Friday, December 30, 2016

Rough Start of Vacation

Almost 2 years ago we decided to take a family cruise. We decided to use respite care for my mom. She is authorized 2 weeks of respite care each year. We have never used it before, we have always just paid someone to watch her. We didn't have someone to watch her so we decided to rely on respite care. When using respite care there are certain steps you have to take. You have to pick 5 possible locations, get a physical and PPD within 30 days of using respite care. Your social worker will look for a bed 30 days out and transportation will be requested.

We were on track. Then the social worker from the insurance company entered the picture. While making all those accusations against me she also claimed that the first social worker didn't know how to do her job s o she took over the process for respite care. She decided that my mom needed to be in a certain facility in spite of the fact that the facility was not in the network. She then went on vacation. The original social worker decided to check on things and realized that the process wasn't completed so she got the required paperwork from the doctor and submitted it. She didn't think that the facility that was not in the network would work out so she called around to see if anyone had any beds. It was now less than 2 weeks before our departure date. Since it was so late she couldn't find an open bed.

The new social worker comes back from vacation and calls me. She tells me that she had it handled and that the original social worker was just wasting her time. I asked questions and was told that she was still working on it but that it would go through. This was a week out.

This week I started to get worried. Monday I couldn't reach anyone because it was a holiday. Tuesday I finally reach the second social worker and am told that it was approved by the Vice President and they are waiting on a billing issue. I asked about transportation because it had to be requested 72 hours in advance. I was getting worried.

Wednesday the original sw called me and said that there was a problem. She was calling for the second social worker because she didn't want to call me. They wouldn't get it finished until Friday and we were set to leave at 6 am. She asked if a full time nurse would be ok just until they finished the paperwork. I said ok.

Then I hear nothing else.

Thursday morning I started calling around. I couldn't reach either social worker. This was my day for packing, getting everything finished for the trip. Instead it was a day full of stress. I found a bed at a local nursing home that I would have to pay for. I also couldn't get transportation since it was too late. The cost of this was not budgeted so would come from our vacation funds leaving us with very little money. Thankfully our hotel and cruise were paid for.

I finally got the second social worker to answer the phone. She wouldn't talk to me, she said that her manager would be calling me in 30 minutes. By 3 I hadn't heard from the manager so I called her, she was brief and said that she had given her the wrong number and she would call me shortly. I called the insurance company and was able to get the managers number and name and called her myself. She wasn't about to call me. She did know about the problem and was trying to fix it. She had all kinds of excuses for her social worker. However, the fact remains that if she had stayed out of it I would have had respite in place. I also told her that I did not ever want to see that social worker at my home again. I then went into great detail about all the issues that I have had with her. When I get back I plan on writing a written complaint. At some point I was totally stressing and crying and I may have even hung up the phone on her because she kept making excuses.

I posted on Facebook and had someone come forward that I trust that would come to my house and help. It would cost me half the cost of a home, I wouldn't have to worry about how to transport my mom and she could stay in her room (which makes her happier). She came to the house Thursday evening and she met my mom and discussed what she needed to do.

Finally at 4:30 on the afternoon before we were to leave the original social worker called me. They couldn't get anything authorized and were trying to find people to come in and cover my moms care. Strangers to come in, I wouldn't have an opportunity to meet them neither would my mom. I would have to believe that they would actually show up and know what to do. I would have to trust that they wouldn't take advantage of the situation or steal from us. That is just not going to work for me. There is a difference between a few hours of coverage and more than a week.

There was a point when I thought that it would just be easier to put her in a nursing home. Caregiving can be stressful and the supports are just not there for the caregivers. By Thursday afternoon I was about ready to quit. I am so thankful for friends who stepped forward. We will not be reimbursed the cost which means we just won't do some excursions and such on our trip.

In spite of yesterdays challenges we are here in Florida. Tomorrow we will get on the ship. I have no idea what I have forgotten to pack as I was doing that at 2 am this morning.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas 2016

Our Christmas was very laid back. Christmas Eve we decorated some ornaments and did a little baking. Some chose to repeat behaviors and missed out on some stuff.

John and I stayed up late putting together cars. After he headed to bed I worked on stuffing stockings and putting everything else out.

We had to wake Benjamin up in the morning which was nice since I got to sleep at 5 am.

He loves his blue car and takes great care of his baby.

The kids went in and watched grandma open her gifts and to receive their gifts from her.

We had a great feast, even Noah got filled. We had so many guests that we ran out of plates.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Santa Visit 2016

Santa has been sighted

Larissa gave her request, a baby doll and stroller.

I am not quite sure what this conversation was!

Michelle said she didn't know what she wanted but would take some books.

Attempt number one with Vaida

Benjamin was game.

Blurry picture but a deep discussion about the blue car he wanted.

Second attempt for Vaida


Emma asked for a dog. Uh, she got a battery operated one.

Third attempt, Santa suggested that Tasha sit on his lap. Santa really wanted her to like him.

Finally he stood up and talked to her from afar.

Noah had no problem sitting on Santa's lap.

The younger boys

The only picture Anthony wanted to get in was the group shot. I told him that was fine, he is getting a bit old for Santa's lap anyways.

Sarah joined the crowd

We really like this Santa. We visited with him last year as well. He doesn't have a photographer. You just tip him and take whatever pictures you'd like. There isn't a crowd so you can take your time (The mall is dying). He tries to help with taking the best pictures and is very patient.

Anyone have good or bad Santa experiences?

Art Christmas Camp

We had a three day art camp for the kids right after they got out of school. We had three different sessions starting at 9 am and ending at 9 pm. Each session had different age artists.

We had a great time. We did tie dye, inking, several different ornaments and painting.

The total number of kids we had attending was 54.

I love sharing my love of art with kids. They don't have enough opportunities to be creative these days with electronics. Just getting your hands into some paint and mixing primary color paints with finger tips to make secondary colors is a great experience.

The shop is a mess, it may take a while to recover!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Annual Ornament Party

We had our annual ornament party at my shop. Quite a few friends and family came to share food, make ornaments and even do some tie dye shirts. We had a great time, so much so that we only took some photos at our photo booth. I will share some of our families photos....

Kiss and run

Anthony thinks we are crazy and we couldn't get him into the photo booth. I am finding that everyone expects the ornament party and our attendance is growing each year. We were so busy that no one took any pictures of the tie dying or ornament making!

Anyone have an activity that you do each year?