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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Short changed

  
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.

31 comments:

  1. SO much money is wasted with doctors and insurance companies playing the game. Hope you get the better brace and that back pain clears up.

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  2. You have access to a wide variety of doctors, Joanne. Also, you have made amazing progress in spite of the clumsy brace.

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  3. I am seeing red on your behalf. For all the good it does ...

    I am so sorry the brace didn't work well, and that you could not get the lighter ones. At times, even a "force of nature" must get discouraged.

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  4. I had a custom made brace once for my knee; cutting edge supposedly. I wore it a few times and made my knee hurt worse. I was too young for a knee replacement as they didn't last as long at first. Just got to keep on keepin' on and possibly one of the 'specialists' will get it right.

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  5. Hari OM
    This sort of 'lack' is horribly common and I am disturbed you have been subject to it. Especially as you have now experienced how it 'might have been'... grrrrrr... The straight arrows will be staff and rod though. Thank heavens for them. YAM xx

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  6. So - I think I am understanding that you do not have the brace in the last photograph, and I find that crummy. I know you are doing well because of your determined personality, but I wish all the doctors were as helpful as they should be. But remembering my own experience, they are not........Be well!

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  8. What a crock, why don't they bbc listen to us instead of the experts.

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  9. Sigh. I am glad for the good that you experienced and hissing and spitting up a storm at the others. I so wish you could get a lighter brace. And you most definitely ARE a force of nature.

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  10. Shame the doctor prescribed something totally useless for you when there was obviously something much more suited. Makes you wonder if there was some type of a kick back he got from the original brace design and that's why he went with that rather than something that could actually have helped you.

    betty

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  11. I am so sorry, Joanne. You certainly did not deserve this! Yes, Old Man and I have encountered some scallywags these past few years. And, so many times, money enters into the picture. Cover up the harm done, we don't want bad publicity! If the world were fair, insurance would have to pay for a brace that works; it isn't your fault the first one was so faulty. Thanks for keeping us up to date on what is going on. We care.

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  12. There's a lot of those sort of people. Their families think they do a wonderful job.

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  13. Joanne - my thought are with you my dear. It makes all my problems seem a little less (sorry to be so selfish but sometimes I get overwhelmed by things) - I do hope things improve for you - you are such a stalwart and don't deserve all this.

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    1. You are so sweet, Pat. My heart breaks for you. No one I love has died. We're just examples of getting on, day by day.

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  14. You are so inspiring Joanne, the smart way you look at the world, i wish i was like that.

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  15. How can anyone recommend a brace without being involved in the fit and function of it? That is REALLY bad doctoring.
    The pictured brace looks interesting. it corrects foot drop by keeping the foot flat? Do exercises and brace support eventually cure the foot drop or is a brace necessary for the rest of your life?

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    1. We walk heel, toe, heel, toe. But, the ball of the foot hits the ground and then we "roll" through on the toe. These braces have "lifted" toes, so you land on the ball of the foot and roll through on the toe. The plastic one I had was so heavy and awkward I could not control where I stepped. My foot swung left, right. It was more dangerous than useful.

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  16. Is it possible the bad brace is meant to be worn with a sturdy boot to prevent ankle rub? Or several layers of thick socks? That would be so awkward and uncomfortable in summer.

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  17. My mother used to tell me that after a certain age, you are treated differently by the medical community. You are treated more like a cash cow than a person. At times, I think she was right.

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    1. I certainly agree with your mom! Once we reach a certain age, it seems the idea is, "oh, well, you are at the end of the road anyway, so what does it matter? At age 65, my husband became unable to turn his head. A cervical vertebra problem. The neurologist said, "well, my goodness, you are 65 years old. Why don't we just treat you with pills?" Husband was scandalized!! Insisted on surgery. Fixed problem in a hurry! That was 20 years ago!!

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    2. I saw the phenomena starting in my fifties. I called it "old lady medicine" (how prejudiced!), and began what has been my life long challenge to be educated about what is happening to me. It's fun to be in charge; but it's sad to be behind the eight ball when not able to pay full attention, like the business with the brace.

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  18. Joanne, I meant to send you a vase some time in the past and neglected to do so, send me an email with your new address and I'll send you one of my vases. the orange one is rather small so I'll send the lavender one. my email is at the top of my blog.

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  19. dh read that women doctors are far more thorough and compassionate than men doctors, if I don't like a doctor I just switch to another. when I had my low thyroid I went to 10 different doctors and most of them seemed like quacks, one said oh you're just going through the change you'll be fine; one said must be cheating on my diet and eating cakes and ice cream and candy, another said I was just hysterical and wan't dying, although I almost did die, oh brother, a simple TSH test and finally the last doctor determined my TSH was 169 and normal was between 1 and 4. I would have slipped into a coma very shortly if not treated. Seems none of the doctors will prescribe any pain meds any longer, I told one that it seems strange that druggies can get drugs but those in real pain can't get them, I too keep a stash and it has saved me when my shoulder was injured, and my other knee and I still have the stash which proves I am not a druggie. Humph to the medical bureaucracy

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    1. My TSH was close to 200 before I got anyone's attention!

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  20. Oh, I am so sorry you are having problems with your limbs. Hope it all heals pretty soon.

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  21. It is sad the amount of money that is wasted in the name of health care! I am horribly flat footed myself.

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  22. Dear Joanne, so much waste and so much greed also in health care. I so hope that at some point our government can truly deal with how to provide good universal coverage. Peace.

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    1. Wouldn't that be wonderful. It would be like a thank you gift from the universe for being kind to each other.

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  23. Oi! You get some good; you get some bad. I wish I could remove the bad part. If your primary care physician wants information from Dr. Bird, then she should contact him instead of making you her carrier pigeon. As for the doctor who ordered the brace, I won't say what I think because I'm a Christian woman.

    Love,
    Janie

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  24. I wish a good break for you in your health care issues. A good brace would be [art of that wish.

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  25. I could come up with any number of other names than scallywag for that idiot who treated you and thought only of money.

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