to accommodate the brace).
  • Audiologist - They want to see me for my falling (checking the inner ear). A total of 9 hours of testing (6 hours this Friday) and 3 hours on March 13th.
  • General Surgery - I saw the General Surgeon and he ordered a CT scan with contrast to see how bad the ventral hernia repair is now (I may need to get another surgery to repair the damage). I took Barium tonight and will go to Lovell Hospital on this morning for the CT scan. The surgeon put me on no lifting for the next 8 weeks due to the hernia issue.
  • Orthopedic - The ortho surgeon put me on "no lifting" for the next 18 months (due to my shoulder).
  • Rheumatology - My gout looks like it is controlled (and they ordered labs for my liver and kidney levels regarding the allopurinol I am presently taking) plus the anti-depression medication I am on. . They need to keep a close eye on my liver as allopurinol eventually causes Liver issues in many people.
  • Sleep study - I also got a call from Lovell Wednesday and the results of the sleep study are in. I apparently have "Severe Sleep Apnea" (my breathing stopped an average of 97 times per hour and I was told the tech was so worried about me, that he came in a couple of times when breathing stopped longer than a minute). So I will be getting a CPAP machine in short order.
At the end of the day, this will determine why I am falling and if there is a possible diagnosis for what I am going through (my symptoms are seriously looking like MS symptoms.... and the VA doctors are finally taking me seriously). The symptoms are evident (my brother and the former President of CGL have seen me fall), and the last 2 falls caused shoulder damage and now a recurrence of my ventral hernia.
 
Combined with my Major Depression / PTSD / Anxiety issues (which I am not allowed to "return to work"), I am no longer allowed to even try to get a job.... so the VA will work with me to present me to prospective employers (with the limitations placed on me). The neuropsych will be determining if I am still allowed to drive or not :( (I'll know within the month).
 
By the grace of God go I... as I am dealing with this as best I can (at least, I don't have a terminal disease diagnosis). *Bonus*
 
The only problem at this point is Social Security and the VA still are backlogged regarding my Disability claims (and with no income, I am in one hell of a catch 22 situation as I am not cleared to return to work).
 
Oy.
 
God has provided and I have faith that all will be resolved in God's time.
 
Dear Lord, as my loved ones and I await the results of medical tests about our afflictions, let us offer you our anxieties for our good and your glory.  Calm us in our worries, knowing these don’t add wisdom but rather stress to this situation.  Enlighten us, though the power of your Spirit, to make wise decisions as to treatment. Help us not to turn away from You in these fragile, painful moments, but rather towards you for grace and strength. Comfort us in seeking you now as we place all our concerns in your loving hands as we say “Thy Will Be Done.”
 
1 Timothy 4:8
for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.