i also love that she talked with bill about lost at the beginning of the interview

Nothing Like a Lightswitch: M’s Husband’s 3-Month Coma (Part 2)

A week ago today, we published the first half of an interview with “M”, whose husband was in a 3-month coma back in the early 2000s.

It’s one of the posts I’m proudest of in the history of this blog.

This post is even better.

In this half of the interview, M shares what she wishes writers would and wouldn’t do when writing about comas. About survivors. About the strain on families and purse strings.

M, if you’re reading this, thank you. Thank you again.



Aunt Scripty: What would you tell writers to make sure they get right when describing comas, and their care?

Doctors and nurses do encourage family to talk or read to the patient. Having arguments in the same room is strongly discouraged.

They will kick family out if they deem they not taking care of themselves. Family is asked to leave for a little while on a fairly regular basis so the nurses can do their jobs without family or friends being underfoot. The nurses will also come in regularly while the family is there to do a regular check and change IV bags and such.

I did not actually see the more invasive parts. (Moving the patient to avoid bed sores, dealing with bodily fluids, and for the life of me I cannot remember what they did with solids.)

The family or at least the person who is in charge of making medical decisions will be meeting with the doctors regularly for updates they will also like get called for emergency decisions while not at the hospital.

Those decisions can be many and varied. In my experience it was mostly, we need to do x, and we need your permission to do it.

The main point I would insist on is that there is no miracle, “wake up and they are okay.” It is not quick and it is not pretty.

I seriously cannot think of a single book or movie where their treatment of comas and the recovery has not completely snapped my sense of disbelief. Kill Bill comes immediately to mind as it completely doesn’t work that way.

Whatever put them in the coma doesn’t just disappear when they wake up. If it was a medically induced coma it still doesn’t erase the original reason the doctors decided to put them in the coma.

The doctors really don’t want to put someone in a medically induced coma.

I also want writers to realize that awake and aware are two separate things. Awareness also has several stages. The whole “someone wakes up and begins to talk” thing needs to stop. That control over their body is also a gradual process (of course depending on the time in the coma and why).

Muscle loss is going to be a thing, even if it is a fairly short time. Weight loss will happen no matter what the staff does, partially because of the muscle mass loss. PT (physical therapy)  will likely be needed unless it was a very short time period. OT (occupational therapy) as well.

Nerve damage can happen! Even if that part of the body was not affected by the original cause for the coma. Bed sores are a real thing, it takes lots of repositioning by the nurses and luck to avoid them.

Depending on the length of the coma the patient’s body may have extra holes in it that will need to be closed and heal after their recovery is under way (GI at least). They are likely to need to be fed through said hole for a while, eating is something their body may need to relearn how to do.

If there was brain damage it can take up to two years to heal, if it’s going to. Though after that there is little chance of regaining lost cognitive abilities.

On the other side remember how much this disrupts the lives of family and friends, but also remember that these people have to somehow keep their own lives going enough to do things like pay bills (and possibly cover the bills for the patient) and feed themselves.

A lovely thing for writing is that this gives plenty of opportunity for people to take their stress out on one another or throw blame or form closer bonds.

People close to the person in the coma can get PTSD. Relationships that previously were good and healthy can blow up. Friendships can be lost.

As a side note, brain damage can cause personality changes. This can be huge or it can be things that only someone truly close will notice. For us his body language changed a lot. Which threw me for a loop. The little signs that he was open to help or not were not the same. Signs of frustration were different. The little shifts that use to mean he was interested or disinterested had changed as well.


Aunt Scripty: What were some things that happened that you didn’t expect during his care? What did you expect to have happen that didn’t, or were very different from your expectations?

The major surprise at the time was no one else had any idea of how this could have happened either. That it continued to not make sense to some of the best neurologists in the field. Looking back it make much more sense now, brains are weird and doctors don’t always have the answers we want or need.

At the first hospital they actually had him prone because of the pneumonia. That startled and scared the hell out of me.

I think by the time he was at [MAJOR MEDICAL CENTER]  I didn’t have any expectations, I was already shocked and confused.

Looking back something that does confuse me is that no one ever suggested that I or his parents find someone to talk to mental health wise.

