It has been a couple of months since my last blog post and considering the eventful few weeks we’ve had, this post is definitely overdue.
When I have a bit more time, maybe I will rehash and recap my version of what I call Health Insurance Purgatory but, for now, I would like to focus on something a bit more positive. The triumph over FEAR.
What I can say briefly about the logistics of this whole process of helping my mother transfer from a lengthy stay at a skilled nursing facility back into her own home is this–thank God we had more will than time. Because of bureaucracy, red tape, misunderstandings of behind-the-scenes policies and my own ignorance, we had a little over a week to get hospital beds, feeding pumps and formula, diapers, wipes, medicines, pill crushers, underpads (better known by their cooler name,”chux”) and everything but the kitchen sink to ensure my mom had a smooth transition back into her home after 6 long grueling months of being shipped back and forth between rehab facilities and emergency rooms.
So triumph over fear. “What about it?” you may ask. When the social worker at the rehab facility in which my mother was staying broke the news that the health insurance company essentially said “Goodbye, good luck and pack your stuff,” my heart and mind screamed “Why of course…Yes! What better place to heal than the sanctuary of your own home?”
My queasy stomach however disagreed vehemently.
Feeding pumps, peg tube maintenance, diaper changes and all with an 130-pound woman with nearly TOTAL muscle loss and volatile moods to boot? I was spooked. I caved. I said, “No, we CAN’T do this! Tell the insurance company they’re making a HUGE mistake!” The staff empathized and initiated the process for an appeal. We fought…and then we lost.
Afterwards, I worried, I obsessed, I ruminated. I asked myself “How am I going to do this? How am I even going to be able to get her into bed when she can’t walk, let alone stand? How am I going to manage this peg tube and do the feedings? How am I going to find time to leave the house to just breathe? How are we going to PAY for all this???”
When I realized none of this was helping me feel better, I did the simplest thing I could do. I accepted it. I put full faith in God, myself and the process. I said “Either we’re going to make it or we’re not. Whatever happens, it will be a learning experience.” And then I acted and put my monkey mind to rest.
I got her equipment and supplies. I set up transportation to bring her home. Amazon became my new best friend for ordering medical supplies and equipment. My mother who had refused to eat or take her pills for months suddenly was popping her pills like a pro and regained an appetite once she came home. My mother, who we nearly had to rent a forklift just to get her out of bed to do her exercises, was fighting to get out of bed.
Something obviously shifted and it’s then that I learned one of the secrets to killing fear, “Be open to surprise.”
I’ve realized my tendency to worry gives me a false sense of control (and my fellow worry warts out there know what I am talking about). If I can imagine what’s coming then I can brace myself or prepare for it. When all I’ve really done is prepare for a scenario that hasn’t even happened and likely won’t since reality has never lived up to my wild imagination.
Therefore, I encourage anyone who goes through their own version of this; when doubt and circumstance are so overwhelming that it’s hard to see the light, accept the fact that you just don’t know what’s going to happen and you can’t know unless you just let it happen. Or another way of putting it? The fear of a thing is always greater than the thing itself.
Don’t get me wrong. We still have our share of challenges and daily frustrations. However, now when I am tempted to worry about the future, I remind myself that I don’t know enough about it to worry.