We paid a visit to the doctor yesterday. Pop got some things checked out. He’s gained 13 pounds. YAAAYYYY!!! In the spirit of Thanksgiving we have so much to be grateful for with the blessings bestowed upon Pop. He’s giving cancer the business. And, with it being my birthday week, I got my annual wellness exam. I lost 9 pounds. YAAAAYYY!!!
Shout out to a fellow Howard University “Showtime” Bison, Tau Beta Sigma soror, and friend Dr. Kathryn Kelly. She’s my primary care as well as Pops now since he’s moved here with me. I like Dr. Kelly because there are no short cuts with her. She’s compassionate, smart, and will explore a situation in detail. And, she goes above and beyond to care for her patients and seeks to support communities in need of proper healthcare. Much thanks and gratitude to you Dr. Kelly. Big sis is truly proud of you for the woman you’ve become (and becoming) and all that you’ve accomplished.
Going to the doctor, I’m reminded about how the healthcare system can be very tricky. Because it’s health based it’s about care and compassion. However, it’s also about business. And, the business aspect of it can leave one feeling confused, hopeless and depleted.
Since July, my family and I were thrown into the healthcare system of angels and wolves so to speak. I’ve had to navigate a multitude of healthcare professionals, hospitals, diagnosis, and having Pop’s health insurance switched (that’s for another post). Good thing I’ve had a lifeboat of healthcare industry friends, dear friends, family, God, Gangsta Angels, and my own putting on my big girl preserverance panties to get through it.
Scenario 1: Within a week of Pop’s colostomy surgery the hospital was attempting to discharge him. Trying to sell that he was all good and strong after this 90 year-old man had been going through IT! However, I knew he required rehab and more special attention just after having surgery and being very sick. The day of the attempted discharge, I had to talk to about 10 hospital personnel from doctors to nurses to case workers to rehab therapists. We were not having it. When they came to evaluate Pop, I had to tell him to cool his heels… There’s a funny story there… Well, you know how that ended right? Pop was moved to rehab. Quite honestly, I was proud of myself. It was a gold star moment during a time that found me experiencing a lot of emotions.
From July-September, Pop was in the hospital for two months and then shortly after that for almost two weeks. During those eight weeks, I observed a lot pertaining to my father’s dealings and other patients, finding that it’s imperative that advocates are present as much as possible. The doctors and nurses need to see you. Also, patients oftentimes want to get out of the hospital ASAP. So when doctors are making rounds they’ll do the Jedi mind tricks on the patient to have them believe they are okay to go home even if they aren’t. The push could be because of insurance pressure and/or because of wanting the bed for the next patient.
Don’t get me wrong, many of the nurses and doctors at Kingsbrook in Brooklyn were amazing and so good with Pop and our family. However, you have to be careful and on your toes when business and/or incompetence comes a knocking.
Scenario 2: Pop needed a Pet Scan. They didn’t have the machine in the hospital and said he would have to wait till he was discharged to go for the test. NOT! We needed results ASAP! After much back and forth, he was eventually transported to get the test.
Both scenarios we were told one thing about his insurance and with further investigation and pushing, it was found to not to be true.
Be there for your people. After those two months, they knew the Boxill’s up in that hospital. Be gracious and friendly (it goes a long way) yet put your stern “Not today” hat on when necessary. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t fall for the okie doke. Question it. Advocate. Don’t take no as an answer the first, second or even third time. Most times with persistence it can become a yes. And, seek a trusted person(s) who can provide patient rights advice. I was so blessed in this area. But, I had to make calls and ask for help. Oh, advocates. Don’t be too proud to request help. Drop the pride and ego based mindset. You don’t have to be the lone savior and super person. What you’re going through is not new. You too deserve support.
And, family be there for family. Shout out to my brothers Terence, Gregory, and Alec (by phone) who were there at the hospital every step of the way. Friends be there for your friends (I was so appreciative when my friends came to visit Pop (and me) in the hospital.). They may seem strong and capable, however, they need you and the distraction. Even if it’s a phone call to check in on them. A lunch outing. Cocktails. Relieving them at the hospital so they can get rest. After all, they need love and care too. Be well! #CaregiversMatter