Friday, February 20, 2009

My love-hate relationship with California

I hate the way the state of California handles its money. Really I do. They're broke, and because of that a lot of people are suffering. We did get paperwork filled out for Needlenoggin's California disability checks, only to find out that MediCal has only approved him for 8 physical therapy visits. EIGHT. Oh, and instead of 8 hour-long visits, he gets 45 minutes because they've cut the hours for his PT.

Now, it was going to be hard to get anything useful out of this Physical Therapy place anyway, because they have an exercise bike he can't use, 2 treadmills, a harness that can't lift him upright and some yoga balls. However, I'd hoped that with him going every week or two, he's get confident in his abilities, whatever they are, and learn some new stretches and strengthening exercises. However, instead of that once a week or once every two weeks (what we'd been assured would be his schedule, at a minimum, they're allowing him 45 minutes every 7 weeks. In a building older than my grandparents with an elevator that makes me anxious, nevermind how it makes Needlenoggin feel.

Unbelievable.

And then, every once and a while, we hit the jackpot. While waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for a psychiatric referral for anti-anxiety drugs, we found Alameda County's Emergency clinic for psychiatric meds. Sausal Creek is a miracle (well, at least the doctor we've seen twice is. The waiting time is terrible and at least one of the nurses has some severe power-issues, but still). The man met Needlenoggin, talked with him and changed his anti-depressant, and when we came back to have the Rx refilled (they can only write 2 week scripts), noticed a marked difference in Needlenoggin. Let me make clear that the doctor we saw is FANTASTIC, cares about his patients (Needlenoggin doesn't get much of that, generally) and has a wonderful demeanor. Thank you!

We have noticed it too, especially as he's come off the Paxil he was on (MediCal likes Paxil since it is cheap and available as a generic). It was better, but there were still major sleep and panic issues, so we kept searching around for another doctor, a different treatment or a better medication.

We finally found a doctor who was willing to look over all of Needlenoggin's records, medications, their interactions, and prescribe him something to help with the pain and the anxiety. All of the treatment options he offered were sort of experimental, but that's partly because Needlenoggin has burned through the majority of the conventional nerve pain meds. We were wary, but at this point he'd be willing to try accu-puncture or chanting if it would help dull the pain and let him get to sleep before 4 am. And you know what? The doc up here at the Heathcare Options clinic was compassionate, kind and understanding. We've been on both the new medications this week, and let me tell you something:

Right now, I live with my little brother, who happens to be sitting down a little more frequently than he did before the accident. It isn't perfect, because living with him never was, and he's still in pain and still a little emotionally unstable...but he has hope that things will get better, and he's willing to work on recovering despite the idiotic way the system is set up. he even took the bus to go pick up Rorysaurus from school, across our town and into another city 5 miles away, all by himself. I've never been happier for him, and I know that he's enjoying getting to bed at midnight and being able to function by ten in the morning.

Here's Needlenoggin and Rorysaurus on Valentine's Day (she's got her Totoro from us and her Batman Valentine from him)

18 comments:

Erin said...

I am so glad to hear you got a doc that gives a squat.... I can only imagine how trying all of this is on all of you... and dont get me started on the Medical and my MIL who was in an explosion last july... and just got out of the hospital a couple weeks ago after a massive infection in her intestines because her medicaid or something ran out so they kicked her out of the ICU burn unit to a step down hospital.. grrr...

Anyways... sorry to bring that up!!! I look forward to more updates and hope that things only get better from here...

Mara from Motherofalltrips said...

Thank you for the update - I'm always glad to hear what's going on with your family. Thank goodness that you finally found a doctor who is really helping. That's the saddest part in my eyes - clearly the system makes it difficult for anyone, patient or caregiver, to function well. I can't imagine it feels good for anyone.

Here's to Needlenoggin - I hope things only continue to brighten for him. You are all my heroes.

Anonymous said...

So happy to hear that Andy was able to pick up Rory from school on the bus.

morganna said...

Fantastic that he was able to pick up Rorysaurus from preschool! Sounds like things are going a little better, but a long way to go. Good luck!

Ms. Bar B: said...

Wishing for better days for all of you. Hopefully some of this "new money" will trickle down to this state and be put to good use.

Its great to see that there are still smiles =)

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