Monday, March 08, 2010

The Time Has Finally Arrived

Four and a half years ago when I first talked to my doctors about needing a tracheotomy and ventilator to aid my breathing, the doctors all told P and I that once I had the tracheotomy and was ventilator dependent, I would require someone with me at all times. However, because of the costs of having an aid here while P was at work, I've managed to stay home by myself. At first I was able to do the laundry, make the evening meal and go for long walks, using my wheelchair of course. During the first two years using the ventilator we took a number of vacations, one flying to Las Vegas. On September 17, 2007 I even participated in a 5K event. And I was able to take an active part in leading the Mini-Church that meets at our house.

I slowly became less able to do these things as the disease progressed and I became weaker. At first, I stopped doing the laundry but would still be able to fold the clothes. I no longer had the strength to prepare the evening meal but would still be able to take some prepared meal out of the refrigerator and place it in the oven. However, during the past 12 months both P and I have noticed that I tire much easier and it was becoming more and more of a problem for me to even fold a basket of clothes and getting into my wheelchair to even take something out of the refrigerator and place it in the oven. Now I often have to take a nap after getting up in the morning and having breakfast and doing normal morning things and again when the aid comes to help me with a shower. No more vacations, no more 5K's and I am no longer able to take an active part in leading the Mini-Church. In fact I often spend the time they are here either in bed or in the other room.

I now have arrived at the point where I need someone here when P is at work. Fortunately, P works for a great company and while she has to pay a lot for our share of the health insurance premium, it is excellent health insurance. Because it is such an excellent health insurance policy and because of my extreme illness the health insurance will help pay for a full time nurse to be here on the three days a week that P works a full day. We will have to pay 20 percent of the cost for having the nurse here for those three days a week. On Fridays when P works from 1 PM until 7 PM we have contacted another health care agency who will provide a CNA. The CNA will be here from 2 PM until 6 PM and will help get me supper and help me into bed.

Both the nurse and the CNA will do things like get meals for me, do my laundry, make my bed, order my medical supplies, do my tracheotomy care and do the many other things the P has been doing for these past number of years. Hopefully this change will make life easier for P. She will no longer have to help me get dressed, prepare my lunch in morning and place it by my chair and get something for supper started, while she is trying to get herself ready for work.

Of course having the nurse and the CNA here for the hours P is at work, even with what the health insurance will pay, will cost us thousands of dollars a year. I suppose this is the reason we worked so hard to save our money. However, I am very concerned that P have enough money for her retirement.

P and I always knew we would reach this point and now it appears that we have.


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