Aunt Scripty: Can you talk a little bit about the financial aspects? This can’t have been cheap.

Writers should also take into consideration (at least in the US) that Neuro ICU is not inexpensive. At the time just the stay in the ICU was over $10k a day and that was early 2000s.

Dealing with the insurance was a headache and a half on top of everything else. And we were lucky, our insurance was very good and did not have an upper cap.

After the first few weeks I had a direct number to call a specific person at the company so I didn’t have to explain the whole situation again and again. We still had to talk regularly.

One of the big things I remember was one of the drugs they wanted to try to control the seizures was new to the market. I remember the time release version came out a few year later. So at the time it was really expensive and the insurance refused to cover it at first but one of the specialists wrote up a detailed reasoning of why that drug in particular was important and it was cleared.

I don’t remember what the deductible or copays were but I paid those and had to pay for the transportation out of pocket but did get refunded eventually for most of that.

The eventual total was mind boggling and terrifying, I received the bills for it while the insurance company was still sorting out its end.

For just the stay in the Neuro ICU the bill was well over a million dollars.

That did not include the stay at the first hospital before he was transferred. It did not include the time once he was out of the ICU. It did not include the physical therapy that took months. It did not include the surgery he had to do to get the feeding tube out. It did not include the occupational therapy. It didn’t include follow up care or his meds, that without he would die. I think the meds would have been over one thousand dollars a month without insurance.

Besides the medical bills, life continued to go on around us. Student loans had to be paid. Even though our landlords were amazing and dropped our rent by an insane amount I still could not afford it.

His credit card bill still had to be paid on top of my own bills. I did not have access to his bank account and his parent refused to sign the paperwork that would give me access to pay for just his bills. Car payments still had to be made.

The constant calls from the hospital disrupted me at work so much and I was spending as much time as I could at the hospital that in the end I ended up quitting.

Again here I was lucky, I could move back in with my parents and had some savings. But factor in the gas and parking and car care for at least 6 months of traveling to the hospital or rehab everyday. Oh and food while at the hospital if I remembered to eat.

I had to fight the insurance to get him the physical and occupational therapy he needed to become functional again. Then continue to fight for his meds to be covered as they were changed many times trying to find the best combination.



So that’s where we stand. And personally, all I can say is holy shit.  

I’ll just be over here in the corner, crying softly and screaming at the American  healthcare system.

Thank you yet again to M for her time, her words, her experiences, and for baring her own burdens as the family of a coma survivor.

I encourage anyone with a similar story to reach out to me on Tumblr, or at auntscripty {at} gmail {dot} com. I would love to hear your story.

Be safe, be well, and I love you all.

xoxo, Aunt Scripty

disclaimer

5X04 Scandal Review Do the Right Thing.

This episode of scandal started off slow, but ended on amazing note.

We start off with an interview let’s say Elisabeth Hasselabitch, she begins to dissect what she thinks to be Olivia’s life, giving the audience an “inside look in the always mysterious Olivia Pope’s world.” The interviewer begins to discuss Eli, and she talks about Olivia’s up bring how she went to school with 8 world leader’s children how she went to an elite school. How Eli instilled in Olivia that she can be anything and become anyone she wants, and that she never has to settle for less. That much is accurate, Olivia is capable of taking the world the same way any white man and for that I do congratulate.

Jake and Eli

NOBODY cares about Lazarus or either of you, but Hasselabitch brings up an interesting point “Is Olivia Pope her father’s success story? Or did he go too far?”  

To us we know that Olivia has for all her life been trying to live up to her father’s expectations, and though she tried and failed his ridiculously high standards, has Olivia truly let her father go? From 5x02 we know that Rowan’s words still haunt Olivia, and how can it not, everytime Olivia has tried to get away from her father he has somehow made it his mission to force her back into submission. The difference this time is that Olivia, is not giving up on herself but is fighting against her demons and the many who are trying to break her.

Hasselabitch:

How dare this interviewer try and tell us about Olivia, as if she knows about her. But that is the point Shonda is trying to make, for so many celebrities and influential people, people dissect their lives and tell the world what they think they know when in truth they have no idea better yet no right to discuss anything regarding them.

