Tag Archives: Disability

Winner, winner, Jack Daniels for dinner? If only…………..

The beauty of sharing a sense of humor with the one you are caregiving for is beyond measure.

My brother-in-law has been in and out of rehab and the hospital for 8 months now. It has been a rocky road……and not sweet, like the ice cream. But he has turned a miraculous corner and although, still in rehab for a few more weeks, I have confidence that he will finally be returning home and will be relatively healthy for a good long time.

Since he has come so far, he is finally taking an interest in his daily life and activities that eluded him while desperately trying to get healthy. And he’s funny again. He is entertaining his healthcare workers, and any one else who walks in the door, which, of course, I love.

On my trek to see him yesterday, I took my Mom and husband as we were then going to have dinner with a friend who lives close by the rehab center. It takes us an hour to get there, so we decided to take advantage of being in our friend’s neck of the woods.

A half hour before we left, there appeared some calls and one message on my cell phone from the rehab center. The nurse stated that my BIL had a few lab work issues, but if I didn’t get back to her today, we could discuss it tomorrow. As I was on my way down there to see him, I thought: Okay, no big deal. I did return her call, but she was gone for the day.

When we arrived at his room, his bed was stripped and  his wheelchair was empty. That is always a panic button for any caregiver. Where the hell is my brother-in-law????? At the nurses’ station, the nurse tells me that they sent him to the ER because his hemaglobin was so low, he might need a transfusion.

“You couldn’t leave a message that he’s at the hospital, that I just passed on the way here, so I could stop there first?”

No answer.

Off we go to the ER and they usher us into his room. There he is joking with the nurses, and, feeling relieved that he seems okay, I say, “well, yet another hospital we get to check out. Whoopee!”

This is how I know he’s ever so much better overall: “Well at least, it’s  not a Friday night!” he says.

Classically, for the last 8 months, we have gone to the hospital without fail on a Friday night. I told him my husband was getting jealous of our date nights.

jack-daniels-551052_1280Then he turns to the nurse and asks, “can I have a Jack Daniels with that Percoset?”

Then he goes into a litany:

“So now I’m going to miss my dinner. I told them at rehab, “hey, what about dinner?”. Then I come here and I’m asking them, “where’s my dinner?” But no, no dinner. And you know they’re going to screw around, and no food or drink until they decide what to do with me. And then they are going to  tell me I’m fine, because I feel fine, but then what about my dinner?”

onion-rings-274123_1280See, all of this is a sure sign that all is well in brother-in-law land. If his focus is dinner, dinner, dinner…………….he’s in great shape. You caregivers know what i mean.

In the spirit of kind caregiving and true sympathy to his plight, I say:

“Well, okay, now that we see you’re okay, we’re going to take our friend out to dinner! See you  later!”

He bursts out laughing. Yay…………

“You Just have to Laugh………..”

© Cathy Sikorski

Bahamas or Disability? I’ll take both….

If I could invent an insurance company manual that would be 101 things NOT to do at an insurance company, I think I might have all their training contracts.

Out of the blue, my brother-in-law receives this letter from John Hancock (see A discussion with John Hancock) stating that he has a bit of a long term disability benefit coming to him. He would have had a huge benefit, but back before he began to ask for help and my Mom and I realized he was going down the tubes fast, he would just let his mail pile up. This resulted in a Superfund clean up of his papers and mail when he was cut off from all disability payments. That’s when I ultimately found a myriad of uncashed checks, uncompleted forms for benefits, and lots of other important matters literally brushed under the table.

I plowed through everything and re-instated his disability benefits, paid all his bills, eventually got 7 years of back taxes completed and found something like $9,000 in unclaimed property from the state.

But I truly never saw any documents from John Hancock. So when this letter came saying that he lost his benefits for failure to pay his premiums seven years ago, I just had to take that one on the chin. It was “B.C.”–before Cathy.

Yet still there was a tiny stipend that was guaranteed by the company. All he had to do was apply.

I was finally allowed to apply once he came home from the hospital. I looked over the application and put it on my “to do” pile for the end of the week.

The next day I received another missive from John Hancock:

“We received your request to reinstate long term care insurance. Please fill out the following forms and we will process your request in a timely manner.”

The forms were 9 pages long, asking for medical information, employment information and if you had ever been disabled.

I was pretty certain that my brother-in-law who has had Multiple Sclerosis for over 15 years, has been wheelchair bound for almost 3 years, and has caregivers 4 times a day to bathe, dress and give him his meds, would not qualify for reinstatement of long term care INSURANCE.

Oh, if you only knew how tempted I was to fill out those forms and have someone spin their wheels on this absurd ‘request’.

But I did the right thing and called the 800 number on the letter:


I obviously  misdialed, so I checked the number and dialed again very carefully:


So apparently with John Hancock, you win a prize for being disabled.

I scanned the nine page document to see if there was a different phone number and there it was. The real John Hancock began with 888 not 800 as in their cover letter. I pondered how many long term disabled people were on their way to the Bahamas just knowing their disability checks would be there when they got back.

You just have to Laugh…..

Cathy Sikorski