Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Here is a copy of a letter I sent to my health insurance carrier and the health care administrator which provides (maybe) services. It is neither professional nor politically correct. Perhaps that's a mistake on my part, but as I quote Peter Finch in Network from list of the 100 greatest quotes in American cinema, (below) " I'm mad as hell and I am not going to take this anymore."

Anyone want to bet on whether or not the eecipients send me a canned robotic reply on my land line or a live message recorded for quality control purposed, spoken at two hundred word a minute and in Tagalog?   I have edited out some personal financial information and redacted names and other identifiers to present some unauthorized person at Oasis from selling our data to Desert Hills Memorial Park and Crematorium.

March 26, 2015

To:      Desert Oasis Health Care.
            Blue Shield 65 Plus HMO 
            CC: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From:  Linda A. Root, J.D. (

Re:      Christopher G. Root, xxxxx

Preamble:  It is essential in responding to the issues and requests below that readers be provided a few salient facts. Taking a moment to peruse them will save all parties to this matter considerable misunderstanding and ill-will.  I am listing the points in order:

1. Background: The subject of this memo is Christopher G. Root, XXXXXX, who is covered by Blue Shield 65 Plus and Medicare.  He is bed-bound, non-ambulatory, incontinent and receiving no current medical care.  I am 76, also covered by the above plans, generally in good health and ill tempered.  I am his full time care giver, assisted on an ‘as needed’ basis by our son and his wife who  reside nearby. I also blog, write books and raise chickens.  So there you have it.

2. Issues re Communication: Both my husband and I hold advanced degrees including Juris Doctors.  We are neither stupid, uneducated nor childlike. We are, however, both hearing impaired.  Chris is diagnosed as moderately to profoundly deaf. I am moderately-to profoundly deaf in one ear and profoundly deaf in the other. We do not do well on phones. I do not respond to robotic calls, messages from speakers who are not proficient in American English, or those requiring me  to ‘say yes if this is correct,’ in order to advance to the next menu item. I am admittedly quirky and I respond to callers who begin a scripted dialogue with ‘Hi there, Mrs. Root. How're you doing today?’ in midland Scottish, the language from which the s word, the f word and the c word originate. While I prefer to receive emails (, I will struggle through a telephone call from a live speaker of the only English I can adequately hear—the one Microsoft Word labels United States English.  If it is not deemed politically correct for your organizations to employ personnel possessing that particular linguistic skill set, deal with me by email.

3  Issues re Diagnosis, or lack of one: My husband’s present medical condition remains 1) undiagnosed [past PCPs];   2) diagnosed as natural aging [desert orthopedics] ; 3) diagnosed as resulting from his lack of cooperation in his own recovery [Dr. A & Dr.,D]; 4) Recovered [ also Dr. D just before he left  DOHC  and retired to someplace where they have real doctors to treat him] and 5) observed signs of neurological damage to his extremities {possibly  resulting from chemotherapy and requiring further testing [Dr. XXX whose file is  oddly closed: I wonder if his diagnosis had anything to do with it]

4. Current History: Chris Root’s only recent (i.e., since mid 2014) medical intervention occurred two weeks ago when he choked on food and could not breath. I was unable to perform the Heimlisch maneuver because 1) I am recovering from a sprained wrist 2) I cannot move or lift a 150 lb non-responsive body mass. My husband began convulsing while I was on 911, but on impulse I drastically changed the position on his electric bed, and the obstruction dislodged enough so he could breathe. The paramedics remained on site until his vitals were stable and he became mentally responsive. The person I deemed to be the team leader asked if Chris was a hospice patient, which gives a clue of how his condition presents to medically trained responders unaware of his history. I compliment them highly.

5. Logistics: Taking Chris to the offices of our new PCP (Oasis’s arbitrary choice, not ours) is not currently feasible. Even before his latest decline, it required two+ people to transport him.  I cannot lift his wheelchair in and out of our vehicle nor can I get him in and out of the wheelchair in his current state, even without my sprained wrist. Even reasonable waiting room delays are unendurable. I accompany him as his historian and my son acts as my translator because of the inability of most people to deal with my hearing deficit. Most of them are unaware  hearing loss  not a symptom  of ADD or Diminished Capacity, although I am often treated as if it were.( While I am not a shrink, as a (retired) criminal lawyer I own a DSM-IV:  I looked it up.)  I am deaf, not dumb and I do admit to an un- healthy dose of anger. Like Peter Finch in Network, ‘I’m mad as hell, and I am not going to take this anymore.’  As I recall the plotline of the movie, the Finch character offs himself on network television, but do not consider this a suicide threat or a desperate ploy for higher Neilsen ratings.  What I want is some support and a treatment plan.  I doubt providing either will bankrupt  Blue Shield or Oasis. 

The Bottom Line:  If you have read this far without dismissing me as a crank, a miscreant or a M.O.W.W. (euphemism for mean old white woman—hey, I learned if from my previous secretary, but she was smiling when she said it.), then please work with me to find a means of getting my husband evaluated by a home health care specialist or some other appropriate medical care provider.  I cannot just sit here on my side of our automatic bed and watch my husband vegetate or die. 


In addition to the weakness and disabilities noted above, my husband Christopher Root suffers from hiccups when he eats; he is out ofXX, the hiccup Rx prescribed for him 6 years ago by radiation oncologist Barbara Anderson, M.D. (one of an endangered  breed of physician who cares, treats and remembers her patients from one week to the next)XXX XXXXX He has stopped eating because it brings on an onset of hiccups that lasts 10-12 hours.  He is sleep deprived due to nearly constant bed jolting hiccups. He cannot get to the bathroom without a strong person to help him get into his walker, XXXXXXX  Between my son, his wife and me, we continue giving Chris sponge baths, manicures, and pedicures; my daughter in law regularly changes his bed linen. We try to provide mental stimulus when Chris is awake and responsive (we are rather entertaining people).  But we are having a hard time sitting back and watching Chris die inch by inch.

And no, I do not want him moved to a convalescent care center, which would break his heart and my personal word. What I am requesting is a modicum of constructive support so I can keep him in our home without ruining my own health in the process.
I resent the implication that his alleged lack of participation in his own recovery is his fault-or that for some reason my son and his wife and I should bear the brunt of it. That assessment came from Chris’s former PCP and a former physical therapist and it caused Dr. XXXXX to terminate Chris as a home health care recipient.  WE, not his PCPs, have watched Chris struggle to overcome his weakness for the past several years. WE  have watched his disappointment and despair when efforts failed or attempts by competent physicians such as XXXX to pinpoint his condition were either stone-walled or foreclosed.   It took me a year to get DOCTOR D to override DR.A's refusal to approve the issuing of a handicapped parking sticker...for a man who who could  no longer stands unaided and is no longer licensed.  I doubt there is a single care provider in the Morongo Basin who will approve the renewal of the handicapped sticker so we can park while we maneuver Chris into his wheelchair to get him to Urgent care should the need arise.  In his current condition, even that is moot. 
I spent most of professional life fighting for the rights of victims.Now I realize one does not need to be the victim of violent crime to need a champion and a voice. Look to this letter as if it were a velvet gauntlet, a challenge cast by one who believed her days of doing battle with the enemy ended when she retired.  Go ahead.  Take the challenge. I suspect finding a cost effective means of re-evaluating of my husband’s home health care needs  is not beyond your collective expertise.  

Very truly yours, perhaps…
Linda A. Root    
XXXXXXxxxxxxand @#+ES&D.

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