Bar scene:

Loved that bar scene, for a moment I thought I was rewatching the first episode especially seeing Quinn dressed up again, she should dress like that once in a while. But though I loved that scene, I felt as though they were forcing Marcus on us in hopes of filling the void that was Harrison Wright, and I didn’t buy it. And neither did Marcus when he told Quinn he didn’t want to be a gladiator. Marcus rubbed me the wrong way at first; he’s like Harrison lite except without the foam.

Fitz:

I love everything about this man, I love that he feels he needs to protect Olivia, I love that he called Abby “Gabby” and fired her for throwing Olivia under the bus. Shonda said that Fitz was going to be become the president he was meant to be and I truly see that coming to fruition. The Brandon Bill is Fitzgerald Grant’s legacy, it is what he will leave behind once his term is done, that bill in particular is a significant moment for Fitz, and for the republican party to attempt to take that away from him shows that they not only attempt to tarnish his reputation but also his presidency.

For five seasons we have watched Fitz fall from grace but with his fall we saw him rise. 

Fitz has been used, abused, mistreated and broken yet never has anyone truly noticed his suffering and despair because he is “The President” “the monument” because he is held to a higher standard no one had notice that he too has been broken and lost, and though I am truly annoyed that instead of looking into the President’s past and what lead HIM to this point in his life where he WOULD commit adultery (son’s death, attempted suicide-might as well as bury that one, dad problems, etc) we are subjected to pointless plot by irrelevant one, as if anyone cares about his real name better yet his marriage. We have seen progress from Olivia, but also character growth from Fitzgerald Grant. 

What separates Fitz from everyone else is that with power comes responsibility- power is infectious and consuming yet only him and him alone can control the power and not have the power control him. Fitzgerald Grant has the courage to love in a place that seems incapable of such act. Power, has consumed everyone when given the chance yet he has always remained poised by the power that has and can corrupt so many. He is loyal and unfaltering in his belief, which is what sets Fitzgerald Grant apart from the others.  

Mellie:

Everytime, I begin to feel an ounce of sympathy for her, she ruins it completely and utterly ruins it. Mellie started off strong fighting off Cyrus wanting to impeach Fitz, and at the white house I will admit that moment between her and Fitz was tender and warm- a peace treaty once Mellie looked at the little feet behind the curtains. Speaking of Teddy how adorable and big has he gotten?

 Fitz playing with Teddy

The thought of Olivia and Fitz both playing with teddy

Points:

Towards the middle of the episode I felt as though the episode was becoming long and I was annoyed with the interviewer and the lack of Olivia but then I saw that was the entire point. The media has taken away Olivia’s power and has left her mute. It is interesting that both Huck and Quinn are quick to note that Olivia does not have a plan Which is rather odd considering she is The Fixer, but often times when in the storm we believe we must look out of the storm instead of looking through. Olivia starts off strong, ending her night with a daily phone call from Fitz since she has to keep distance from him.

Olitz has the best phone calls, there is something organic about their conversations that flows fluidly. Olivia tells Fitz what everyone has told Fitz that he can’t be “emotional because he is the president” which I disagree with considering he is human after all like he told Susan.  Fitz tells Olivia that Abby is fired for throwing her under the bus, and I immediately giggle because Abby calls Olivia to tell her that her boyfriend (The President) has fired her…I wish we could have seen that phone call and watched Olivia smile subtle at Abby complaining about Fitz.

Time and time again we have been told by Olivia that she doesn’t need saving and by Fitz himself. But unfortunately reality was at Olivia’s door and we see that Olivia is not ‘fine’.  Some are disappointed that Fitz did not come over right away but he is learning to respect Olivia and her wishes.

Two steps back and one step forward, Olivia had been making drastic progress since admitting to her affair with Fitz but this episode we saw that Olivia went back to her old ways-retreating. She withdrew from the world and the people around her, barricading herself inside her apartment without any thought of what to do next. What exactly was Olivia going to do, stay inside her apartment for the rest of her life? Until Fitz’s term, this is classic Olivia and it is understandable but like many of us when we are alone, at times that is when are thoughts have a mind of their own, and sadly for Olivia trapped inside an apartment for days she has nothing but time to look at herself on the internet and on tv.

