Category: Downey PIH

Terry, John, CeCe, Eli & Ellie visiting mom at Park Regency Care Center
March 13th, 2016 by Glenn Zucman

A lot has happened in the past 2 weeks!

appointment slip for mom's neurologist visit

2/29 – Neurologist

As you might know, mom has had drop foot on her right (injured) foot. An x-ray previously revealed no damage to the foot. Today she saw a neurologist, Dr. Chan Kim, who performed a nerve conduction test. He reported that the drop foot is due to nerve damage. Mom asked if it would heal over time and he replied,

Only God knows.

They made a brace for her that fits in her shoe and appears to make the foot behave functionally normal.

3/2 – Wheelchair

Monday’s neurologist visit was pretty disappointing for mom. But there was also good news. Up until now mom has been spending 20 or 22 hours a day in bed. This week she transitioned to spending the entire day out of bed and in her wheelchair. What fantastic progress. What an incredible relief.

Terry, John, CeCe, Eli & Ellie visiting mom at Park Regency Care Center

Terry, John, CeCe, Eli & Ellie visiting mom at Park Regency Care Center

3/7 – Candace

Today Dr. Susan Keisner’s Physician’s Assistant Candace told mom she’d be discharging her on Friday. Curiously she told mom she was discharging her, but when I called mom’s Park Regency Case Manager Kat, we found that Candace had not actually write a discharge order.

As Kat, Dr. Keisner, and everyone has told us, if you don’t make enough progress, CareMore throws you out and you don’t get any more Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy. I was surprised that Candace was discharging mom since the last thing Dr. Keisner had said to me was,

Your mom is making all kinds of progress.

And that she was good to stay for at least a couple more days. So Candace discharging her was a surprise. When I spoke to Candace she explained that she was not discharging mom for failure to make progress, but that actually she was making too much progress and so she was discharging her for that!? When I asked about the Catch22 of being tossed out for insufficient progress and also tossed out for excessive progress, Candace’s only response was to laugh.

Mom actually is doing pretty well with physical therapy (lower body) but her occupational therapy (upper body) is only starting this Friday 3/11. If Candace discharges mom on the 1st day of occupational therapy then all the pain and suffering of the shoulder replacement surgery will have been only to go home with 0 range of motion!?

People like Park Regency’s Kat have encouraged me not to be upset with CareMore. That they are only doing what any other American HMO would do. Still, when the corporation you entrust your health and your life to acts so cavalierly and uncaring, it is beyond depressing. When the corporation that pledged to care for your health kicks you at your lowest, most difficult moment, it is beyond words. Instead of helping, they take your worst life experience and work hard every day to make sure it is even worse.

Tiki resting on mom's legs

3/7 – Tiki

Tiki bit a nurse at Park Regency tonight. Tiki was laying on the bed with mom when the nurse came in to give mom a pill. The Nurse handed mom a little plastic cup with the pill in it – Tiki growled. Then the nurse handed mom another plastic cup with water – Tiki snapped at her. Tiki did not seem to break the skin or draw any blood, it seemed to only be a scratch, still the nurse was understandably very upset. She disinfected her finger, asked us about Tiki’s shots, and told us she’d be in touch on the matter.

Tiki’s always been unfriendly to strangers. Maybe it’s her nature. Maybe mom and dad just never really put her in social situations. IDK. In recent years she’s actually mellowed. She no longer has to bark at every person walking down the street. These days she doesn’t bark at most people. Unless they’re running or riding a bicycle. Conversely, I don’t recall her snapping at people the way she does now. Or maybe I just never saw her interact with so many others. People like mom’s gardener Marteen, or my neighbor Laura, can approach Tiki slowly and she tends to be fine with that and lets them pet her. But when kids reach in quickly, she often snaps at them. And when nurses, or almost anyone, gets anywhere near mom, Tiki reacts aggressively.

animated gif of mom feeding Tiki

Separation Anxiety

Tiki also suffers from separation anxiety. I think this has probably been true for a very long time. When mom used to leave her in the kitchen behind a wooden gate, she clawed half way through a 2″x1″ wooden bar of the gate. How many hours of desperately clawing that represents, I can’t even guess. I had some visitors from Latvia last week and they reported that Tiki was wrought with anxiety the whole time I was gone. She clawed at every door, howled, and was miserable. Vineta said that really, I should never leave the house, or if I must, then take Tiki with me.

