Monday, April 25, 2005

How to do major ouchies

I have a good friend who recently managed to blow out the bilateral cruxate ligaments on BOTH knees, doing nothing more strenuous than walking downhill. She is now, after surgery, confined to 6 weeks with knees straight, without any kind of home help other than a beleagured hubby. I too have suffered home health hell, several years ago when I fractured L2 and L3 vertebrae in my spine, getting flung off a horse. I was 2 weeks in the hospital, 6 weeks in a body cast that ran from underarms to hip on one leg, and to knee on the other leg, and then 3 months in a body brace. You never appreciate all that you expect your body to do for you until it doesn't do it anymore. Simple things, like getting dressed and going potty are now massive undertakings, and time becomes this weird, strung out thing; hours crawl by like weeks and days are endless and boring. You lie there, trying not to be a colossal pain to whomever is taking care of you -- especially if it is your family, who you'll have to live with afterwards. My mom came to stay with us, bless her heart, I don't know what I would have done otherwise. Gone to a nursing home? My friend's insurance, in that high handed manner all insurance companies have these days, informs her that they won't pay for any nursing care, not even for once a week baths, it doesn't matter what the doctor ordered. When I think of all the health reform that Hilary Clinton tried to get going back when, and everyone said, "Horrors, no, we can't have the government telling doctors what to do!" I just laugh, because of course what we have now is worse, it's the insurance companies, eye fast on the great bottom line, that dictate EVERYTHING with no recourse to courts, the law, or anything or anyone else. Take it or leave it. No consistency between coverages, no real appeal, incredibly high premiums, and incredibly high profits. Hospitals forced to release sick patients or destroy their own bottom line; oh, don't get me started.

Anyway, as you wend your way through you mundane day-to-day business, give a thought to what it would be like if you couldn't walk, or stand, or even pull your own britches up, but had to rely on someone else for all that and more. And be glad for your functioning, even those that aren't quite what they used to be, because we're all of us only one mistep away from disaster.

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