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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Fight for Change

Yesterday the weather finally cooperated, allowing me to pick up my new socket. My goodness, what a difference! The aches and pains that had slowly become the norm are gone. I had forgotten how liberating the absence of pain can feel. 

Sitting in Elliot's office, waiting for the final tweaks on my new socket to be complete, I was reminded about how lucky I am. I was prompted to get a new socket because I was experiencing some pain. Changes in limb volume and shape is something  common for amputees. What is unusual was my ability simply to call the office and begin the process. I am fortunate to have a prosthetist who does not accept pain as par for the course.

Too many amputees are rendered with a less-than-ideal fit because their insurance won't approve a new socket and/or their practitioner refuses to fight the denial through the appeal process.  These individuals are stranded in limbo, trying to cope with an uncomfortable device or foregoing the prosthesis altogether. I have no doubt that Elliot will have to battle with Elsie to get paid, but he never allows my comfort to become collateral damage.  I am all too aware that few practitioners operate with these principles.

I become so frustrated when I contemplate the spiraling insurance abyss that prosthetic wearing amputees must try to traverse. Right now insurance companies are calling the shots, and amputees are suffering with inadequate components and ill-fitting sockets.  Something needs to be done to ensure that all amputees are able to access comfortable, functional devices.

The issue is so massive that tackling it feels overwhelming. Perhaps the enormity of the issue is working in the favor of the insurance companies.  Fighting for access-for-all feels like a David vs. Goliath battle which has left the community wringing its collective hands in frustration. 

With amputees trending in popular culture, I can't help but hope that the time for battle is approaching. I see Amy, Noah and even Oscar (pre-conviction of course) as our fife and drummers, setting the stage for an insurance revolt. Popular culture is being inundated with amputees, and perhaps our plea for insurance equity will finally be heard. 

I keep hoping for somebody else to fix the system, but too many people are suffering while we wait. I have come to believe that this issue is so massive that it will require the collective community to work towards a resolution. If we want change, we have to be willing to become involved and stop passing the buck for somebody else to do it for us. I have long believed that our strength lies with our numbers, and it is time that we unite behind this issue.

 I am lucky because I live near Washington DC, I know the issues, and I'm an amputee.  Perhaps it is time that I put my efforts behind the issue.  Today I am going to make some phone calls and schedule appointments with my Representatives and Senators. I doubt that I will receive face time with any decision makers, but I plan on making such a compelling case with the aides that they will take up the banner for insurance equity.  Does anybody want to join me?

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