It is quite disgusting that even her third grade teacher decided to speak about her as if they can remember but more importantly it shows that her life is being dissected and inspected for the world to see. How can anyone not feel for Olivia, this is beyond heartbreaking but soul-wrenching. It is only after reading what monsters said about her on the internet that she admits to Fitz she is not ‘fine’ Olivia breaks down while on the phone with Fitz, and tells Fitz about her PTSD and her having a gun but kindly Fitz gives Olivia this moment she desperately needs, he does not judge her or but tells her warmly yet stern to put her laptop down or else he is coming over.

Not long ago, Olivia was in a similar dilemma and she looked to Fitz for comfort(3x01), only this time she didn’t run away or hide her vulnerability she is standing up for her choice and allows herself this moment of comfort by the man she loves.  As Olivia unloads on Fitz, he doesn’t appear shocked by Olivia’s PTSD or her gun, is it possible that perhaps Olivia and Fitz have discussed her trauma? Once again let us clap for Olivia talking too Fitz and for Fitz listening to Olivia and comforting- that is what a relationship is supposed to be.

Peckers:

I am proud that they addressed a man cheating on a woman and there are no repercussions because of his gender yet the women is ripped to shreds and called every name in the book because of her partaking in such sinister actions even though she is not the one married.

Race:

I have discussed this with many on twitter and on tumblr about my hopes that Shonda will use this crucible moment as a platform to bring awareness about gender but also what it means to be an African American women in country run by hate.

Marcus, made me scream with elation because FINALLY someone is seeing that the media will NOT change unless you make them change. Marcus understands what it means to be African American, how someone who doesn’t know you can stereotype you all while remaining a bigot and a racist. At the beginning of the interview they discussed Olivia’s prestigious background but towards the end the media began to move further and further from truth. Because she slept with the president her credentials and the power she yields is due to her influence on men:

The media forgot about the young college girl who wanted to make a change in the world by working at the White House instead focused on her “party ways” and her history of dating “powerful men”. Shonda makes a point in showing that in a matter of minutes-everything you worked for and earned can be tarnished in the matter of seconds. Olivia’s life as a powerful fixer for the elite has been reduced to “The President’s mistress”.  

Marcus did not simply come through and gladiated but became the gladiator. Sometimes you have to fight back when being attacked and about damn time! I LOVED everything about the gladiators getting in front of the cameras and pointing their fingers on the media for reducing Olivia to a whore because of the color of her skin and the lack of appendage between her legs.  At last it feels as though the avengers have reunited, and I did not realize just how much I MISS the gladiators actually gladiating and fighting for their family. This is the OPA I know and love.

Side note**Huck was adorable repeating “dog whistle” and when he said he will tell Olivia about Marcus because she hates yelling at him

**Huck you are making me fall in love with you once again.

Fitz:

If I haven’t mentioned that I love Fitz, than prepare to hear it. I love Fitzgerald Grant, when sitting down with Trump, Bush, Cruz, and Christie he is willing to give in to their demands but Trump wants more out of him –extortion basically, and then to top it off Trump said that Fitz should have found someone “palatable” meaning someone white, immediately Fitz becomes defensive and rightfully so.

Heavy is the head that wears the crown, Fitz is stuck between a rock and a hard place, in order to remain in office he must give up the Brandon bill  and Equal rights(legacy) or face impeachment (legacy) the thing about this double edge sword is that you can’t have one without the other. What kind of man, better yet President would he be if he allowed for this to occur? That once again, power is being taken away from him and no longer in his control. Fitz goes to Abby and of course she jumps in fear of being caught by Fitz but warmly and gently he hands Abby his proposal for her to view since she is the closest thing to Olivia he has right now, and though Abby tells Fitz what Olivia would do “the smart thing”, he makes it clear to Abby and to us the audience that at the White House they do things differently- they are doing what is right.

Doing the right thing also entails following his own rules and no longer giving Olivia 100% control on how they handle the media and press.  

