I meant to post yesterday. Well, no, I meant to post Wednesday. But since that didn’t happen… Well, the point is it’s Friday afternoon and I’m just now dashing this out. Bah.
I have no idea where the week went. I think maybe Tuesday was traumatic enough that it just sucked up the next two days of memory.
The good news is that we like Tim’s occupational therapist. The bad news is that I nearly had a nervous breakdown before we saw her.
When I made the appointment, they insisted that I bring the referral letter from insurance. I guess they weren’t content with our telling them that a) they should receive the fax within a day from insurance and b) we only found them because of insurance.
When we got there, the woman looked over the referral letter and told me it wasn’t enough. Whaaaa?
The referral letter doesn’t state what Tim’s supposed to be seen for or how often or long he should be seen. I pointed out that his insurance requires that specialists submit approval requests for each visit. So… Did it really matter? Yep.
They were going to refuse to see us without some information from either insurance or his doctor indicating his condition and suggested duration/frequency of therapy.
This is the point where I remind you that we don’t have a cell phone. Also, that I’d forgotten to eat my second small meal of the day before we left — I was too busy trying to get through all the emails before the appointment — so I had low blood sugar and was seriously on the verge of tears.
Luckily, there was a phone in the office. I called the doctor’s office and explained that we were in the waiting room and about to be turned away.
Thankfully, the office staff pulled through for once, and the fax arrived about two minutes after the phone call.
The actual appointment went well. I mean… Not well. The results were very disheartening for him.
He had to make fists so that she could measure the angle the knuckles were at. His grip strength was tested, as was the force that he could pinch things between his fingers
But the actual therapist was nice, and she was apologetic when it was clear he was in pain. And she wrapped up his hands in a heated roll of some sort that was, according to him, infinitely soothing.
She also recommended some compression gloves, which Tim looooooooves. He wears them as much as is possible without potentially hampering circulation.
So he likes her, which is one of the bigger hurdles when it comes to dealing with medical professionals.
I knew it’d gotten bad
He hasn’t played a video game in years — other than Pokemon, which mainly requires you to just poke at the screen once in a while.
His hands cramp if he tries to write more than a couple of sentences.
And we switched to paper plates and plastic bowls two weeks ago because Tim felt like the dishes were so heavy that he was going to drop them.
Actually watching the evaluation was a revelation. I realized just how little he’s let on when it comes to his hands.
The grip test was especially revealing. His grip was shown to be 9 lbs (right hand), 13 lbs (left hand).
To provide context:
- According to this study, the average grip strength for his age group is 47 kg (103 lbs)
- According to this other study, men aged 75-79 averaged 72.7 (dominant hand) and 68.5 (non-dominant hand)
And when she had him clench his fist with his elbow on the desk… Well, it was fine at first.
But after about 10 seconds, he started grimacing. At 15 seconds, his forearm was shaking, veins were popping out of his neck and he was… Well, whatever the manly version of whimpering is.
He came away with an exercise sheet with six moves to do 10 times, twice a day. Apparently, he’d already been doing three of them before this.
Starting next week, he has two appointments a week. I’m sure he’ll be able to get some of his strength back over time. We can’t expect miracles — at the very least, bad days are, well, bad — but at this point, any increase will be amazing.
And worst case scenario, at least we have documentation for the hearing (whenever that ends up being).