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Teal's Modest Adventures

Life & Events > A Desperate Time

A Desperate Time

Alert: A desperate time
I needed to find some writing I had done so I checked the cabinet in Ed’s office and found a file, 4 inches thick in which I had saved the letters, some ten pages long, that I had written to the insurance company and their doctors campaigning for them not to cut off my husband’s coverage if I refused to send him to a nursing home. I allowed myself to be distracted and I read it.

Jay was on life support at home with 24/7 nursing care. I lost that fight, but meanwhile, I began the process to get him on to Medicaid, which required that I compile a 3-year record of financial records and record every payment to anyone that was over $600. The result was a 5-inch thick pile of papers. We qualified because we didn’t own anything. No house, no car, we rented. He had no job, I had only a pension I couldn’t access yet. And one of the things I did was write to Senator Moynahan and he made it possible for us to get back on Medicaid. All he asked in return was a letter of thanks, which I was happy to send him.

Prudential, the NYT’s insurance provider had already cut services, giving me six hours of nursing care a day and for 18 hours I was on my own, doing sterile suction, feeding Jay through a tube, keeping him clean, getting him into the Hoyer lift so he could sit up. When the nurse came, I would go out to deliver the petitioning documents in person so as to speed the process, and I bought groceries and did other outside errands. At home, I would try to grab a couple of hours of sleep. I took a leave of absence from the company.

I was terrified I would get something wrong. I periodically called Bob, one of his nurses, who would advise me on the phone. One particularly bad night, Jay’s breathing was heightened, 30 or so respirations a minute. He was perspiring, he was in distress. I repeatedly placed dry towels under his armpits, and on his chest, changing them as they got wet. I put a cool compress on his forehead. This went on for hours. Toward morning his breathing became normal. My bed was next to his. I got an hour’s sleep, got up, made coffee. I had placed his hospital bed into our very large kitchen so that he would never be left alone. I looked toward the bed, he was awake and watching me. I said to him, “You’ve had a pretty rough night, but you’re looking kind of perky now.” His eyes smiled at me. And that was reward enough.
Then Medicaid came through, nurses returned, I went back to work. I will forever be grateful for the forbearance of The Times. All of this took place in 1992-3

xx, Teal

posted on Apr 5, 2021 6:00 PM ()


My mother cared for my father in this same dedicated way. She got hardly any sleep during his last illness and we would try and give her some respite but she could not relax. I admire you for being able to do this for Jay.
comment by elderjane on Apr 6, 2021 5:22 AM ()
Reliving it was keen. Your mom has my respect.
reply by tealstar on Apr 6, 2021 5:03 PM ()

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