For the past few episodes, we have seen our star crossed lovers, fighting and choosing the other. When Olivia admitted to the affair by saying “Yes” she had to make that decision and that decision was her’s alone. THIS was Fitz’s moment, Olivia couldn’t Fix this for him, he had to make this choice on his own. Now Olivia, is aware of what Fitz has and willing to sacrifice just as Fitz is aware of what Olivia has lost for choosing him.

I love that Olivia is both shocked and amazed to see Fitz driving to her apartment, she runs out the door and prepares herself to yell at him and force him to go back to the white house in defiance but she can’t.

Olivia Pope is speechless.

Still to this day, Fitz manages to leave Olivia mute and breathless at his unselfish acts of love. Olivia did not have a plan but she was not expecting this- Fitz has not only jeopardized his future but his presidency; all in the name of love.

Fitz did the unthinkable, instead of listening to his party, he sent a clear and loud message to the WORLD, that Olivia Pope is not his mistress, and that he is a man in love, and will no longer keep her hidden in the shadows. Fitz is proud to be by her side and he will love Olivia out in the open, regardless of what the world thinks or says because he is in love- and with love comes courage.

Olivia giggles like a women in love as her and Fitz kiss in the elevator, for the first time instead of being the one taking charge, Olivia is watching Fitz take the reins and this time she isn’t fighting him but letting him take care of her.

Fitz could have followed Olivia’s command as he has done so for years but he knows that Olivia would never tell him to rescue her because “shes not the girl at the end of movie-“ 2x20 but only this time she is. Because Fitz is taking control, he has made it clear that he will do what is ‘right’, and what is ‘right’ is taking his girlfriend out to dinner and no longer keeping her a secret. Fitzgerald Grant has not silenced the media but he has sent a clear and direct message to the republican party , media, and the world that Olivia Pope is anything but a mistress.

Shonda hit many key points, I wanted address but I pray that is not the end of the story because a women falling in love with a married man does not make her evil but human. Being an African American woman does not mean we should be subjected to a white man’s dream, or how they love us behind closed doors but shame us in the open. Shonda is breaking barriers and addressing issues head on, and it is about time!

Olivia has learned that it is okay to ask for help and to receive help especially from Fitz, and Fitz has learned that he can’t always depend on Olivia to answer his questions that he too must follow his gut and listen to his heart and be the man he was destined to be.

Sidenote** does anyone else want to see Edison back for a bit? I loved that Edison refused to comment on Olivia and Fitz, what a decent a man and I think it shows he did truly care for Olivia unlike others who are using her for notoriety.

I am shipping the hell out Joke and wifey, please let her stay as long as Jake leaves Olivia alone(doubtful)


I am beyond exicited and happy that what I have been predicting has been coming true, however I can’t take my eyes off of these two.

Is anyone else curious if Olivia watched her and Fitz’s porn?

Tell me your thoughts and predictions for next week?

Welcome to the Fandom!

Dear backlessdressandsomebeatupsneaks,

In honor of you catching up on Teen Wolf and (somewhat reluctantly) joining the ranks of the Sterek army, I have created a fic rec list for your induction. I have an endless list of recommendations so this wasn’t easy, but here are twenty of my favorites. I have also attached some videos that are mandatory viewing for complete loss of your sanity. Enjoy!

Canon/ Canon-Divergent/ Minor AU

Gravity’s Got Nothing On You by Zosofi (E- 83980)

“How much,” Stiles asks, “are we talking here? Because I know your family, dude. And it’ll be kind of awkward after.“

“My family thinks you’re some sort of fucking gift to the world,” Derek seethes, like he’s jealous, “they’ll probably be pissed at me when we break it off, so don’t worry about that. Five hundred bucks.”

“A thousand,” Stiles says, because screw ethics. Also, the Hale family is loaded. Derek can deal.

Every Step You Take by Nokomis (M- 49347)

Stiles accidentally ends up magically bound to Derek. It’s super.

Important Things by Suzvoy (M- 71466)

Stiles learns that even with werewolves, giant lizards and psychopathic hunters on the loose, life can still find other ways to screw with you. Case in point: everyone keeps assuming he and Derek are a couple. What the hell?

Keep reading