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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rehabilitation


I’ve not always had decent heath care, but since eligibile for Medicare, I’ve been OK with what I have. I have a small pension from one job that I devoted to health care, and stayed on a reasonable keel for the last  decade. Only this year has my health insurance cost outstripped that little pension. The weakest part of my plan is the rehab, but I’ve always looked around for money to cover that cost, when necessary, and, all in all, been satisfied.

Fast forward to the April weekend when Beth and Ruth drove my comatose self to the hospital in Akron. The hospital, Akron General, has been my standard of care my entire life. In the recent round of hospital wars, it was acquired by Cleveland Clinic, and some company is making a fortune adding an enormous Cleveland Clinic logo at the top, and dropping the other identifiers a line. Imagine how far down the Edwin Shaw sign has descended. That was my destination and I was almost there.

I spent the weekend at General, and was transported to Shaw on Monday morning. After some preliminaries, I was slipped into the therapy production line. Three main venues occupied my days: Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. I was surprised at the value of speech therapy, mostly about problem solving.

I had not walked in four weeks. The first time I stood, using a walker, my knees buckled. Nor was the therapy as easy a road back as therapy from the stroke. Actually, shame on me for comparing the two. The physios pointed out, over and over, my deficits were stroke residual, not the craniotomy for the subdural hematoma. Couldn’t blame it on the fractured skull. It’s easy to see now; I coasted for ten years keeping even with the stroke damage, not working harder to get ahead.

Live and learn. Haha.

I had one setback in rehab, that still has me concerned and something I must learn more about.  Two of my physios were concerned that my speech was slurring, and I couldn’t stay awake. I returned from every session, skipped the meal and went to sleep. It’s called hyperammonemia. I don’t know if I’m over it or what else I should know about it. The good news is, these two women recognized and reported it. The worst news, in my case, is that it subtracted two good days of physical therapy from my schedule, and this kind of insurance is unforgiving about physical therapy. Nine days per incident and off you go.

I have been working on my own now, scheduling my life. This week coming up I have appointments with the neurologist on Thursday, my same physiologist who was so disappointed with my stroke progress ten years ago on Wednesday, and various others on Tuesday and Friday.


I got a hair cut over the weekend. Melanie had little good to say about Washington General’s sense of style. “They have none, though they did a decent job of parting half to one side and shaving it.” There was no sense in reducing the left side to match the stubble on the right. The left is trimmed and the right must catch up. Pictures may follow.

37 comments:

  1. Wow, Joanne. You've had a battle on your hands. Your attitude should help with your recovery! Take care!

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  2. Hari Om
    Now that hairstyle sounds like one Emily might approve of!!! Kidding aside, I continue to think you are just a wonder, Joanne. So glad you are getting reasonably decent follow-up (and no insurance is ever satisfactory I fear); your self-discipline astounds me. YAM xx

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  3. I am in awe. And so grateful that your determination (stubbornness?) has kept you afloat.
    Good luck with all your appointments.

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  4. To all of us who have sustained blows to our health, and to everyone, your positive attitude and courage are inspirational. Keep writing, please. It helps.

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  5. I couldn't say it any better than Geo. You are one of a kind.

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  6. I do hope that you get the care you need, insurance or no! You never cease to amaze. Sure have had us all fooled if you've been working handicapped. There is surely nothing wrong with the way your head works. I think Laura rides a bus to school, so that is one thing you don't have to worry about? Thanks so much for keeping us in the loop. We care about you; we are all pulling for you.

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  7. You are doing so well using your brain power. I was only in an auto accident that caused head trauma. For months I just felt stupid. I could not concentrate long enough to read more than a paragraph of a book. And that I did not retain. Keep plugging away. You are my hero.

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  8. You're amazing! Had no idea that you'd had a stroke back when. Hope you continue to make good progress. Where's Laura? And how's she doing with all this.

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  9. With as much as you have to do to get completely well you shouldn't have to worry so much about insurance and limited rehab visits. Isn't the little red bus company you were on responsible for some of your costs? They should not pull out without warning and being sure everyone was seated or holding on to something.

