Archive for July, 2007

A Limb-Rick

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

There once was a request for money

To an agency by me for my honey.

Said the man with alarm

“But he still has one arm!

He wants TWO? Why that ain’t even funny!”

The agency is working through some financial worksheets with me before they can tell me if they can offer aid. The limb-rick is born of the gentleman’s comments as we conversed.

“Does he need an arm to continue or obtain employment?”

“Well, no, they won’t fire him if he doesn’t have one.”

“So, does he really need it?”

“Well, having two arms would let him do…..er… twice as much as having one.”

“We gave help to a man who doesn’t even use the prosthetic at all now. We don’t want that to happen.”

I did not tell him that 70% or so of upper limb amputees do not continue to use prosthestics. I mean, how could I possibly predict that for him?

Anyhow, we are hot on the trail of our prosthetic solution.

Going out on a limb here…

Sunday, July 1st, 2007

I am thinking Jim may be milking this whole amputation thing…  NOW he wants me to do the lymph massage that his therapist does for him.  In his defense, the therapist seemed to assume as well that I would do this on non-therapy days.  Lymph massage helps move the fluid that is currently pooling a bit along his side. Personally, I think he has taken a page from the cat’s book…

However, he is doing really well. The arm continues to heal and the scar is completely closed and looking good. His therapist is working on neck stretches to get 40 years of constriction to relax.  She also works on strength isometrics for the residual limb (yes, that is the “PC” term for what everyone else calls the stump…). In my absence last week Jim was completely self-sufficient and ace-bandage wrapped his arm himself.  Not even sure HOW one does that.  He continues to amaze me, as always. (Why this amazing man chose me is a mystery that I do not dwell on too much lest I discover I truly am NOT worthy.)

We are finding out that cost information about prosthetics is hard to come by and that our insurance will only pay for the mechanical type.  This is the oldest technology where the wearer has cables that are hooked to a harness that crosses the wearer’s body and is operated by shrugs and the like. I am working on obtaining information from a couple of sources about other funding options and finding out if our insurance would pay up to the cost of that arm toward the myoelectric arms that we are going to have (emphasis mine and intentional). My initial estimates of arm costs seem to have been low. The electrically controlled arms may be in the $50,000 range and up, but I cannot for the life of me find a cost on the mechanically operated ones.  Assumption being they run about $10,000. Most of the data I can find says that an arm generally does not need to be replace for 10 – 15 years, although consistent users tend to replace sooner to take advantage of the new technological advances.

Anyhow, the ITCH UPDATE is that they went away fairly quickly following ye olde shot in el buttocks.  Usually I am stricken for two full weeks before the waning in the third week. This time I was healing by the end of the first week so travelling with my sister and family was basically itch-free. The upshot is, sadly for the yard, I am NOT weeding gardens until I can find the stuff. Doesn’t matter a lot though as I am leaving for a three-week college stint in Colorado in a week so some lawn service will be dealing with the yard in my absence.