Friday, December 16, 2011

A Visit from an Old Friend... :/

A visit from an old friend... SCABIES.  Yep, Dad has scabies again.  Woo Hoo.  He had it a year ago for the first time, and then he got it again this past September.  I fought hard in September to get Dad the oral medication as well as the cream, but they would not oblige me.  I told them that our past experience with the rash/skin mite was that it didn't go away easily and we spent hours and countless appointments to eradicate the problem only to find out that the oral medication worked quite well in the end.  This was the snooty response I got from the nurse practitioner in September, "I've been a nurse for 20 years, and I know that the cream will work just fine."  RIGHT.  Well, it's possible that that same case may have been dormant for the past few months and then resurfaced again this month. 

Anyway, we got a Derm appointment at the VA which was not easy to come by, and we actually requested it back in September... so when I turned out not to be available to take Dad to this appointment, there was no way that we were going to cancel.  (Because the VA reschedules you on their own time, and that could be forever...).  My Mom luckily was able to fit this errand into her hectic end-of-year work schedule where she tries to see the majority of her clients one last time before the holidays. 

Long story short, between the two of us, this appointment took a total of 4 1/2 hours of our time.  And because of that, I was able to meet them at the VA after my Sassy Songbirds performance.  The wait to see the doctor was long, and then the wait for the pharmacy was even longer and didn't even result in us leaving with the medication.  The doctors totally over-reacted, some left the exam room afraid of the contagious nature of this skin disease, and when I found my Mom, they had freaked her out so badly that she was wearing gloves trying not to touch my Dad.  I tried to wear the gloves, but I couldn't do anything with them on... like eat or check my phone, so I took them off.  It's true it is contagious, but I've never gotten it from him, and it's kind of hard to get an Alzheimer's patient to follow you through crowds in a government building without putting a hand on his back to guide him. 

So, gloves or no gloves, we were hanging out in public for 2 hours at the pharmacy waiting for Dad's medication and sitting next to a guy that kept yelling, "Wish we had a TV in here!!!" every ten minutes.  His motto was that if you didn't make a noise, then nothing would get done.  We always meet interesting people in the VA.  :)  Maybe if I yelled that my Dad had a contagious skin disease, then we would have gotten his medication on time. 

I got the Oral and Cream the next morning and brought it to Valley View Gardens.  Just wanted to share some photos of Dad's arms and what Scabies potentially looks like...

Dad's future housing prospects....

 (doesn't Dad look handsome?!)
So, I'm not sure I've shared our housing plans for Dad's future fully to our audience.  As most of you know, his savings is quickly running out, which is why we had to move him to Valley View Gardens in the first place.  They gave us an amazing deal/discount at $3000/month (compared to $4200 at Whittier Place).  That is a steal for Alzheimer's care.  We all know now from my recent blogs, that their so-called "Alzheimer's Care" isn't top notch and they aren't experts in the least, but we gotta take what we can get.  Three months into him staying at Valley View, they were supposed to raise his rate to $3500, but since we have shared our desperate financial issues with them, they haven't raised their prices on my trouble-making Dad.  I'd like to divulge my Dad's SS and Retirement income versus the price of care on the blog so everyone can be learning just as we are how expensive long term care is even if you have some moderate monthly income, but we all know that it isn't the smartest idea to put all that out on the public web.  But, I'm sure you get the idea...

Anyway, the Veterans Association in West LA has been working on opening a Memory Care facility within their new skilled nursing home for a couple years now.  We were smart enough to get him on the wait list a long time ago, and we've stayed on top of their progress.  When we moved him to Valley View back in July, all we knew was that the VA was hoping to open this new facility some time in February 2012.  So, our plan was to make Dad's savings last until then.

My mom has made many phone calls to the VA asking a million questions and she has also stopped by a few times.  Because of our persistence, we started the application process nice and early, which turned out to be a positive since there were many steps to getting it completed.  This application was a thick packet with many sections to it.  Once we turned that in, they needed a copy of his DD214 military form, then they needed a recent physical, then they needed his medical records, and then they needed to see Dad's original DD214 form (don't know why the copy didn't satisfy)... FINALLY we got the letter that his application was complete!  Now it's a waiting game. 
(the picture below is my elated face when I made my final trip to the post office to send in the last part of Dad's application)

I'm assuming that we're not going to hear anything until after the holidays, but we're hopeful.  And we've kept Valley View Gardens in the know about all of this and they are willing to work with us if February turns into March... etc. 

If all goes as planned, the move will be a little challenging as it will land right in my last month of pregnancy (I'm due March 2nd), so we'll find a way to make it work -- Megan, My Mom, Husband and our amazingly supportive family will I'm sure step up as usual.

A big THANK YOU  to Ani at the VA admissions office who took our many phone calls and questions, and who ultimately helped us get everything in order for my Dad's application!