The quest for a new wheelchair is underway. Paulyne, a physical therapist from Amedisys, the home health place Dr. Verson set me up with, and Lance, an assistive technology professional, according to his business card, from NuMotion, got things going last Friday. They spent nearly two hours in the apartment assessing my needs and trying to put them into words the insurance company’s miserly bean counters will find acceptable. While they were here, I felt as though I were in an office. Paulyn and Lance sat across from each other at the table, their laptops open in front of them, and their phones ringing more than a few times.
If all goes well, the new chair will help me to, as Mom so often told me, “Sit up straight!” My left side is weaker than my right, and I list to port as soon as I sit down. I have used books, pillows, a laptop case, and sundry other items to help keep me upright, without much success. It would also be nice if the wheelchair had a gizmo to lift the footplate and raise my legs a little. The chair doesn’t have to recline, but it sure would be nice if it enabled me to change the position of my legs. They do cramp up now and then.
According to Lance, if the insurance people are agreeable to the proposal, those two extravagant features will end up taking about three thousand dollars out of my pocket. I’ll do what I have to do, and pay what I have to pay. But, you’d think in this presidential election year, the insurance company would be willing to fork over at least a few dollars to keep me from leaning to the left.
Yesterday, Russ and I spent an hour in Dr. Verson’s office. The people there were delighted with the completeness of the assessment Lance and Paulyne did. They did the assessment the same way the assessment for my old chair was done at the Cleveland Clinic, with the PT and the person from the company working on it together. Apparently, that’s not the way folks in the Columbus do it – NuMotion is in Tifton, Georgia, which is south of Atlanta, along I-75. “This is great,” the nurse said of the assessment. “Everything is here. Dr. Verson will sign it and we’ll send it out right away. I’ll have to see if we can get NuMotion to give some business cards.”
Now, there is nothing left to do but wait.
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Rob, an occupational therapist who also works for Amedisys, came to give my arms a workout Monday morning. He keeps up a good line of chatter and along the way he asked me where I was from. When I told him I grew up in the Pittsburgh area, he had some stories to tell.
When he was in college, Rob became friends with a guy who had played high school baseball for Upper St. Clair. “I went home with him once, and we hung out Gordo. Gordo played ball for their big rival. Who was there big rival?”
“No, that wasn’t it.”
“Maybe, Mt. Lebanon?”
“Yeah, that’s it,” Rob said. “Gordo was from Mt. Lebanon.”
Rob then told me about another trip to Pittsburgh during his college days.
“I met this girl from Pittsburgh; she went to Carnegie Mellon. I went to see her once when I was up there. Her parents lived on the side of a hill, and you could look out and see all the buildings and the rivers. There was some sort of regatta going on, and we could see all the boats.
“I took her to dinner one night. I think the place was called O’Reilly’s – I’m not sure, I know it was O’ something. Anyway, I got the check. I figured it would be about fifty bucks, but when I looked at it, it was almost eighty dollars. I looked again and realized they had charged me over and over for my iced tea. I must have had eight glasses, and it wasn’t even sweet tea. I had to put sugar in it. Then I noticed an asterisk at the bottom of the check: ‘We charge for refills of everything but water.’
“I told the waitress I was a student, didn’t have much money, and besides, I didn’t know I was being charged every time I asked for more tea. She got the manager. I told him, ‘Look, I’m from Alabama. Down there, we drink tea like water.’ He said, ‘I know what you mean. I’m from Atlanta.’ And he took all the refills off the check.”
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Good father that I am, I thought it my duty to snap a picture of the weather conditions outside my window.