In a sort of upside down good news, I guess that once mom goes home, she probably won’t be going out too much right away. But presumably she will eventually, and if she does manage, CareMore notwithstanding, to stay at Park Regency for physical therapy and occupational therapy, then Tiki could be here at my place for some weeks still. In a quick search there seems to be a fair bit of information on dogs with separation anxiety. I’ll have to dive into that as soon as I can.

handwritten list of questions from mom's therapist at Park Regency for her orthopedic surgeon Dr. Kourosh Kevin Shamlou, M.D., Q.M.E.

3/10 Orthopedic Surgeon

Mom had another visit to Dr. Shamlou today. He took the sling off her right (shoulder replacement) arm and said it was time to begin aggressive therapy. That’s good news. Although in mom’s 1st day of Occupational Therapy (upper body) it was extremely painful and she could only move a little bit. Still it is progress.

3/11 Mobility

Mom’s mobility or bed mobility had really improved a lot in the last 2 weeks. She’s out of bed and in her wheelchair all day now. She can get from the bed to the wheelchair by herself. She can go to the bathroom by herself. It’s humbling to appreciate what a relief and how empowering it is just to be able to go the bathroom by yourself and not have to call and wait half hour for a bedpan.

Medical Costs

  • For the slightly less than 2 block ambulance ride from St. Thomas Aquinas church at 1501 S. Atlantic Blvd, to the Monterey Park Hospital at 900 S. Atlantic Blvd, the city of Monterey Park is charging US$1,859.55
  • For the 3 or so hours that mom waited at the Monterey Park Hospital before she was taken over to PIH Downey, The Monterey Park Hospital is charging US$10,740.00

It’s a bit leveling to realize that your entire annual income would barely cover a few days at the Monterey Park Hospital. Even if they didn’t do anything.

Posted in Downey PIH

photo of a table filled with get well cards
January 31st, 2016 by Glenn Zucman

Moving Day

Mom’s 1st week of this “Oops” odyssey ended today. After hip surgery on Monday and shoulder surgery on Thursday, today she finally left PIH Hospital in Downey, and transferred to a rehab facility:

Park Regency Care Center
1770 W. La Habra Blvd.
La Habra CA 90631

Mom’s in Room 115A
Park Regency phone is 562-691-8810

You can visit any time!
And great news, dogs are allowed too!

Terry petting Tiki in front of  the house

Terry & Tiki hanging out in the front yard at Monterey Park

@Park Regency

Terry came by the house today to help pick out some clothes for mom @Park Regency. We really don’t have any idea yet how long she’ll be there. The 2 things we know are that the PIH Physical Therapist Linda said it’d be about 5 weeks before she could put full weight on her right leg, and the Orthopedic Surgeon said it’d be 3 weeks before starting therapy on her right shoulder. So it seems like it might be a while.

Mom’s spirits are pretty good – perhaps better than mine would be – but for sure this is a blow to plans, to autonomy, to self-reliance and self-esteem, and I know it’s all weighing a little heavy on her. Still, she’s doing a pretty good job of being optimistic about her circumstances. PT Linda said with the shoulder replacement surgery mom could get up to 100% range of motion.

Photo of a PIH Letterhead document with info on visiting hours

Oopsy! Now that we’ve finally left PIH Health, I finally read their terms for visiting: till 8pm, over 16, and max 2 peeps — I guess being the outlaw Jacquez-Mendoza-Guerrero-Perez clan that we are, we just had to break every rule!

Business card for Park Regency Care Center in La Habra

New Home! Mom moved over to Park Regency on Saturday afternoon!

List of services at the Park Regency Beauty Shop

Park Regency Beauty Shop – nice!

