Sunday, May 16, 2010

In which Sly falls out of bed and wants the doctor to write him a prescription for a hospital bed

Disclaimer: I acknowledge that I do not have all the facts in this case and that I have presented the ones I do have in a way that make Sly look as bad as possible.

Primo gets an email from his mom: Don't worry, but your father fell out of bed last night. I couldn't get him back up, so we called the paramedics. They put him back into bed, but in the morning, Dad realized his hip was dislocated. He thinks the paramedics did it. We had to call them again to put his hip back in.

The next day, Primo calls to check on things and discovers that his father fell out of bed again. He learns that his parents have been having a lot of falls: because the carpet is slippery, because his mother's socks are slippery.

"Was alcohol involved?" I ask.

"He fell out of bed in the middle of the night," Primo says. "So probably not in that case."

"This is pretty bad," I say. "Your dad could break his hip. Plus it must cost them an arm and a leg every time they call the ambulance."

"I think their insurance covers it," Primo says.

"Then it costs us an arm and a leg every time they call the ambulance," I mutter.

"If they aren't going to move into assisted living, maybe they could get some live-in help," I suggest. "How about a young soldier who's home and going to school? He'd be gone during most of the day, but there at night when they would need help. He could do some errands in exchange for room and board."

"He would have had to change his position on the war to get along with my parents," Primo sighs.

"OK, what about a middle-aged lady to do the chores and the housecleaning and cooking and your dad sleeps on the floor?"

Primo calls his parents and suggests live-in help.

"What did they say?" I ask.

"They acknowledged receipt of my idea and that was it," he says. Then tells me, "My dad wants to ask his doctor for a prescription for a hospital bed."

"Why can't he just go buy one?"

"Because it will be cheaper if he can get his insurance to cover it."

"But why is it medically necessary for him to have a hospital bed? He's not sick."

"I don't know!"

I go to craigslist. Plenty of used hospital beds - $100, $200, $400. None of them have rails.

"Primo!" I say. "I thought the point of the hospital bed was to keep your father from falling out of bed. These beds don't have rails."

He looks. Acknowledges. Tells me that he has talked to his father again and that another issue is that his father, who is not a small man, has compressed the mattress on his side so that it slopes toward the floor, which might be part of the reason he is falling out of bed.

"So your dad is falling out of bed because he is fat? And has mashed the mattress down? Why doesn't he just buy a new mattress?"

"Because he wants to see if the insurance will pay for it."

"So I could go to my doctor and say, 'My high heels make my feet hurt so I need a prescription for pretty low-heeled shoes' and insurance should cover that? I like this system."


  1. What about a railing meant to keep children from falling out of bed? They're less than $30 and pretty durable (as in, a grown man shouldn't be able to knock it down in his sleep).

  2. Geesh...if you don't laugh you'll cry. As you know I have my own in-law issues. But I've learned to keep my golden opinions and great advice to myself. No one's listening anyway. Keep writing and laughing


Primo reads this blog, so please keep that in mind in your comments.