Archive for the 'Medivan' Category

Dr. Gytt Gives Me Financial Advice

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

After years of substandard physical therapy at the warehouse, I enrolled in an outpatient program at the downtown rehab hospital where I did time immediately after my stroke. I remembered them treating me like a retarded gerbil; but after spending years at the warehouse, I’d physically progressed to the extent that maybe they’d take me seriously (like they should have done from the get-go). I had to admit that the majority of therapists at the rehab hospital were intelligent, well-trained, and personable. Plus it was the only available game in town.

Twice a week, a cripplevan picked me up at the warehouse and lugged my ass to the rehab hospital. The charge nurse had reserved a ride for me every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon; for the most part, a different driver arrived each time. I looked forward not only to amassing long-term skills but also to the break in my daily routine. At the warehouse I dealt with a mostly disingenuous dirt-stupid staff. I’d be a lying cuss if I claimed that I didn’t welcome interaction with friendly and quick-witted young women. more »

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I Ignore Unnecessary Surgery

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

Read A Medical Technician Uses Me As an Inanimate Teaching Aid

After roughly 45 minutes of studious poking and prodding, the EMG ended. There weren’t any bodily tissues or fluids that needed to be sent to a lab for analysis; a trained medical professional i.e. the labcoat lady should’ve been able interpret the available data. But when I asked for the verdict, she told me I’d have to talk to my doctor “in a few weeks.” Before I could open my mouth to debate her, she’d rushed out the door.

The day after the labcoat lady and her students administered the test, I phoned my alleged hand surgeon’s receptionist, Celia. She curtly sighed and told me that six weeks from then was the soonest she could schedule an appointment. Usually the head nurse working the day shift at the warehouse made a resident’s medical appointments. Since the potential surgery had been my idea, and given the nursing staff’s inability to concentrate on issues not closely monitored by the shrew of a head nurse, I decided to initiate the follow-through myself. more »

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A Thieving Doctor Tells Me My Business

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Read Typical Reception

If you live in a warehouse, nobody respects your time because everybody assumes you lead a useless life. Many doctors—that is, their lickspittle secretaries—schedule a ridiculous number of needless appointments and unnecessary tests, clearly because the government is footing the bill, and they think warehouse residents have nothing better with which to occupy themselves anyway.

After Celia graced me with her keen insight, she high-tailed out of the office. She returned fifteen minutes later and ushered me into a hallway that led to a myriad of identical examination rooms. I followed her down the hall; she stopped and ordered me to wheel into one of them. more »

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Typical Reception

Wednesday, July 25th, 2007

Read First Leg of My Hand Odyssey

Years after the warehouse administration admitted me, I decided I needed surgery on my right hand. A hand surgeon practiced in a labyrinth of offices and lab facilities that sprawled throughout a cavernous brick building, located on a college campus in downtown Chicago.

I allowed for chronically unpunctual cripplevans when I scheduled a ride¹ to my 2:30 appointment with the digit butcher. In my experience doctors always show up late—like the pusher in “I’m Waiting For My Man”—and imagine they’re doing a tremendous favor for you by making an appearance. Patient’s are at their mercy and they know it. more »

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First Leg of My Hand Odyssey

Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

Years after the warehouse administration admitted me, I decided I needed surgery on my right hand. I figured there must exist a procedure that would relieve the tendons that forced my fingers to curl inward towards the palm. I especially hoped that surgery would render my thumb somewhere in the neighborhood of opposable—it would never regain the complete functionality I was used to. A hand surgeon practiced in a labyrinth of offices and lab facilities that sprawled throughout a cavernous brick building, located on a college campus in downtown Chicago. I’d grown accustomed to tardy cripplevans and lengthy interviews with secretaries and interns before the doctor graced me with a brief and invariably overdue appearance.

There are few people more irritating than receptionists and assistants that work in doctor’s offices. more »

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Simple Minds Embrace Clichés

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

After I’d been a patient at the rehab hospital for several weeks, the faceless administration assigned me to the brain trauma floor. My stroke technically qualified as brain trauma, but I’d managed to survive the debacle with my cognitive abilities unscathed. Other patient’s serious injuries had forced them to accept a diminished level of mental competence.

My first roommate appeared to be in his late teens. One afternoon his family—mom, dad, and little sister—showed up for a visit. He greeted them with befuddled grunts. After his father slowly and loudly recited the litany of events leading to his hospitalization, he warmed up and began to mumble at them. more »

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Paratransit Follies — Part 3

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

Read Part 2
Many warehouse residents were elderly and/or near death. The chintzy bastard administrator, Mr. Gold couldn’t justify paying a trained therapist to work with a resident, only to watch that resident waste any newly learned physical strategies by dying. The warehouse bosses promoted easily manipulated CNA’s who excelled at making beds and emptying bedpans to revered positions as physical therapists, much like teacher’s pets are chosen to clap erasers. Stupendously lazy young residents didn’t care about the administration’s tacit ban on competent therapists; they rationalized that their own lack of ambition demonstrated a mature acceptance of their bodily deficits. Or maybe they realized physical independence meant an end to their mooching. more »

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Paratransit Follies — Part 2

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

Read Part 1
While staying at the warehouse, I phoned a paratransit company licensed by the city and scheduled a ride to my bank. As the female driver strapped my wheelchair to the floor of the van I noticed a small portable black and white television stationed on the driver’s side of the dashboard. I assumed that during her breaks she parked in a lot somewhere and stared at mindless shows. She glanced at the schedule attached to a clipboard while she absently grabbed my fare. No sooner had she merged into traffic than she switched on the TV; it was tuned to a soap opera.

Three minutes into the journey she complained that she hadn’t eaten breakfast. While the TV blared, the van jerked to a halt in front of a McDonald’s or as she familiarly called the popular fast food chain, Mickey D’s. more »

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Paratransit Follies — Part 1

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

Back when I almost languished in the warehouse, paratransit companies expected their drivers to follow stringent rules when serving the infirm and disabled—at least that’s what they wanted everybody to believe. (This may have changed, but I doubt it.) The reality of high employee turnover for an underpaid and largely unskilled position (though many unsophisticated drivers insisted otherwise) forced urban paratransit companies to shitcan reasonable standards when hiring workers.*

Cripplevan companies trained their drivers to assist elderly customers as they shuffled up or down the van’s ramp, and to always back wheelchairs in or out of the vehicle—never to push except on level ground. A driver who followed proper procedure used heavy nylon straps to secure the wheelchair to the van’s floor, then fastened a seat belt around the passenger. (I remember once when I reached for the safety strap; the driver ordered me not to move, to let him do it because “I be a trained p’ofessional.”) more »

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Miss Witt Tattles On Me

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

The warehouse should have retired Miss Witt like state governments should revoke driver’s licenses issued to dazed coots who imagine they’re driving a bumper car when they get behind the wheel of their Olds. Though the aging CNA maintained good intentions and a friendly demeanor, her job performance had slowly but steadily degraded. Mr. Gold, the kewpie doll-sized administrator interpreted any questioning of Miss Witt’s abilities as a threat to his authority.

New patients regularly arrived at the warehouse from a hospital. The hyper-stupidity of the administration undermined efficient communication between the warehouse and the hospital involved, and a considerable number of ambulance attendants and cripplevan drivers were thieves. more »

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