Haunted

It’s hard for me not to think about how easy it would have been for this accident not to happen. Then again, that’s what accidents are: combinations of a number of unlikely things all at once and boom, something unexpected happens. I can’t help but think about Kathryn’s broken femur. Strangely I don’t really think so much about my two broken elbows. But what I do think about, what I am haunted by, is an accident from 46 years ago.

When I was a 14-year-old freshman at Bosco Tech, one day I was going into the boys room and somehow the heavy, spring loaded door and caught my left index finger in it. After a few seconds of screaming

Open it! Open it!

Someone opened the door and my finger came out. They iced me in the nurses’s office for an hour or two till my mom came and took me to the doctor who removed the nail and bandaged me up. There’s still a scar there to this day.

I haven’t thought about that accident for a long time. But since mom’s fall on Sunday, now I think about it every time I go through a big door. I get a shiver as I try to get through the doorway.

Life can be so beautiful and easy. And every now and then, so terrifying.

photo of a table filled with get well cards

Get Well Cards on Mom’s nightstand at the Park Regency

Tiki @My Place

Yesterday Paige said that she thought Tiki was lonely. Scared. Stressed. I’ve been going over there for a couple of hours a day, but Tiki’s been alone the rest of the time, and often I’m there too late to go for a walk. So this afternoon I brought her over to my place. Blaire, Dasha & Silvana have been feeding her dog treats. She seems a lot calmer now.

Mom’s very fragile. Moving hurts up and down her right side. Even so, I think I’ll try taking Tiki over there tomorrow. I’m certain they’ll both be excited to see each other. Hopefully Tiki’s excitement won’t cause mom too much Ouch!

Photo of Tiki on a red pillow sticking her tongue out

I finally brought Tiki over to my place. Even though she’s sticking her tongue out at me in this pix, I think she’s a lot happier to not be left alone.

Posted in Downey PIH, Park Regency, Tiki

Victor, Alfred, David and Cindy standing in a hallway on the 4th floor of PIH Hospital in Downey, CA
January 29th, 2016 by Glenn Zucman

Shoulder Surgery

Whatever our surgeon lacks in reading x-rays, he has in timing. He estimated that mom’s right-shoulder replacement surgery would take 90 minutes. Surgery started at 6pm yesterday (Thursday) and he finished precisely at 7:30pm. He said it went well. The ball has been replaced with a metal ball. The socket is her own.

There was a lot of family at the hospital tonight. I only sat in the surgical waiting room alone for a few minutes, but I have to say, while obviously not the intense and durational pain that mom’s been experiencing, sitting in a surgical waiting room is just a little bit terrifying.

Lame Jokes

While we were waiting I tried to make a joke about mom’s metal shoulder joint which technically makes her a “cyborg” and that we’d have to listen for any hint of an Austrian accent (like Arnold Terminator-Governor Schwarzenegger) Lisa was the only one who got my lame joke. Everybody else just thought I was waking up from anesthesia or something.

Rehab

Mom will stay at Downey PIH today (Friday) and then move to the really nice facility that Lisa & Terry found tomorrow (Saturday). Her slow and challenging, but also already progressing, hip rehab will continue. Her right arm will stay in a sling for 3 weeks and then rehab for it will begin.

Anesthesia

We were probably too eager to get up to room 4039 and see mom. She was still slowly waking up from anesthesia. Mom didn’t say anything for a few minutes, and then thought she was at the Monterey Park Chamber and was looking for the speech she’d prepared. The nurse asked her where she was, and mom said “The Monterey Park Chamber.” The nurse said, “You’re at Downey PIH Hospital right now,” and mom said

Oh, that’s right, I just had surgery, I should remember that.

Licha said that she’s had a lot of surgeries (at least 8!) and she’s certain that tomorrow mom won’t even remember us being there.

But we were there, and even though mom was barely awake, she said once again how grateful she was for everyone’s support.

Victor, Alfred, David and Cindy standing in a hallway on the 4th floor of PIH Hospital in Downey, CA

Victor, Alfred, David & Cindy waiting outside mom’s room as the nurses bring her back from surgery

Posted in Downey PIH

Father Jay at the side of Mom's hospital bed
January 27th, 2016 by Glenn Zucman

Rehab Facilities

Terry & Lisa have been doing a lot of research on Rehab Facilities for after mom gets out of PIH Downey, Hospital. Thank you!!!

