At the rehab hospital, I was fitted with a leg brace to correct my right foot drop, a major cause of tripping. A fellow came in, plastered my leg, cut off the form and was gone. It would be several weeks to the brace, so I asked for exercises to strengthen my foot and ankle in my outpatient work. By damn, exercise on the foot machine workes.
In the meantime, I had one more thing to sort out—the pain. My knees hurt and my back hurt worse. I have a new rheumatology doctor, because the old one retired. The new doctor is named Rachel, has wild, frizzy blond hair and two young children. Told her I was there for her to shoot my knees with cortisone, and it needed to be done every 12 to 18 months. We talked it over, we agreed, got it done, shook hands and I was gone.
Now, the damn back. That would be Dr. DeRen. I’d determined his smaller morning dose of Lyrica lasted until noon, and I was adding an oxycodone from my “stash” for the afternoon. He added another small Lyrica for the afternoon (“Because I don’t prescribe oxycodone, you know”), and all was well. Except for explaining it all to my tight lipped primary care, but I had no problems to get solved with her, so all was well.
She did ask me to ask Dr. DeRen to tell her when I would be “normal” again. I told her he probably doesn’t know; he just calls me “a force of nature.”
And, the brace came. I wore is as instructed, half a day then three quarters, then all day, for a week. I am more flat footed than an elephant, and there was no provision to stop my ankle from rubbing savagely on the brace. It was heavy; I could not control its movement. That was worse than toe drop; I did not know where my foot would land against the brace weight. Finally; it did not end toe drop because I’m not strong enough to get the brace firmly on the ground. So, I had heel drag.
The brace cost the tax payers and my insurance company in excess of $1,500. There was no possibility of a refund to them, but I wanted the manufacturing company to know. The rep and I discussed the brace, and he brought out carbon braces, light as a feather. I tried two, which I could not afford to purchase, of course. Both were lovely, but bothered my knee. That could be modified, he said, but I just left it. Insurance would not pay for a second brace. The rep apologized again. He was sorry, but this was what my rehab doctor ordered and authorized.
Oh, the light bulbs flashing before my eyes. The rehab doctor who was actually a podiatrist, did not involve himself with the fit and function of that brace. In fact, I never saw him. Apparently my daughter did; she said he is the one who said I could not drive a car. The text book “brain trauma equals do not drive a car.” There was no evaluation to see if that was the case. That rehab doctor was not a straight arrow. He kept me in the hospital one extra day, with no rehab services because that insurance was done, but in my room because there was one day left on that insurance.
That’s all I had to talk about tonight. There are good people; there are straight arrows. Then, there are scallywags, and people who find believing them is easier than finding the truth.
I am stunned by the design of this brace, compared to the solid, leg encompassing chunk of plastic I had. This brace is well thought, easy to put on, easy to wear. Hooray for the engineer who designed it.