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  10. Let me know if you need some contacts or references back there, I still know a few people at Cleveland Clinic, etc.
    Age sucks, eh? Having a procedure meself in a few weeks. Well, I guess those lines in our faces count for something....good luck, m'lady.
    Mike

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  11. With your injuries, Joanne, I am surprised that you only had nine days of rehab. That seems so wrong. My husband was in rehab last year for 18 days and Medicare paid it all. I do hope that you are getting at home care.

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  12. Hopefully with time, the hair grows back and you can get a more even type of style. Rehab can be very intense, sounds like you did the best you could with it when you were in it.

    betty

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  13. Hang in there Joanne. I think you are doing better than most of us ever would in similar circumstances. You are one strong and amazing lady. I pray you have a good recovery. xx

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  14. I am also surprised Medicare did not pay for more rehab. I thought they were good about that. And I completely agree with all the others who commented on what a tough woman you are! Very inspiring. Be well!

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  15. I adore you Joanne, you are an inspiration.

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  16. You stayed awake long enough to comment on a few blogs. There's progress there. I smiled when you appeared.x

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  17. 2 days subtracted? I hate insurance companies.

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  18. You are inspiring. It seems to me that you cope and do as much as any person could do under the best of circumstances, and yet you have had a lot to deal with.

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  19. here I am feeling sorry for myself and you have so many problems, what a strong person you are, I am sure that doesn't help when folks say how strong you are, it seems a crime that we work all our lives and never use insurance then when we are older and really need it it doesn't cover much at all. I can't help but be angry at the healthcare our politicians get compared to what we get on Medicare. If only they had what we have we would have much better is my thinking. I remember when I hurt my back I was supposed to go to PT but it was 47 miles away and I couldn't afford the fuel to drive there, not to mention when your back is bad how can you drive that many miles, so I had to forego the benefits. Luckily I know live 3 miles to just about all I need. What can we do but keep on keeping on. Perhaps the bus company should be partially responsible for your medical costs?

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  20. I agree with the others, shouldn't the bus company be liable for your injuries? interesting that your difficulties are stroke related after all this time instead of head trauma related. you are an amazing woman Joanne. and how is Laura doing?

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  21. Joanne - you are an inspiration to me too as I struggle to make sense of my life at the moment.

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  22. As we used to say in the old days, "Keep on Keeping on!" You've got this!

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  23. Nine days of rehab? That's a travesty.

    I'm so amazed at how you handled it all. And continue to handle it all.

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  24. I can't even imagine what you have been though. But I am so glad you are on your way back. You are my hero!!

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  25. I wish you all the best, and I'll pray for your recovery.

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  26. Anyone who can write such a lengthy account of this ordeal must be on the road to healing. There must be special place in Hades for insurance companies - and governments that limit our access.
    Now that your hair is heading toward a punk-rock look, maybe one of the girls can tint it lavender or a nice fuschia.

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    Replies
    1. Those are exactly the colors my granddaughters chose for their punk rock transformations.

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  27. Seeing your words makes me realize that you won't give up, and dammit, you won't let anyone else give up either.

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  28. You've been through a lot. I'm praying for you.

    Love,
    Janie

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  29. Well, Joanne, I've missed reading a few posts lately and certainly had to go back and find out what had happened to you. Thank goodness you are in recovery. It does seem that the bus or whoever owns the bus line (the city) would have some responsibility here? But that aside, it sounds like you and the girls have had a vacation you won't easily forget.

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  30. Thinking of you and hoping you get stronger & stronger. I hope Laura is Ok x

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  31. "I have been working on my own now, scheduling my life."
    You're a tough cookie, Joanne and I'm proud to know you. I hope you continue to improve and hope you are getting looked after as you do.
    I'm astounded at the insurance however. Nine days of therapy is all you get? what happens if that's not enough? If you need long-term therapy? are you supposed to follow a DIY routine?

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    Replies
    1. Now I'm in out-patient therapy, with two therapists I admire. I'll work harder this time.

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  32. Keep writing. Your candor helps us all, you know.

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  33. I wondered what happened to you, because I wasn't seeing any new posts from you. I hope your condition improves rapidly and you are back to your old self. Take care and remember I am rooting for you.

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  34. Wishing you a strong recovery.
    Coffee is on

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  35. Wow, you've been through the mill! You are in my thoughts.

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