Monday, January 11, 2010

Politics and Hope

Wow. It has been a seriously busy week, and the upcoming weeks include 18+ medical appointments. Crazy lady has started occupational therapy, and she hopes it will enable her to regain some independence. Occupational therapy is teaching her how to compensate for the loss of strength in her hands and arms. They are teaching her how to do those little things we all take for granted-- dress, wash, cook, brush hair, clean clothes. The next time you wash your hair or put on your pants, try NOT using your hands. That's crazy lady's world, right now. It has also given her some positive glimpses into an otherwise dismal future. In other words-- for the first time in many months-- crazy lady has hope.

Another glimmer of hope has come from an unexpected source: her congresspersons office. Thanks to the wonderful suggestions by Linda of Bo, crazy lady went ahead and wrote her congressperson, John Garamendi. She's a realist- she knows that the political machine is tangled in bureaucracy. Nothing good might happen. But, what harm could it do? And, maybe it will prevent someone from getting hurt by incompetent social security medical contractors, in the future? Here's part of the letter she sent last week:

"...I am writing because I have grave concerns with the type of medical tests DDS has required me to perform, due to the inexperience of their medical consultants. The tests were in direct conflict with my treating physicians’ instructions, and have put my safety and health at high risk. It has become apparent that:

(1) DDS medical consultants have very little (if any) experience with cervical spinal cord injury and the progressive nature of my disease.
(2) The independent referral physicians used by DDS have very little (if any) experience with cervical spinal cord injury and disease.

... I had to refuse some parts of the medical exam; and, as a result, my case will most likely be denied and I will have to undergo a lengthy appeals process. However, what if I were someone who could not say “no” to a physician during an exam that put her life at risk? I understand that errors happen, but there is something very wrong with a medical review system that permits these kinds of mistakes..."
Congressperson Garamendi's office sent crazy lady some paperwork to complete, and she called because, well, she can't hold a pen to write. She was hoping they could send her an electronic version of the questionnaire (dragon ROCKS for voice recognition). She spoke with Karen Tedford in the Walnut Creek office, and learned that his office often meets with representatives from the Social Security Administration, to review problems and issues brought to their attention by his constituents. Again, crazy lady is a realist, and she knows nothing good might happen- but, she was encouraged by Karen Ts professionalism, experience and tenacity. The woman had an obvious passion for her work, and a belief in "doing the right thing." So, even in this insane, chaotic world, good things happen.

p.s. Oh, and the paperwork? Karen T apologized and said "don't worry, what you sent should be good enough for them-- sorry, did I scare you?" Crazy lady just laughed. Karen T had the same scary voice that crazy lady used to have, when she worked for Corporate America.


LK said...

Good luck w/the occupational therapy and continuing battle with SSA, CL! We are rooting for you!

Linda of Bo

Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Paws khrossed!

Woo've got lots of Siberian power pulling fur woo!

Khyra and Her Khrazy Lady
PeeEssWoo: That LK is pawesome!

The OP Pack said...

We are very impressed. We will hope along with you that a lot of good comes of this intervention. Don't give up - keep at them.

Woos, Phantom and Thunder

Wild Dingo said...

WOW! awesome. role model. seriously. you've been on our minds lately.
wild dingo

KB said...

I hope that this route works, and I hope with all my heart that your medical situation becomes more and more manageable.