ARTICLES / Story Contest Winners /
Surrounded by Turkeys /
Share This Article
Surrounded by Turkeys
By: Benjamin Sharit
Coming home from work Thanksgiving
eve, a nurse was giving my wife instructions on health
care. When I asked what was going on, the nurse said we
are dismissing her. I asked why. She said
the administrator said my wife was no longer home bound.
I said, "What?" “Yes,” she replied. She was being
discharged because my wife went on a cruise and is not
supposed to leave home.
On the 16th of November, a close Well Spouse caregiver
(with her husband) and I took my wife on a cruise. The
woman who assisted me is a caregiver to her husband who
has vascular dementia. We busted our tails for four days
to get my wife out of the house and give her something
to remember one last time. Her husband, in his “out of
the mouths of babes” personality, pointed out things for
her to watch out for while she drove my wife’s
wheelchair. My caregiver friend took care of my
wife’s personal needs including dumping her urostomy and
colostomy bags and helping me dress her. We took
the standing lift, three bags full of pads, meds,
battery chargers for the lift and wheelchair, not
counting the carryon items or our clothes. It was fun
for her. My wife had the best vacation and the
only one in eight years. I changed wet clothes due
to leaking drainage bags, pulled my back muscles trying
to get her out of bed, blocked people while she
maneuvered in and out of the elevators. At times, even
the crew had to help. But between us, we did it.
Back to the nurse...
The nurse proceeded to tell me how to take care of her.
Do this and do that. Get her to a wound care
doctor, make sure you flush her med port, and get her
urostomy and colostomy supplies set up. After all was
said and done, she told my wife to sign the discharge
paper work saying she was discharged. I was nice
and listened and then, after she was done, stated the
She is not signing a paper admitting anything. I
don't remember anyone on your staff saying we could not
take her anywhere at any time. I have done this
for 22 years. Where were the nurses when I had to take
her to the doctor’s to get the wound healed when you
folks sat there and did nothing about it? Get the
medical supplies straight? You folks did not even keep
things stocked up where we had it available.
What do you suggest I do now? Wait. I got it. Every time
her wound bleeds, I will go straight to the ER and check
her in. I do not remember how to change a urostomy or
colostomy appliance, so we will go there for that too. I
work full time, so when do you think I can get time off
to do all of the above? I am open for suggestions.
I spent my Thanksgiving weekend thinking about this.
The following Monday, I called the agency armed to the
teeth with the Medicare guidelines and opened up a can
of “Benjamin." I stated to the administrator that
my wife was homebound and it took three people to
accomplish what we did. The guidelines say that she can
attend church and even go to day care facilities as long
as she has a valid reason. Also, they state that she can
leave the house for weddings and reunions for family and
infrequent trips out. I told her my wife has use of one
hand and is paralyzed from the neck down. If
that's not homebound, what is? This was an infrequent
trip and, as a matter of fact, we will never ever do it
again. Not just no, Hell no! We did nothing wrong.
She reinstated my wife and tore up the paperwork.
So, another battle won; the emotional battle of the
ignorance and stupidity of the health care system. I
think I need another beer and a vacation soon for