It started with the dead begonia plant. Sis and I called our mother who lives with our younger sister ninety miles away.
“How is your begonia doing?” Mom asked Sis.
I looked over to the college-sized fridge. The begonia plant was gone.
As Sis talked with Mom, I went down the hallway and asked the care giver about the plant.
“She said yes when I asked her to throw out,” Rose said.
“No, it was a gift from our mother for Sis’s birthday,” I said. “Where is it?”
“The leaves were falling off,” she said.
That’s because you over-watered it.
Rose led me outside to the huge redwood tree. The begonia sans pot was lying on its side behind the tree.
“I need to save it since it was a gift,” I said.
“Sorry,” said Rose, hurrying down to Sis’s room to retrieve the ceramic pot in the closet. “I washed it.”
The now-dried-out plant still had some green parts in the center. I would take it home, give it new dirt and leave it outside to get rained and sun.
On the way out the door, Rose said, “There are no refills left on this medication.”
I looked at the doctor’s name on the pill bottle. It was a Hospice doctor.
“I’ll have to take Sis to her primary care doctor to get a refill,” I said.
Later the same day, I got a call from a guy who said he was there at the care home to pick up Sis’s bed and wheelchair.
“You can’t do that,” I said. “She needs a bed.”
“Well, I have to get it sometime,” he said. “She has been out of hospice care for three months.”
I texted the board and care home administrator. She said to call Medicare to arrange for a new bed, or to have Sis re-evaluated for Hospice. I asked her to set up another hospice interview. By now it was three o’clock, and I had rehearsal to go to at 7:00.
The new hospice company called and told me to be back at the board and care home by 4:00 for the intake interview.
The short version of the rest of my day is this. Sis is now back in hospice care with another company (the preferred one by the care givers), mostly so that she can have a bed. Maybe I don’t need to pick up three prescriptions for her today. Maybe hospice will handle it now. Maybe we won’t have to go back to the doctor in April. The nurses will come to Sis.
Sis wasn’t too happy being labeled a hospice patient again. It’s the Medicare system. You have to learn how to play the game to get what you need.
And a word of advice — no living plants as gifts. They aren’t part of the care givers’ job description.