Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday Stroke Survival: What's Going On

Thanks to Obamacare <choke, choke>, my medical insurance changed as it did for most of us. As a result, instead of having 75 hours for PT, OT, and speech a year coverage I had 40 hrs of PT, 40 hrs of OT, and 40 hrs of speech therapies for a calendar year. This was good and bad. My premiums definitely went up. Big surprise there...not.

Old history, right? It's been enforce for a couple of years now. With these limitations in mind, here's how I work my therapy visits to last a whole year. Or, at least since I lost my old physical therapy group. I'll start the year with physical therapy (PT). Since I normally get Botox injections in January, it makes sense. I get both dry needling and PT stretching to gain the most I can. Since I've got a year of dry needling behind me, I can track when dry needling is for the optimum results. I use this accumulated data accordingly. I get Botox injections every 3 months so my therapies schedule sort of goes like this...

OT once a week for for 30-minute session the two weeks before and after Botox is scheduled. Just general heat, e-stim, and stretches to the best of the therapist ability. Believe me when I say, that even a 20 degree stretch on spastic muscles in my arm is a great relief. It hurts so good.

Two weeks after Botox is twice a week PT and dry needling. They are 30-45 minute sessions. This will continue for about 6 weeks.

I'll take a break from therapy for two weeks, and then start all over again. It comes pretty close to all of my PT and OT hours used by the end of the year. The beautiful part is the $30 copay disappears by February each year because not only have I met my deductible, but also my maximum out of pocket expense for the rest of the year. That equals to 80 hours of PT and OT a year. I actually gained 5 hours of contact time not including speech. What a novel concept.
Notice I only used my PT and OT hours. I still have 40 hrs I can use for speech therapy each year. I haven't yet used any speech therapy hours since the change. While in the Golden Isles, my stroke support group also had free, weekly communications meeting where we practiced speech and writing. Which was a blessing when my insurance only paid for 75 hours of all three. But since the change, the weekly meetings were enough, but I got plenty of practice with this blog and speaking for my husband.

Since moving to north Georgia, I don't see the need for structured appointments either. I write two blogs a week, videos on YouTube, and have a roommate who was in graduate school for speech therapy before moving here. No, Mel didn't graduate nor become an actual speech therapist, but she is an excellent prompter. Having someone around to interpret is a valuable resource for the aphasic. You get plenty of practice speaking.

My writing as in holding a pen to paper hasn't improved much, but then most of the time I'm on my computer typing. It takes me three to four days to write out a blog post so sometimes this blog suffers from the effort I use up on my homesteading blog. The YouTube channel keeps both of us busy producing quality products. Yes, I may mess up my words, but as with the blog, I can edit it out or correct myself while filming. I'll often mention my aphasia especially when I mess up too bad. I've coined phrases like "arm pit tight" instead of fingertip tight while canning and "using the tools God gave me" when using my teeth to open or close zipper lock bags. They have been endearing phrases to my two able handed viewers. To my disabled viewers, it's shown them nifty tricks of doing things. If I make a mess, I'll always clean it up while cooking. For pouring things from one big pot into another, I have my lovely assistant to help. I make no excuses and tell no lies. What you see is what you get just like this blog.

Nothing is impossible.