It happened!.... Paul was accepted by Medi Cal, as of Monday December 14th, 2009. We just found out today.
After twice being denied our attorney again sent them the additional information they requested. They wanted to see statements of an account that had been closed by me months ago, and we sent them that too. Steven Ratner, our attorney, requested a hearing with them this time and I think they got the message that we weren't backing off.
This whole thing started a year ago, last Christmas after returning from Disneyland and finding the remains of an oven fire Paul inadvertently started with smoke billowing out and alarms going off in the apartment building. The neighbor that I'd arranged to check on Paul throughout the day was spooning grease out of the oven and putting fans in the windows, calming the neighbors. That's when I knew it was time for Paul to move into a nursing home.
It was boxing day 2009, my mom, Alexander and I had had a full day at Disneyland, now I was jolted out of that supreme fantasy world into a shocking dose of reality. It really was time to find another place for Paul to live. I'd known it was coming, I knew the decision was close. I'd been able to put it off, but not this time.
I cried for three nights in a row. Late at night, just before falling into a hopelessly restless sleep I'd march out a parade of memories.
Times with Paul before his injury: meeting Lenny Waronker, VP at Warner Brothers in 1992 and playing him my new, soon to be Garage Orchestra, songs. Paul had arranged the meetings with Lenny and with the great David Anderle, head of A and R at A+M Records and friend of Brian Wilson's. I got to ask David a bunch of fannish questions about Brian Wilson's SMilE era. Then there was going with Paul to Science Fiction fan conventions, and no, no one we knew dressed like Star Trek, it was always about the readers and the SF books. The memory of a bike ride through Sonoma. Another memory: a lunch in the canyon with Doors producer Paul Rothchild a year before he died.
And memories after his brain injury: Paul's European lecture tour a year after he'd been released from the hospital, raging at the top of his lungs at the Belgian trains in the large echoing station, "I hate Belgian trains!!" I'd gone over to Europe a week before Paul to do my own tour in mostly Germany and Amsterdam I was to take a six hour train ride from south eastern Germany and meet Paul eventually at the big station in Brussels. Paul was taking a train from Frankfurt and somehow, outside my train window on a platform in a town an hour from Brussels I saw Paul! I hollered, he spotted me, clamored on board and we embraced so happy to share this oddly serendipitous moment. This couldn't have happened if we'd planned it.
(By the way the photo on the blog-banner above was taken on that tour, in Plankenstein, Austria. Paul had been invited to be guest of honor at a Dylan fan convention at an old castle near an ancient Roman Road.)
Back to now: Monday, three days after the Disneyland incident I was awoken, startled at four in the morning. My heartbeat surged to about 200 beats per minute it woke me from a complicated dream. I'd had these "palpitations" before but they'd always fallen back to the normal-slower beat within seconds. This one wasn't doing that. I walked around the apartment scared shitless, I'm about to die. After 15 minutes of no change I called the paramedics. They arrived and I told them I was having a severe panic attack. They checked my heart rate and a woman in charge had them put an IV in my arm and put some liquid stuff in. My heart immediately returned to it's normal rate.
One of the medics said "200 beats per minute?...that wasn't no panic attack" I asked the woman medic what it was. She said it's called an SVT, Supra Ventricular Tachycardia. "...and that IV we just gave you basically stopped your heart momentarily so it could come back on line at a normal rate."
I was hustled off to the ER for a few hours of tests but I was gonna live. I had to leave the apartment with a sheriff watching the still sleeping Paul and 7 year old Alexander. I've since learned how to cope with my condition, which is relatively benign, but it means caffeine or alcohol or chocolate in moderation. Crap. But not having an SVT has been a great motivator.
So It's Monday I'm out of the hospital, I'm looking for a nursing home that will take and care for Paul and by Tuesday I find out that my seven year old son has contracted Lice from the local YMCA. Shit. That was the send off for 2009. And the rest of the country didn't fare much better.
All I can say folks is 2010? Bring it on! I'm happy to be done with 2009. And damned if it aint starting off good already. Wah-hoo, I'm living the Christmas spirit. I'm alive! And thank you Jesus, aint it a wonderful life.