Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Oh, Bummer (Healthcare)

We found out today that to get back on my wife's health insurance will only cost me a little over $950 a month. That's more than double what I paid for it in 2015. Good thing I have Obamacare to fall back on.

But interestingly, although it would cost us $950-ish to insure me, it only costs us around $350 to ensure my wife under the same plan, despite the fact that she's had far more health problems than I. So at least the one of us who needs it most is getting it.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Weekend update - 6 January 2017

Geri is in Interventional Radiology to have the current, weeks-old dialysis catheter that's been coming out of her neck replaced with a new one that'll come out of her chest. Her new liver is working great. But prior to transplant she developed what appears to be hepato-renal syndrome, so it's taking some time for her kidneys to get back up to speed. Meanwhile, the other main thing we need to work on is getting her up and walking after being essentially bedridden for about three months. Physical and occupational therapy (and her doctors) have recommended that she go to the Cleveland Clinic's own acute rehab center in the next day or so, but first we need insurance approval. Yesterday, Medical Mutual denied it was necessary. But this is the same insurance company that tried at first to claim she didn't need hospitalized the last two times (though she would've died if she hadn't gone).  Their motto seems to be "Reject first, then finally actually consider the claim after it's appealed." So the appeal conference is this morning and I'm optimistic we'll get it resolved.

UPDATE a couple hours later: She's approved for one week of acute rehab. They'll extend it if she makes good progress.  So we'll be heading to M80 later today.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Best day in a while

Best day yet for Geri! She's been in the hospital since November, got her liver transplant on 22 December, and continues to improve. We learned today that she'll be heading to rehab by the end of this week and hopefully home soon after. Happy new year!


In 2016 I traveled west of the Mississippi for the first time in my life, we got a new house, a good friend beat cancer, Barack Obama was president, the Cleveland Cavaliers won a championship, and my wife got a new liver. Beat THAT, 2017.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

106 in 2016

Happy new year! I read 106 books in 2016 - most of them small press poetry works. 23 were NightBallet Press titles, 10 were Crisis Chronicles Press titles I published early in the year, and the three next best represented presses were Green Panda Press, Hyacinth Girl Press and the Cleveland State University Poetry Center. See all 106 here.

In 2017 I plan to read fewer but a lot bigger books.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

New Liver

After my last blog posting, things moved rather quickly.  Within hours of Geri being reactivated on the liver transplant list, she received a liver offer.  After a long night and next day of waiting, she was finally ushered to the operating room at 3 a.m. on December 22nd.  The seven hour surgery was a success.  We had hoped she'd be out of ICU within a day, but the docs needed to fine tune some things first. 

Meanwhile, on the evening of the 26th, Geri's vehicle lost its front driver-side corner.  I dropped it off at Progressive early this morning. It will take about a week to fix and cost us a $1000 deductible.

Finally, to make a long story short, here's what I posted on Facebook a couple of hours ago (evening of the 28th):

Been a couple more long days at the hospital. Was here till midnight last night - had gone home at 8 but had to come back because Geri wouldn't take her medications for anyone but me. But slow and steady progress continues. Tonight she finally made it out of ICU to the transplant special care floor, one step closer to returning home.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Santa putting a liver in Geri's stocking?

The infectious disease doctor and anesthesiologist have cleared Geri for transplant. Her breathing is much better than yesterday. The kidney doctor is gonna switch her from continual to intermittent dialysis. And they're starting some mild physical therapy. All good news. But the biggest news is that the liver fellow was just in and said they're gonna try to have her relisted by this evening and because her meld score is so high, there is a chance she could get a liver by Christmas, or soon after.

A few very kind friends of ours have expressed a willingness to serve as a living donor, for which we are grateful beyond the best words I can muster. But we haven't been able to follow up because both the Clinic and her insurance wanted Geri to be active on the transplant list before starting the screening process. However, now it's looking like she will get a liver from a deceased donor faster.

As I was writing this, a transplant surgeon came in and gave her the final good-to-go. So she'll definitely be relisted today.

We are amazed by your extraordinary kindness and generosity. Lots going on here, so I'll try to catch up with personal messages later. <3

Monday, December 19, 2016


c. 10 a.m.:

Her breathing tube came out yesterday. Lots of progress since. Lots of different doctors coming in and out today to assess and clear her. They just did a CT scan of her chest. And if everything checks out she could be reactivated on the transplant list as soon as tomorrow. We're most grateful for your kindness, concern and good wishes.

c. 5 p.m.:

Update: CT shows she has a pleural effusion around her right lung, so they're doing a thoracentesis to drain that. But we're still on track. Only awaiting clearance from one more doctor, the transplant anaesthesiologist.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

She's Awake

Got a call from Geri's nurse at 5:45 a.m. She said that after a night of dialysis she's almost totally awake for the first time in around a week. Of course she can't talk because she still has the breathing tube in. But she was trying to tell them something, so they gave her a dry erase board and asked her what she wanted. She wrote, "John."

Friday, December 16, 2016


The doctors have identified a likely culprit: uremia. Because of impaired kidney function, she has high urea levels in her blood. This can deactivate platelets, causing unusual bleeding, and can also make her extremely drowsy and out of it. The doctors are optimistic that by doing some short-term dialysis, they can reduce the urea and solve both her bleeding and her consciousness issues, allowing them to take her off the ventilator and get her reactivated on the liver transplant list soon.