Dragged to the curb

When it got dragged to the curb, my good friend and neighbor Michelle, walked across the street and remarked, “Aren’t you embarrassed that everyone will know you have furniture like that in your house?”

We burst out laughing as my favorite recliner was now perched upon a frozen snow bank, full of stains, the wood frame showing through the rips of upholstery that Flash, our cat, created. The replacement was delivered, it was the perfect color, updated style and it swiveled. It was this feature that landed me in rehab with a broken leg. Getting there was more painful than the break.

I was sitting in that chair when my son came into the family room, wanting to go shopping. Making the transfer into my wheelchair, the new chair swiveled one way while my leg was pivoting the other. The pain was nauseating. I never fell because my son had a firm grip on me and when he placed me in my wheelchair the pain subsided enough that I was able to speak.

“Mom thinks she broke her leg,” my son said to his dad. “Did you fall? Or hear a crack?” My response was no. He offered to take me to the emergency room, but thought it may be best to just wait and see. I went shopping. Choosing to listen to my husband is one of the mysterious aspects of being married to someone over twenty-five years.                                         

By Monday it was obvious that my leg was getting worse. My husband had lost his wait-and-see approach to the situation and was able to get an appointment to see an orthopedic specialist that afternoon. X-rays and a MRI confirmed a non-displaced fracture of my tibia. I didn’t need surgery or a cast, but I had to remain totally non-weight bearing for at least five weeks.

The doctor felt no need to admit me to the hospital as there was no medical treatment required for my leg and I wasn’t sick. He recommended in-patient medical rehab given my MS and the challenges it would pose to the recovery process. Script for admission in hand, I felt confident that a plan for my recovery was in place.

The first call was to my health insurance provider. I was covered but they would not give me pre-authorization until I was admitted to a unit. Several of the medical rehab units that the doctor recommended would not admit me due to the fact I was coming directly from his office, not the hospital. Next on the list were nursing homes with short term rehab units. They would not take me without a PRI screening (I still do not know what that is).

Desperation was setting in, my husband was carrying me. He was losing time from work and I was no closer to being admitted. Finally, I found a facility with an available bed, but they would not take me until they had authorization from my insurance company. Threats were made. I finally entered the rehab unit of a nursing home that was designed for short-term recovery for hip, ankle, and knee replacements. It wasn’t exactly what we had hoped for, but it worked. It was one week after my injury that I finally arrived where I needed to be. 

When you have MS, an injury or illness that would otherwise be an inconvenience can turn into a life-altering experience.

The new chair still looks good and Flash has not touched it, except to take naps.

Tags Healthcare, Insurance & Money Matters      7

Susan Skoney, Blogger

Susan Skoney was diagnosed in 1999. She lives in western New York with her husband Michael and daughter Hannah. She worked many years in public relations and advertising, and has just started writing about her MS in the last few years.