by John Lawrence
The following is a work of fiction. Contrary to the Thomas Wolfe novel, "You Can't Go Home Again," you do have a right to go home again despite your hospital doctor's attempts to have you go to a nursing home. None of the names or places in the following bear any resemblance to actual persons or places. Part 1 can be found here. Part 2 here. Part 3 here. Part 4 here.
After a couple days at the hospital Oliver was discharged to a rehab facility in La Mesa - Pleasant Hills. Oliver had been at Pleasant Hills before and gotten physical therapy and occupational therapy. There was no need for speech therapy since Oliver spoke very clearly and rationally. He had a hearing problem though and didn't like wearing his hearing aid so I had gotten used to shouting whenever we spoke together.
Everyone at Pleasant Hills didn't want Oliver to go home. Bonny said they would keep him there till his money ran out, then put him on MediCal and send him to a MediCal nursing home which I knew from experience weren't the best compared to the nursing homes that people actually paid for or had insurance for. As usual the rich got the best and poor people got the rest. It's what made America great! I told Oliver, "At least they won't kick you out on the street. You'll get a bed and three squares a day." But he wouldn't be able to have his dog. Bonny wanted Dolly put down. She had a lot of ailments due to old age and required numerous trips to the vet.
I had taken Dolly to see the vet, Dr. Chung, at the Village Veterinary Hospital. "Oh, he said Dolly is very much overweight. She needs to stop eating so much." She weighed 40 pounds which I guess is a lot for a beagle. She had an infection in her ear and needed eye drops put in her eyes. I tried to do this every other week when I was there, but Dolly was supposed to have her medications every day. I doubt if Oliver could do it from his wheelchair. Maybe this is why he had slipped out of it so many times. Trying to reach for things and do things when there was nobody there to help him.
At Pleasant Hills they tried to enlist me in the fight against Oliver's going home. I didn't want to get involved. Finally, Oliver phoned me and said, "Good news. I'm going home Friday." I said, "That is good news. How did that come about?" He said, "I talked to the ombudsman and to my lawyer. They told me I had a right to go home." "Good for you, Oliver," I said. You stuck to your guns, sir, and now you will get to be with Dolly again."
I told him I would arrange for non-emegency medical transportation for him, since Pleasant Hills would do nothing to help out in that regard. He had to pay for it himself. Wasn't covered by Medicare. When I told Oliver it would cost $60. for the 5 mile trip to his house, he said "I can't afford that." "Well, how are you going to get home then?" "Can't you take me?" I didn't have a problem getting him home. It was just that there were a couple of steps leading up to his front door, and I didn't feel competent to get him out of his wheelchair and get him up those steps. He had a railing to hold on to, but he was very unsteady on his feet and he was heavy. I told him he needed professional help.
He told me that he had found a guy that worked at Pleasant Hills part time and also drove a taxi. He said he would take him home. I asked him how much he charged. "I don't know," Oliver said. "Is he reliable? Will he show up?" "I think so." "Will he be there at 2 PM Friday when you're discharged?" "I think so." So I said, "Well, if he doesn't show, call me and I'll see if I can get this other service. They said they only needed 30-45 minutes notice. The other ones I called required 24 hour notice."
I told Oliver I would pick up Dolly from Camp Arf Arf so that I would get to his house about the same time as he would be getting there. I picked up Dolly on Friday and paid with a check I had had Oliver sign. It was $276, not too bad I thought. They had been very conscientious about giving her her medications which she probably hadn't been getting regularly at home. As I was driving Dolly home, my cell rang. A few minutes later it rang again. I don't have one of those contraptions that you stick in your ear so I don't answer my phone when I'm driving.
to be continued