Changes and Medicaid

I should be asleep, I was up at Six AM unable to sleep, my mind entrenched in researching what it will take to get Medicaid to cover a new wheelchair. I just got my scooter but my needs have already changed. This might actually be enough, despite being told by my Wheelchair Provider, “Suck it up, you have to wait five years before they will even consider another chair.” I left feeling anger at the young man, first he failed to repair my chair, then the manufacturer also failed and they gave it back to me running but barely manageable. It doesn’t turn.

How can I function with a chair that won’t go around a corner without a circus routine being thrown in to the mix? I gave up on driving indoors with the one I have a while ago. It is too bulky to fit inside. I didn’t know they should have let me drive it before I was left with the chair, or that I should have known with in a month, by some strange magical process that the chair was wrong for me.

I had an accident, before I started this blog, as well. I sat in a chair, in my own home and due to age and exposure to extreme weight for twenty or more years, it collapsed. It felt like I sat on air, even as the wood cracked like a shot gun. For me, when something frightening happens the world slows down to a snail’s pace. I could see the terror in my friend’s faces, and was glad instantly that the abusive roommate wasn’t out of her room yet.

I felt too, the pain as my body tipped into a position that it no longer could sustain. I knew I was going down. I felt this same slowness when my back broke initially, it took forever. I was actually bored by the time the car finished it’s impact and by the time the chair hit the floor, wanting the pain to come, so that it could be over.

The result of my strange slowdown is two fold. The problem is the anticipation of pain might be either smaller or larger than the actual pain. Anticipating it I may tense up, making the imapct worse. On the flip side I can also work through strategies on how to land, shift position, and protect myself. I also can go through panic by the time I hit the floor. I just hate feeling like I am in a Zack Snyder Film. My least favorite director, his trademark is Super Slow Motion Story Time.

I was lucky, I did not hit my head on the chair. I should have but when I just let myself go, my body relaxing until impact, this changed how I flowed through the air. I was impaled on a wooden stake, and immediately made a Buffy Joke, unaware that the joke was too close to reality. I barely bled. My instinct too is to slow my heart rate, to stop all unnecessary functions. this is fine enough but, also is dangerous. I am not sure where I learned it either, but it might be my Mother. She does it too.

My service cat kicked into action, running first to try and fetch any human left in the house, then, checking to see if I was still breathing, before she called for help via telephone. My Person and my PCA (Personal Care Attendant) were both called. Then I went via ambulance with the nicest and most well informed paramedics. I do not know what these emergency personnel are called in other countries but they are our first responders, along side Firemen, and the police.

They were worried, and told me so, because I was far too calm. I reminded them that panic doesn’t do anything for you and hinders care, and that my friends had panicked enough. I had spent half an hour on the floor, trying to not move. I started shaking violently, having small seizures as my body protested. Finally, my seizing was documented. It is related to my level of pain. They gave me some morphine at the hospital, just before sending me home.

First they did Xrays, nothing appeared to be wrong. It’s been a month, maybe two. I am never really sure how much time passes, a side effect of my childhood mental health care and severe traumas. I am not sure which one caused this, PTSD or too many pills. The Xray tech was a student. He was cute too, though I barely registered that. He and his supervisor had a patient who could not move into their positions for the most part, my body refused and it was unsafe until after xrays due to the existing injury.

I found something new, they accommodated my body and still got the needed film. This is rare. Usually they twist you, ignoring your screams, telling you it will just be a second. Xray time is a form of abject torture. Why? Well, there is not usually much they can do to accommodate, or they forgot how. I had a smart tech and a brilliant student. I told him too, he should stick with it and that if he wanted I would write a personal recommendation. I gave him my email address and telephone number.

I have a trained reflex to try and fix people, and this evolved into making bad jokes and never crying in the ER. I cried that night, and there was blood. I still made bad jokes but, I finally had an ER doctor that knew it was the pain talking. I had to make jokes in order to seem okay. I couldn’t stop. That was when I started trying to make myself accept that I need a therapist. Self defeat is not an option when your body is already falling apart.

You know those toys with strings in them, that when you squish them they collapse? I feel like I am one of those and someone keeps hitting that button. I often look like that when I fall too. The analogy is too close for my Person. He doesn’t mind my jokes usually but sometimes when they are cruel and anti my existence he has to remind me to be gentle with myself.

The hospital I chose was full. It rarely is, and that meant anywhere else I would’ve been worse off. I live right next door too, the Women’s Hospital. A hospital dedicated soley to the health of women! They were the first place to accommodate a need, long ago. They woke me up to being treated like a human by doctors.

As we left my doctor shared a funny story, perhaps to illustrate how unfunny any trauma was, but, it was amusing in it’s tragedy. Here it is paraphrased, beyond this point, if you are squeamish, I would skip the blue text.

