HEARTNESS IMAGE: VECTEEZY.COM
You get letters. To a lesser extent, I get them, too. They are from consumers and caregivers, in varying degrees of desperation. A few want free equipment. A lot of them rail against “…dealers who only care about making money. My mom needs a wheelchair, she gets tired of walking all the time, and the dealer said Medicare won’t pay for one.”
I answer as many letters as I can. Sir, I’m an editor, not a manufacturer, but here are organizations that could help. Ma’am, your dealer is telling the truth: Medicare has strict policies about wheelchairs, so check with your mother’s physician regarding her eligibility and medical conditions that prevent her from walking inside her home. But every so often, a letter reaches up and grabs you by the throat. I got one recently, from a woman with a tone of desperation that seems unique to clients with complex seating and mobility needs.
Her story is ongoing, so I’m not going to give too many details; if this works out well, I’m hoping to share her story, eventually.
For now, I’ll say her case sounded complicated from the beginning. Despite this woman’s obviously complex needs, her occupational therapist had recommended a Group 2 consumer chair with standard seating. I e-mailed my marketing contacts at a CRT manufacturer, and they dove in, hearts-first. I saw an internal e-mail of theirs and was humbled by how many people got involved, how much talking and pleading took place.
A clinician employed by the manufacturer was called in to advise. You know her; we all know her. At 10 p.m., she e-mailed me, and in that thoughtful, comprehensive letter, she offered to help with the assessment.
I cried, right there at my desk. LOL, she wrote back good naturedly.
The next day, I called the woman who’d written me the letter. She was so grateful. But she also shared more information, including a more complete medical history that included several previously undisclosed co-morbidities. Even before those disclosures, this woman was a rare case — a needle in the CRT haystack. Her disclosures turned the situation into a needle in a whole field of haystacks.
Mortified, I contacted the clinician. I apologized for not knowing the woman’s entire medical history sooner. I was afraid my ignorance had wasted everyone’s time and gotten a woman’s hopes up for no good reason.
The clinician wrote back, calm and comforting.
You haven’t scared me off yet! I am not going to quit before I even know what this lady is dealing with. I am willing to try and help.
I make my living with words, but I don’t have words strong enough, grateful enough, dear enough to say: How wondrous is the work you do, and how beautiful are your hearts that do it.