Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tentatively Hopeful

I did hear back from the VA today and the man said that they have approved my dad's claim! So complaining and stressing out about things really does work! I'm not going to totally believe it (or stop gathering medical evidence) until I see something in writing, but I am tentatively hopeful that this is going to work out alright. I must have sounded sufficiently frantic on the phone yesterday. (I always try to remember how I sounded for future reference, but it never works.) They called me today when I was with my dad so I was able to share the news with him right away. I still have a couple of cards up my sleeve, though, including Dave talking to our State Legislator about it (Dave serves on the church board with him). So I'm less stressed today, and I got to visit Heather too because my work was cancelled due to the severe storms yesterday. I was even destressed enough to knit a little (I hadn't felt up to it for the past couple of days). Hopefully pics tomorrow in the daylight (I'm knitting short rows to give the girls a little extra room).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New -- With Tornadic Activity!

We had some wild weather here in the 'Burgh this evening. It started out with just lots of lightening and thunder. Older Son and I sat out on the front porch and watched it. Then all the local emergency vehicles came screaming down our street and turned at our corner. Except for this big rig, which parked in front of our house for about 20 minutes. OS scampered up the street to see what was on fire (nothing this time -- but there was a fire up there somewhere yesterday) and came back to report that he thought it might be a downed tree or something and that it was really tight space-wise so he thought there just wasn't room for this truck. Eventually this and the other emergency vehicles all left. I was too shy to ask a fireman to hold a sock for me.

On a personal note I'm strangling in red tape. My dad was denied his VA benefit for Aid and Assistance (Geez, he can't feed himself, bathe himself, dress himself, or go to the bathroom unassisted. What do they think constitutes requiring Aid and Assistance??) The letter I got says that he has to be examined at the local Veteran's Affairs facility. Now, I had gotten a call from them a month ago (coincidentally on the day my dad fell and broke his hip) wanting to schedule an exam. I called them back and told them they could do any kind of exam they wanted, but they would have to come to him seeing as how he was in the hospital. They told me it wasn't necessary. Yesterday I got a letter saying that his request had been denied because the medical records didn't substantiate his claim (I'm also suspicious that either the doctor's office or the nursing facility he was in didn't send the records they said they did -- but the VA won't tell me what they have or don't have. Double ARRGH!). So I called them back. The conversation went like this:
Me: I got this letter denying my dad's claim, they say that he has to be examined at your facility.
VA Person: Yes, I see that we spoke on May 18th, and he broke his hip. You don't need to come in.
Me: You don't understand. I got this letter (reads letter) yesterday saying that his claim is denied unless it is substantiated by an exam from you.
VA Person: Well, he can make the claim based on the medical records...But wait, you're saying that the claim was denied with those...
Me: Yes. I need to know when the exam will be scheduled because I have to arrange a wheelchair transport and if the exam is going to require him to get out of the wheelchair you'll have to have someone there to get him in and out of it because I can't lift him.
VA Person: This sounds like it's a hardship...I don't think you need to come in.
Me (frantic): Well, if this is the only way to get this claim approved I'll get him there. I'll do whatever it takes.
VA Person: Well, I don't know what to do...I have to talk to my supervisor and get back to you.
ARRGH!! Needless to say she didn't call me back. I'm frantic. The expense of keeping him in the assisted living facility he's in is just over $1000 a month more than his monthly income. And guess who's on the hook for it all? The facility has been willing to wait for their money until his claim was processed, but what happens if it's denied? I feel like I was taken for a ride by the nursing facility who told me he "had" to go to an assisted living facility, and the director of the personal care home he's in, both of whom told me that there would be "no problem" with him getting this benefit. I can't take him out of the facility because as soon as he leaves that means he'll never get reimbursed for the money he's out so far. (It's taken almost 5 months to get to this point.)

Monday, June 15, 2009

She Who Dies With the Most Stuff....Dies

One of the difficult things I had to do in the past several months was finally deal with all my mother's things. While my dad was still living in their apartment I put it off, but we had to move my dad to an assisted living facility because of the complications he's having. Which meant that we had to empty the apartment. My dad took a few things with him, but the rest...My sisters were here and they were absolutely ruthless. We didn't have the time to pack up and deliver anything to a charity (the Salvation Army had said they would come and pick things up but then cancelled at the last minute) so that meant everything went into the dumpster. My mother wasn't a collector, quite the opposite, so the things she kept were things that she really wanted or used. All I could think as we made trip after trip to the dumpster was that these were the things that my mother had accumulated over her lifetime, that meant something to her, and in the end it was all so much garbage. Very sad, and not a comfortable thought. I keep thinking about all the things I have and love and wondering if they'll end up in a dumpster or sold for a fraction of what they're worth. I salvaged what I could, but still... Maybe it's because I'm a very visual person so seeing things makes me remember. It was like I was throwing away my memories. I tried to explain this to my sister who I could tell was exasperated by my unwillingness to get on with the job and throw everything out. "When I see this," I said, "it brings back my memories of Mom. I'm afraid I won't be able to remember her anymore once it's all gone." She didn't have any answer for me.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Knitting Now

Here's what I'm currently working on. I couldn't get the picture to show accurate color (that's what happens when you don't get home until 10 PM to take pictures of your knitting). I posed it on the skirt I'm knitting it to match and since its color is off as well you can see that it matches perfectly. The pattern is Bad Penny from the fabulous Knitty which is now my favorite knitting magazine. (Yay! It's a new issue!) I've modified and am not doing the YO increases and I will have add some shaping in the body (when the arms are big enough for me, I still need 3" for my bust, and I also want some waist shaping.) The yarn is CotLin from KnitPicks. I love this yarn. I'm already considering what other color I can make a summer sweater in and if it would be possible for me to finish two sweaters this summer (they have short sleeves -- that should make all the difference, right?) And I've also knit up something fun and summery in this yarn. Do those colors scream "Summer" or what? (It's a bit brighter IRL).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I'm back! Long time no blog, I know. Let me explain...No, is too much I sum up.

The Good -- we have a new baby in the family! Meet ConMan, my evil twin's grandson. Born March 11.

The Bad -- The little guy was born with severe Spina Bifuda, which required surgery within hours of his birth, and is further complicated by hydrocephalus which has required two brain surgeries so far to relieve the pressure on his brain. On a positive note he has had a much better outcome than expected, he has some movement in his legs and the hydrocephalus didn't develop until after birth so we're optimistic that there will be minimum if any brain damage as a result. Little guy has had some swelling and scarring from the brain surgeries though, so I had to make him a hat. I'm hoping to make him several more. (It's good to be related to a knitter!)

The Ugly -- And this is the main reason I haven't been blogging. My father is dying. It's not tragic, he's 87 (almost 88). But it's sad. And hard and painful (physically) for him and (emotionally) for me. It's been a slow drawn out process, none of which is pretty or uplifting. I'm not really sure how much of it I want to share, and it's a lot of what's going on with me right now. I even gave up knitting altogether for two weeks. But it's come back with a vengeance this week and I'm working on a sweater for ME! (More on that later). I'm trying to find and/or restore some small pleasures in my life and knitting and writing are part of that. So I'm going to try to blog some about my knitting and maybe about finding some good in an otherwise bad time. Because I can't find it if I don't look for it, right?