Friday, November 28, 2008

Apnea Monitors & Other Things

We arrived in Scott City Wednesday evening to enjoy Thanksgiving with Jason's family (who are my family as well, of course). The first night was a bit rough as we all stayed up too late talking and then Haven not only coughed and hacked all night, but also had two bradycardia alarms and one wakeful period which I utilized to give her an extra breathing treatment. I got to sleep in the next morning...gotta love grandma's house. But, before nine o'clock, Haven's apnea monitor quit working. It wouldn't register her heart rate or respirations and then alarmed "disconnect." We have frequent disconnect alarms, so I checked everything, making sure all was connected properly, and tried again. Same scenario.
We have had frequent issues with the patient cable of our monitor. A patient cable seems to last anywhere from three weeks to three months, then goes "bad." When a patient cable goes bad it registers as a disconnect. Although we had just put a new cable on a few days ago, I was sure that's what it was. Unfortunately, we were out of state AND it was Thanksgiving day.
I called the local hospital first. I thought maybe they had a patient cable I could bum off of them. Nope, of course they didn't. Silly me! Their respiratory therapist said that it was the obligation of our medical supply provider to either get us another one or work it out with a local company to get us one. Obviously he's never tried to deal with our medical supply provider! I called them next, just to get it over with, even though I knew they'd prove to be a dead end. I ended up having to call 3 different numbers before I got someone who knew who to call. She said that she would call the specialist on call, then called me right back and told me that the specialist was in the bathtub and that I should call her in ten minutes. After she gave me that number, we hung up. Next, I called my sister -in-law who is a nurse in Topeka, KS and gave her my sob story. She checked with the respiratory therapist at her hospital who recommended a couple of companies and told us that our doc would have to call in orders if we went with a new company.
My next call was to doc to see what he thought. I was hoping maybe he'd say that it was no big deal for her to go without a monitor for a few days since Haven hardly ever has actual apnea episodes any more. No dice. He did think it was a big deal and told us that if we got information for him he'd call in orders.
Since I'd given the on-call chick plenty of time to finish up her bath, I went ahead and gave her a call. Of course, her phone was turned off and went right to voice mail. Unfortunately, her voice mailbox was full and she couldn't accept any messages. By this point I was so mad I was near tears. I KNOW it's Thanksgiving. I wish our crappy, 17 year old monitor was still functioning, but since it WASN'T, I needed help and just wasn't getting any. I called again and got her the second time. She said she didn't think there was anything she could do, but she'd call her boss. Addy sat next to Haven's crib while she took her morning nap and watched her breathe.
Mr. Boss man called me and was very nice, if not very helpful. He explained to me that I should have brought extra everything with me because nothing was going to be open on Thanksgiving and their couriers only traveled in state. Obviously I am an idiot. What was I thinking, assuming that the brand new, three day old cord would last through the extended weekend? His hands were tied, he explained, but they'd get me a new cord on Monday. Oh, I understand, it's not YOUR problem if my baby stops breathing! I know it's Thanksgiving, people, and I hate to interrupt your holiday, but I'd really like my baby to live through it! And, by the way, don't bother to send us anything, because as soon as we get home we'll be transferring to another home health company, thank you very much!
Next, I called the hospital in a nearby town and discussed my problem with the respiratory therapist there. He said he needed to make a few phone calls and would call me back. It only took him about ten minutes to call back with the bad news...our insurance company would not pay for both monitors even though one was faulty (rental is @ $10.00 a day). He'd left a message with his superior to see if they could loan us one gratis. The next phone call was the one we'd been waiting for! The mother of one of my high school friends happened to be the superior he'd called and she was willing to lend us a monitor free of charge as long as we'd send it back Monday.
WHEW!!! Within two hours she was at the house, helping us hook Haven up to another monitor! God is so good...

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