Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Photo description: a bright red welt on the inner forearm

I am waiting to be assessed.

I desperately need a new wheelchair.

I no longer feel safe in this one.

But who will the assessor be?

I've seen the wheelchair I really want.

I've tried it out and felt like I was floating.

It fit me instantly I felt secure.

But will they listen to me?

I know the chair I want is expensive.

It cost twice as much as the care I bought at 16.

It is light and easy for Joe to lifet.

But will they value my opinion, will it matter?

I get bruised from using this chair.

I rub my arm against the arm.

It takes only a kilometer before the pain starts.

But will that matter?

Who will my assessor be?

And I now I know how people feel

  when the assessor is me.


clairesmum said...

That feeling of having to rely on the 'assessment' of a purported expert who may know little or nothing about all the obvious and obscure factors in the chair and in the individual person using the chair that need to mesh smoothly to ensure that you are in charge of the chair and the mobility, and that equipment problems/'not quite right' fit do not control your path in the world....

fingers crossed, Dave and Joe.

Deb said...

My mother was recently assessed for a wheelchair. When the assesor arrived, he apologized for being late and said he had just come from the home of a young man who had been trying for over a year to get a motorized scooter style chair operated with a joystick. The insurance company rejected the initial recommendation, saying someone with this young man's particular diagnosis could not possible benefit from it. The assesor then filmed the young man completing an obstacle course in a parking lot and submitted it. The insurance company again rejected the request for the same reason. This morning the assesor had arrived before the young man got out of bed and filmed over two hours showing that with this scooter the young man can do many things independently that he is unable to do using a traditional chair - things like getting from bed to scooter, scooter to tub bench, on and off the toilet, and maneuver around his own apartment. This film is being submitted with a third request. How can anyone, individual or corporation, possibly justify this?

Purpletta said...

Deb, I once spoke with a physician who was in charge of approvals/denials of adaptive equipment for an insurance company about an amazing young lady I was supporting - The young lady needed a voice output communication device. She didn't have verbal speech and had been deprived of access to such a device for nearly her entire life. She had a lot to say and the only thing between her and being able to say it was this doctor. ...Do you know this doctor had the audacity to say that because the individual had a cognitive as well as physical disability that she didn't have a justifiable need for the device because she didn't have a need to communicate more complex thoughts and she should be able to just use a picture book? ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!!! Let's try this...you, doctor - let's tape your mouth shut for a week and let's say that you can do all of your communication with a picture book. REALLY?! (Later this same doctor said she wouldn't approve another unrelated piece of equipment because she'd just approved a wheelchair for her....Un-freaking-believable). Anyway this young lady appealed with help and we found an attorney that would help and ultimately she got access to these very basic pieces of equipment that should truly be considered human rights.
So sorry this young man has to fight for the ability to get around. So great that the assessor your mom is meeting with is someone who is committed to walking with people in their fight.

Dave, I wish you an assessor with open ears, open mind, open heart.

~ Purpletta

Unknown said...

Hey David,

I have read a lot of your blog posts over the last while and this one really hit me the most.

Being front line staff in Developmental Services and also having family that has to deal with assessments for medical devices, I can say that insurance companies are a pain to deal with. There are a lot of good people that like to see the promotion of proper assistive devices but sadly, there are people who are just "in it for the job" and try to get the companies they work for to save as much money as possible.

In yours (and other individuals cases), the individual should have the final say in what is assisting them the best. How can we promote proper health care and have these individuals feel "safe" with low tier products? Boggles my mind.

Best regards


Kyle Ashe said...

Hello, after reading your blog posts over the past few days, I have really put myself in your shoes.

This post has left the greatest impact on me. It must be a challenge having to deal with assessors when the bruising pain from the wheelchair is a lot. I also like the way you formatted this post into a poem.

Something you also talked about which is important is the cost of technology. It's unfortunate that is costs so much for devices/technology individuals need for their everyday lives.

Keep on blogging!

Kyle Ashe.