Friday, February 16, 2007

The End of the Dream Team

My Dream Team was a short-lived idea that represented my idealism in a world that isn’t quite ready for this approach to health care. Today the Dream Team became just that as it officially disbanded.

Last fall I came up with this idea of throwing all sorts of therapeutic intervention at my life-long problem with walking. After Dr. Spiegel diagnosed the cause as a mild case of CP in utero, I determined to put together an army of the best people I knew to deal with it. That’s just the way I am, making plans and hoping for the best.

At that time I had several people quite important to me as teachers or therapists, including a physiatrist, a yoga teacher, a massage therapist, a pilates teacher, and a physical therapist. I arranged a group meeting so they could better understand what they were dealing with and so they could begin to exchange information that might affect the outcome of their and my efforts. A couple of people went to a great deal of effort to arrange busy schedules to attend this meeting. My only enticement was homemade chocolate chip cookies and an offer to pay their standard hourly fee, which most of them declined.

It was a meeting I will never forget. Dr. Spiegel laid out his conclusions about the source of my problem. The good news was that it would probably not get much worse since it had been with me my entire life. The bad news was there might not be a whole lot of improvement, no matter what anyone did. Dr. Spiegel also conjectured that the best therapy might come from experiencing 2 sources back to back, such as PT followed by pilates or massage followed by yoga. I realized just how much all of these people knew and how very different their perspectives were. I came away on cloud 9, having been both the laboratory rat and the subject of their discussion that lasted at least an hour.

My PT guy and my pilates teacher were the only ones who consistently worked with this concept. The yoga and massage parts never really got off the ground. The physiatrist tried several rounds of scalp acupuncture, but it was unclear that this had a direct benefit on my walking problem. He admitted that I would have to come multiple times a week, and that was just not feasible.

Today was my last PT session, not because I wasn’t progressing, but rather because my insurance company pulled the plug. I have a home program of exercises, but that’s not the same as having someone else help you stretch seriously. Quentin and I both lamented that the insurance people would rather pay for the result of a fall that work on strengthening to prevent it. What a sad comment on the state of healthcare in this country.

I will continue to see my pilates teacher once a week, which is probably not enough to make a serious difference. I will continue to exercise on my own, concentrating on the pilates and PT home program.

Now that I have abandoned my grandiose ideas, my goal is simply to maintain the movement, balance, and flexibility I currently have and not to fall down if I can possibly avoid it. Strengthening will definitely help. I have this feeling that if I ever quit and returned to my vegetative state of a couple of years ago, I would not only become fat, but I would become really decrepit and probably a lot crankier too. So I will head to the basement every morning, turn on the new CD my husband made for me, and work out the kinks.

I love the idea of collaborative health care, but maybe it’s an idea before its time. Some day...


Blogger media concepts said...

Good luck. And here I though chocolate chip cookies cured everything.

12:50 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

As I finished reading this post, the title of the next post came into view. "On the brink of insanity" seems to be the view of the present healthcare system. I remember how hard we all worked in the early 90's to bring a vision of universal healthcare to this country. Some of the ideas incorporated in your dream team plan were quite vigorously put forth. Here's hoping that those ideas have not died in the intervening years and that some day SOON we will see them fleshed out and brought to life again.


7:49 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Personally, I thought you pulled off something amazing just getting them all together the first time. I know my husband doesn't even have that much wiggle room in schedules to talk to his massage therapists who work in his office and see the same patients as he does. He never even finds time to get a massage from them, but he does treat them often. I can't see him being able to schedule meetings for patients who want the team approach. The 8 chiropractors in our area have a heck of a time going to meetings to discuss issues that affect all of them and to synchronize charges etc.

Anyway, it sounds like you are motivated to keep what mobility you have gained on your own.

Good luck.

7:19 PM  
Anonymous David said...

i agree with MOI - it was quite an achievement pulling the dream team together for the meeting. and, i think a lot of good things resulted, that hopefully will carry over for a long time.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous quentin said...

Whenever you need something from me, you should ask.

11:23 PM  

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