Friday, June 24, 2011

Casts and other things to play with

With nothing else to do, I decided to make yesterday a productive day. I was determined to get a few things done that needed doing. The two main goals: find out what was going on with that money that was taken from me by Medicare at the start of the month, and order up my "Roll About knee walker."

The call to Social Security was surprisingly easy. I expected to be told to call various other agencies, just as I had been at the start of the month. Social Security told me to call Medicare. Medicare told me to call the local welfare office. The local welfare office told me to call the welfare office back in KS. KS told me to call welfare here in PA again. It was frustrating. But on my final call, the one to the local welfare office, I was told that it was possible that the overlap between services in KS and PA might have confused the system, and that it would take a few months to correct itself. That is, it would take a few months from when my services started here in PA back at the start of April, meaning that it should be corrected this month.

In my mind, that meant I could make calls until I was blue in the face with explaining the problem, and no one would be able to really do anything. This was a system error, and we'd have to wait for the system to catch up. If it didn't, THEN we'd have to find someone to go in and fix the problem. So I waited. And when I called yesterday, I was told by the SSI representative that the problem had been fixed on 21 June, and that I should have the money refunded to me within the next few weeks. And then she realized I had direct deposit, and that it would only take days.

For some goofy reason, I had greater faith in the system than that, immediately logged onto my bank's web site, and there it was: $346.20.

This brought yet another great sigh of relief from Becky and I. While she has managed to use her school loan money to pay for rent, she miscalculated and failed to cover July. That means we'll be paying that month out of pocket, and it's not cheap here. She's been fretting over how we'd be able to pay it and still be able to do things like eat. With the sudden arrival of that money, we can breathe easier.

My next big call was to a local surgical supply store for my Roll About knee walker. This is a device that is far more stable than crutches, and will ensure I put absolutely no pressure on the foot whatsoever.

The good news: they had one in stock and it could be delivered. The bad news was that insurance wouldn't cover it in any way, and it would cost $80 a month to rent. Well, since I was now sitting on an "extra" $346, I didn't see this as a problem. I ordered it and had it delivered to my apartment...

...and discovered that Roll About knee walker was the equivalent of a scooter on steroids. It has three wheels, with one in the back, a long seat/knee rest, and really tight handbrakes. The guy who delivered it showed me how to use it, and that's done my adjusting the height of the knee rest, laying my lower leg on it, shin-side down, and then pushing along with the other foot.

LET THE TERRORIZING BEGIN! There really wasn't much room in the apartment, but that didn't stop me from getting on it and chasing down Nike and Raine. Both cats fled before the monstrosity that is medical assistance equipment! (Insert evil laughter here.)

The problem, however, is that there really isn't room in here to maneuver. I can go from point A to point B without a problem. But then turning the thing around is a task and a half. I soon found myself getting off it to just pick it up and turn it around, which immediately defeated the purpose of having it. I resigned myself to cane-walking around the apartment, and using the walker when I'm out and about in the world.

And now it's time for news on the cast. It is, after all, part of the post title, so there must be news about it, right?

I was very impressed with how the cast was constructed. The very first thing the casting nurse put on my leg was strips of gauze soaked in calamine lotion. This was to protect my very delicate diabetic skin. I get an ulcer if you just look at my legs and feet wrong, so this precaution was greatly appreciated. It would also mean a lot less itching inside the cast. Then I received the standard amounts of thick padding. She started applying the fiberglass, and then, to my surprise, added even more padding to the bottom of the construct. This is why I keep telling people I have a GIANT cast. So much was added to this thing that I'm of the belief it could stop a bullet from a .357 Magnum. (A theory I will NOT be testing, thank you very much.)

Now for what may be a problem with the cast. You see, it's supposed to be full contact. That is, there should be no room whatsoever inside it for any kind of movement. A reduction in swelling is expected over time, but I don't think it was expected on the very first night. I spent the rest of the day - the day I got the cast - sleeping off the emotional drain the doctor's visit had brought. On top of that, I slept through the night. And come morning, there seemed to be entirely too much room inside the cast for it to be effective. And being the bed patient that I can oft times be, I kept moving my foot around inside the cast. I was doing this without thinking about it, and have to remind myself that I'm in this monstrosity for a reason.

Aside from playing with the cast in that way, nothing else, thankfully, has been happening. Becky, bless her, has yet to make good on her threat to buy a Sharpie and draw Sailor Moon characters on the cast while I'm asleep.

That's all I have to report at the moment. Becky and I are going to be heading out to do a little shopping, which means I'll FINALLY be getting some exercise. That scooter-walker-vehicle of destruction is sure to let me start working some muscles that have been getting soft over the last few months.

Be well, and DFTBA!

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