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Nancy Evins: Thank you so much

jfelkins • Nov 29, 2015 at 6:00 PM

So many of you have sent encouraging messages, including promises of prayer, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. My hip is equally appreciative.

My own church did so, but I also received word from First Presbyterian Church and West Hills Baptist Church, which I so gratefully appreciated. I also got cards from people I didn’t know but who had read my last column. I was touched and know that prayer has helped as I am recovering more quickly than predicted. No lift or bars on my stairs. No wheelchair. No more pain. It’s just my cane and I.

I have not had any experience with bridge in the last month, and it’s interesting and often frustrating issues except for reading the Bobby Wolff column in the Tennessean, and it will be several weeks before I enter into that world again. If any of you read his column, you may be as puzzled as I am, not so much in the bidding, but in the play of the hand. How these people figure out end plays is still something that still baffles me.

My concerns, however, are not about bridge but about Medicare.

On page 41 of the 2016 Medicare handbook are the instructions for how to get the 20-day recovery in a skilled nursing facility…never to be called rehab, so we were told, as it implies getting over drugs and alcohol or whatever exquisite issues you may have.

You must have stayed in the hospital for three consecutive nights to be eligible for this care.

My surgeon told me I would be going home in two days after the operation. His nurse told me he was in a special package with other doctors that would still allow me to go into skilled nursing after two nights.

I was there, however, three nights, the third in the intensive care unit. I remember little about this except my daughter who was the one who asked, when I insisted using a sanitizing cleanser on not only everything in sight but especially the remote control and the telephone, “what are you afraid of…hearing AIDS?”

She diligently did what I requested, but then I was transferred to still another room, and on the third day, to ICU.

She told me when I woke up there, I turned to the nurse and said, “You need to clean these bedrails.” The nurse was highly indignant and informed me ICU was the cleanest room I could ever be in.

Daughter tells me that I pointed to the rails and said, “these still need to be cleaned” and went back to sleep.

I don’t remember that. Faulty memory can be a good thing, at times.

I managed to convince the doctor I needed skilled care, and he arranged for it. When I arrived at the facility, I was told it was only for three days. My daughter and I pointed out what the 2016 Medicare book said, and they granted me another three days. My schedule was changed four times due to our pleading I was entitled to it and, though I would rather be home, I needed to learn the techniques for managing by myself for the weeks to follow. I don’t remember crying as much those first days as I have in the past 20 years.

Hopefully those of you who still have the 2016 Medicare manual can turn to page 41 and see for yourself and now know this will not be the case no matter what they have written in their book.

However, this is the problem and some of what I am writing may not be correct as it was told to me in some cases as what they thought would happen. But I did hear this out of one surgeon’s mouth.

“I will be allowed only 10 hip replacements a year after Jan. 1.”

Later in talking to another orthopedic surgeon, he said that was not true.

When I brought up the subject of “bundling” with a group of therapists and executives in a meeting, it seemed to cause a lot of consternation. I was asked who told me that, and I perceived he was going to be reprimanded and I asked that he not be.

As the 20 days progressed, I asked every nurse or caretaker about the subject. Sometimes my questions were answered and often I got, “I’m not allowed to tell you that.” What?

So what is going on needs to be checked out and my message to you today is to start doing so. Something is changing, and I have the feeling we are not going to like it.

Here’s another piece of advice. Should you see me somewhere and politely ask, “How are you?” I would suggest that you add, in 25 words or less… “Bad hip, hip, away.”

Nancy Evins, of Lebanon, is a certified bridge instructor. Email her at na_evins@att.net.

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