You like jokes? Well, I have a sort of funny story for you. Lately we’ve been seeing a new type of meth.” So far not funny.”People are mixing laundry detergent and amonia and injecting this into their bodies. Supposedly the best high yet. We have seen a few who miss the vein.” I am busy imagining what the ammonia is doing to their brains, when my Person shudders and the doctor continues, “Each one had gangrene before coming in. I know this isn’t the funny part. Seeing their flesh cook from the inside out, but, they usually start seeing things. That’s where it gets funny. Blue bunnies, almost all of them see blue bunnies.

I took this attempt at illustrating just how funny it wasn’t to heart. When I was in the ER for my Anaphalactic Shock I did not tell a single joke. Not being able to breathe helped, but, that story echoed in my head. Most of them left before they were fully treated. It too raised the awareness of the scents behind this new Meth. I did not list all of the ingredients here either, but he did. Now, I know, if I smell really clean laundry and it smells like ammonia too, watch out!

Life is full of change. None  of it is easy, but, I follow some practices of Dharma with in Buddhism, this doesn’t make me a complete Buddhist, there are more components to my religion. It has helped me however, find some acceptance in being born into this body, in my family, and in the things I believe. Some protest Buddhims as a load of bull because there are aspects that could lead to self blame. I see it merely as another tool for coping with change. Buddhism is a life style, not, a religion.

I go back to the grindstone, trying to find resources to take to my doctor to explain my new needs. Likely I will see another wheelchair doctor, walk my few shaky steps, explain why they are fewer. I get tired of the explanations. Do they ever stop?

A Response to “What are Service Animals?”

This conversation was held on MSN. My friend is using the Alias Tiffy, in respect to her cat. She asked the question about service animals and our discussion illuminates a bit more about what a cat is capable of. Eventually I will (hopefully) post video of my cat performing her tasks. I am sad to say my cat has an Upper Respiratory Infection courtesy of the shelter system and our new housemate. This doesn’t mean that you should not adopt, just make sure to get your cats medical care when they need it. All typos are left as is in the conversation, though emoticons were removed.

Tiffy says:
Ah, makes sense but scince I can’t see you, how can a cat help you walk?
Kateryna says:
My cat naturally shifts her weight to not fall. So, I trained her to shift her weight to help me not fall. What this means is that when I am walking and start to tip too far in one direction she goes to the other side of me and I can compensate.
Kateryna says:
She has cut my falling down by over 90%
Kateryna says:
Not enough   To stop me needing a wheelchair but I can go pee without falling five times in the six step journey
Tiffy says:
I think I understand
Kateryna says:
Awesome
Kateryna says:
Any other questions?
Tiffy says:
What else is she trained to help with?
Kateryna says:
She alerts me when I forget to take my meds. There is thankfully a lag time between the morphine leaving my system and the pain slamming back into me, and she can sense it. The trained response is for her to either get my med bag for me, or to yowl three times in a row.
Kateryna says:
If I need my meds and cannot reach them she is also trained to retrieve them.
Kateryna says:
She can also dial for an ambulence and can even call Locke on his cell if I fall or somesuch
Tiffy says:
Wow
Kateryna says:
She is trained to warn me when someone approaches from behind me, which cuts down on flashbacks and/or protects me from a random hand right on the injury
Kateryna says:
She used to do more but she is aging and has been sick enough times that the training had to be forgotten for her own sake.
Kateryna says:
Her mouth got torn up, she used to pick up objects etc.
Kateryna says:
She is even trained to “read” some packaging for me at the store, because i am blind as a bat and cannot see much anymore. So, she identifies the shapes or however she does it and paws the package
Tiffy says:
Ow
Kateryna says:
Yeah, she is allergic to poultry and the reaction cut up he rmouth,
Kateryna says:
The other things she does are more instinctual responses with trained reactions
Tiffy says:
Poor thing =/
Kateryna says:
She has a particularly shrill warble she gives when I am going to pass out, and if I stay still she calms down
Kateryna says:
If i am going to have a seizure she will yowl until I either stop doing what I am doing, it hits, or until I sit down, depending on what I am up to.
Kateryna says:
during the pass out time she calls for help, by going to every room in the house and making a ruckus
Kateryna says:
When it is a seizure she moves up to my chest and sits there unless I signal her to get help
Tiffy says:
So I guess most people who have service animals are pretty attacted to them, they’re really amazing
Kateryna says:
she is too sick to work right now, and I cannot get out of bed.
Kateryna says:
Direct correlation.
Kateryna says:
Without my service animal I cannot go outside, I cannot function.
Kateryna says:
It is worse actually than what it was like before she came into my life, because although my back is broken and my legs barely work, with her I feel as free as I did before my injury, and in some ways freer.
Kateryna says:
I lack saftey, I lack security, I fell four times this morning trying to do my daily things like peeing, because she is sleeping off her sickness.
Kateryna says:
I am also terribly worried about her, so I am not as efficient in my work.
Kateryna says:
A service animal is another limb. I love her more than Locke, but he understands why.
Tiffy says:
I hope she gets better soon
Kateryna says:
When she was electrocuted a year ago, he sent me money we needed for him to move out here, it took another six months to get him here but she would[ve died without it, and i am not sure I could survive without them BOTH. One I can handle being without but it sucks.

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