My wife, artist Bethalynne Bajema (Amend), was recovering from a terrible fall, but doing well... fine, happy, and taking short walks by the river with me by March of the following year. More and more energy every day.
By April her legs were swollen, and we thought it was maybe a fracture from that horrific fall over six months prior... it seemed she needed some more care for recovery.
It didn't work out that way. She has had long hospital stays ever since, days at first, then weeks, then months. She is now at over 120 days in this latest stay, with only a handful of semi-pleasant days home, then ERs, more hospital time, a short and horrific stay at the wrong assisted living facility, back to the ER, and finally to a hospital that is actually looking for causes and fixes.
Things have been nothing short of horrific for her all this time. The things that come looking at a few walls for months on end especially. Trauma, fear, heartache, homesickness, and more. I have been doing everything I can to get us into a home that would allow me to modify things for accessibility so that when they find the cause, she can finally come home.
I've been trying my best, driving between the hospital, work, and home every day for months now, sorting through medical bills, making calls, packing and unpacking, looking at/working on ways to make our home accessible for when she is finally able to come home, and they discharged her with no notice, not a week, a day, or even an hour.
I've been working on ramps, putting handles everywhere, but the stairlift part of this is something I can't just build on my own, and is outside our means with all that has been happening. Kidney damage incurred in treatment has led to a regular need for dialysis, and sometimes an extreme amount of fluid gain, lack of use in her legs especially for stairs. To account for this, a higher grade of stairlift is needed, which doubles the price. There is a bend at the top of the stairs, which also doubles the price again. We were looking at $8500 for the curved stairlift she would need here, but the early discharge forced my hand, and I had to buy a straight one that only goes go up to the first landing... which requires hands to help her up or down the remaining flight of stairs. I now need to buy a second one to complete the trip so she can access the bathroom and bedroom. I also need to buy a patient lift, because if she falls to the floor, we cannot safely get her back up on the bed, couch, or her feet. I know, the amount I am looking for is a *lot*. I am hoping anyone who reads this will help us to make it a hair less than that. There are medical bills, lots, and I am contesting/negotiating/finding payment plans... those are less immediate, and we can deal with them over time.
Primary goal: If I can do anything prevent her going back to assisted living, I will. She has been very alert, very bright, her old self this last week and a half... What she has been through... there are levels of dementia and psychosis associated with long hospital stays, a quarter as long as hers, and she has had some Hellish moments these last few months, easily corrected by her having more time out of the hospital. Progress has been good.
She really needs to be home, I really need her here. I don't want her to go through any more of this again.... and I'd rather that rehab happen here, home if she has to go back in again. We were months with her feeling she would never see her cats again or spend another night with me on the couch, let alone curled up together. Life, on the other side of a hospital bed rail, is hard enough for a few weeks. We really need your help to make this home safe and accessible enough that she can recover, and so that if there are any more episodes like the last, she can be discharged to home, safely, as early as possible.
- Karen Lavender
- Rhonda Ungericht
- Jenn Leonardi