Monday, September 13, 2010

August Update from Brian

Wow time is just flying by these days, which I guess it does once you get older but after getting out of the hospital and getting over being near bed ridden in October of 2009 it has almost kicked into another gear in my world.  I think it is because I have some self imposed deadlines/goals for where I want to be physically as I continue doing what I can to recover. I swear summer just started but we are pretty much getting into fall. The best thing about fall by far is the start of football season!  Of course I will watch my teams, NC State and the Washington Redskins, but it is just football in general I am excited about.  I really can watch pretty much any college or NFL game and for years football has been my favorite sport to watch.  I do want my teams to do well but years of following them with very limited success have conditioned me to not have much in the way of expectations. I definitely miss going to games, I went to a decent amount of NCSU games growing up and some when I was there in school and after graduating my father and I had season tickets but I have not been since my accident. People tried to get me to consider going last year but I did not and I will maybe consider it this year but I know it will not be the same and in some ways that will just make me mad.

The biggest news is that one of my younger twin sisters, Myra, is now engaged! It just happened over Labor Day weekend and I do not think it has really set in yet but I have seen her wearing the ring. I am happy for her and Andrew (not to be confused with Leah’s Andrew) but I cannot help but laugh a little bit since in some ways I still view her as my tomboy little sister I nicknamed Pete, which friends and I at times called her up until probably a few years ago. I remember her being in middle school and wanting to play me in basketball in the backyard. We would play a game maybe to 11 and I would let her take a commanding lead 9-0 before I would always mount a “magical” comeback and win the game.  The whole family is really happy for her and really like Andrew and can really tell she is happy with things these days.

I've got a pretty busy rest of the year. I am headed back to Kennedy Krieger in Baltimore for couple of weeks at the beginning of October and finally will be at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta starting the first week of December. I am not sure how long I will be in Atlanta but there is a minimum of one month and you can stay as long as you are making progress and can pay for the therapy. Rarely do I talk about the cost of things but I continue to just be amazed and frustrated with health care costs in general and in particular the cost of care and attempted recovery attempts with a spinal cord injury.  I think I have a part time job in talking to my provider. We have had to and continue to fight them on a lot of things. I was self insured before my accident and remember how annoying it was to pay them every month since I NEVER used it or saw doctors. Though they are annoying on many things, sadly I can say I am more than getting my money’s worth these days. One of the best examples of how crazy this stuff is how when I received my lovely wheelchair I had to sign for the receipt of it and the paper showed it as a cost of $7000! (Thankfully insurance paid for most of it). It is hollow metal tubing and some wheels, how that cost can be justified is funny, that is the cost of a half decent used car. Like I have mentioned before, most traditional /insurance covered rehab just teaches you how to "adapt and function" from a wheelchair. Though there are techniques and therapies that have been around a couple of decades and there is evidence of people regaining significant function with techniques used by places like the Shepherd Center, the majority of these things are not covered by any type of insurance. The activities in Atlanta alone will cost about $850 a week and that does not include any accommodations.

As I am sure you can imagine, I am up and down a lot these days, I have my good moments and a lot of frustrating and tough ones as well.  I know that I may not be able to keep going after recovery forever but I cannot imagine what I would be doing and thinking if I did not have these opportunities I have been trying to take advantage of for about the last year. I know that they would not be possible without the support I have received and for that I am blessed and thankful.