06 January 2010

A Visit With The Rehab Guy

We met with the rehab guy the other day about new ways to drive my power chair. In our latest encounter with the Red Queen, I'm finding I no longer have the strength or range of motion in my hands and arms to use a fairly standard, garden-variety joystick to get where I want to go. The minor modifications we made six months ago now endanger entire city blocks, putting large numbers of innocent pedestrians at risk. It's kind of scary for all concerned.

Anyway, this guy (Let's call him Mike. Because that's his name.) is with a new durable medical equipment provider. This has got to be a good thing, because the company I've been dealing with up to now, the one from whom I purchased the chair originally and the only one in the area I was aware of, is incredibly horrible. Like, epic horrible. Amazingly, frustratingly, expensively, infuriatingly, I-don't-know-how-you-guys-stay-in-business horrible. Like, every interaction I've had with this company, and there have unfortunately been many over the past several years, has turned into a many-phone-call, multi-appointment comedy of errors. Even something that should be as straightforward as replacing the battery on my power chair. Really. If I had known there was anyone else within 50 miles, they'd have had my business before now. Anyway. The physical therapist says Mike is pretty good. Between her recommendation, and the fact that he could hardly be worse than my old provider, it was definitely worth a try.

We had expected to talk about two possible solutions:
  • Some kind of modification to the size, shape, or position of the joystick control, which we expected to be more-or-less affordable but would, the way things are going, probably have us racing the Red Queen again in a few months
  • A new control that I would operate with my chin or head, which I could probably use for longer but would probably cost more.
That's about what he told us, but instead of more-or-less affordable and expensive options, turns out they're both expensive options. Why am I not surprised. My insurance would pick up most of it, but even the co-pay would be a pretty good chunk of change.

We'll have to think about it. I know we'll have to switch to something else before too long. For now, we've come up with a homegrown jury-rig to my current joystick control that's working pretty well. For now, that will do.

I was feeling pretty good about having evaded, at least temporarily, durable medical equipment hell.

At lunch today, my footrest came off.


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