Visitors

The visits from family and friends continue. Thank you all so much. Besides the pain and the constant tests, these are long boring days. The visits help a lot!!

Shoulder Surgery After All

Meanwhile — lots of new information… or misinformation (possibly) corrected. It seems like most of this is due to the surgeon NOT having even looked at the x-rays when he gave my mother and I the surgical alternatives and scheduled her operation!?

On Monday he told us she’d be standing and putting weight on the leg, but not full weight, on Tuesday. We’re not even close to that. It took the (wonderful) PIH Physical Therapist Linda many minutes to help mom just sit up. She didn’t expect full weight on the leg for about 5 weeks.

When the orthopedic surgeon told us on Monday that the shoulder replacement was a 50-50 thing and he couldn’t really quantify the difference in risk or eventual range of motion – this apparently was because he hadn’t seen the x-rays. I thought it was strange that he was talking about a ball replacement “just for a fracture.”

I still haven’t seen the x-rays myself, but apparently the surgeon finally looked at them, and Andrea has also seen them. It appears that there is no ball at all, just many tiny fragments. So now everyone seems to think that the shoulder replacement surgery is necessary. Linda the physical therapist felt that without the surgery mom’s range of motion would be near 0, and with it, it could eventually be as much as 100%.

The surgeon was supposed to come talk to us today, but of course he didn’t. They imagine he’ll drop by sometime tomorrow, and there may be a shoulder surgery Thursday afternoon or perhaps Friday. We really don’t know yet.

Father Jay

It seems that mom will definitely be in PIH Room 4039 for a few more days at least, if you’d like to visit or call her there.
Also, Father Jay, from St. Thomas Aquinas, came by today. He was the first person to rush to mom after she fell on Sunday. He gave her communion and talked with us for a while. It meant a lot to mom.

Contact Info

The regular visiting entrance closes at 8pm. Alfred says there is a way to get in later, by entering through Emergency. Even though “visiting hours end at 8pm”, they don’t kick anybody out. And even though “you must be 16 to visit,” Lisa brought both Austin, and Ashley who isn’t even 2 yet. Oh, and mom finally got a roommate, Josie (same name as mom’s mom!) So the formerly palatial room is now a bit more diminutive.

Room: Downey PIH at 11500 Brookshire, in Downey, Room 4039
Phone: (562) 904-5000, and then after it answers, her room: 4-4039

Father Jay at the side of Mom's hospital bed

Father Jay from St. Thomas Aquinas visiting mom at Downey PIH

Posted in Downey PIH

Rosemary, Alfred & Terry by mom's bed at Downey PIH hospital
January 26th, 2016 by Glenn Zucman

Surgery went well!
She’ll be trying to stand and put some weight on her leg today!
She will really be happy to move her body from that bed laying position for the first time in 48 hours! But it’s probably going to hurt to move.
She should be in Downey PIH Room 4039 for at least a couple more days. I’ll post further details when we know.

Rosemary, Alfred & Terry by mom's bed at Downey PIH hospital

Rosemary, Alfred & Terry with Mom

Posted in Downey PIH

Fritzie at mom's bedside at PIH in Downey, CA
January 25th, 2016 by Glenn Zucman

Thank you Andrea for helping think through the options. We decided not to do the shoulder replacement at this time. So the surgery is just the shorter 3 screws in the hip.
Surgery – 5pm – about an hour
Recovery – about 6pm – about an hour
about 7pm she should be back in Room 4039.
IDK if you can enter the hospital to visit after 8pm or not… but if you get there by 8pm you don’t get kicked out.
Room: Downey PIH at 11500 Brookshire, in Downey, Room 4039
Phone: (562) 904-5000, and then after it answers, her room: 4-4039

Fritzie at mom's bedside at PIH in Downey, CA

Fritzie reading a card to mom.

Posted in Downey PIH