Posted by: sistermom1 | September 27, 2010

Empowered Patient Part II

After blogging about my latest negative experiences with the healthcare system,  I do have more to share.  I have had three specific experiences: I needed a major root canal in a back tooth that happened to be an anchor tooth of a major bridge, and I have a new physical therapist.  As a third experience, because I am currently considered homebound – at least for the immediate future – my insurance provider told me that I am eligible for in- home physical therapy, and suggested that I get started right away.

These three experiences were all very positive for me.  The endodontist was amazing.  He had to do a root canal under a bridge.  The entire procedure was completed with absolutely no pain.   Not only did he have a great staff, greeted me warmly, and spoke directly to me, he explained everything that he was going to do and what my expectations should be upfront.  When he gave me the novocaine shot, it was so targeted and specific that only three teeth were numbed – that was all that I needed.  I have never had that kind of experience before – typically one whole side of my face would have been numb.   A totally positive experience on all fronts.

My insurance provider totally surprised me with her creative approach to meeting my health needs.  It was her idea that I would even be eligible for in-home physical therapy.  In the past, physical thrapy has been somethng that I have looked forward to.  Last year, I was denied an extension of P/T because according to the Medical Director, I had “…a condition [MS] that was not expected to improve through any direct efforts”.  This year I rationed my PT sessions (I  get 40 sessions per year) until my neurological PT moved to California.  They had no replacement for her, so I had to stop.  Then my exacerbation started, and the possibility of re-starting PT with no upper limit was presented. 

The Physical Therapist who is coming to see me is really fabulous.  A warm, funny woman who definitely knows her business, she is professional, organized and helpful.   She gave me some great exercises that I am able to do on my own.  She also gave me some great tips to help me navigate through my days at home and add to exercises that I already do so that I can continue to strengthen my legs and arms.  This woman was compassionate and strict, but clearly cared about my getting exactly what I need to move forward in my journey.

What did I do about these experiences?  Well, I wrote a thank you note to the dentist, copying the local dental association.  I called the Visiting Nurses Association to share my feedback about the P/T directly with them.  I also called our insurance company to thank them for the referral, and to express my appreciation for the support.

I remain an empowered patient – and continue to push myself to speak up about my own medical needs.  I am in the midst of re-negotiating my medical protocol now that the first oral MS meds have just been approved by the FDA.  After 5 years of shots — weekly intramuscular, then daily subcutaneous — and a year of infusions, a daily pill is something I really do look forward to taking.  Not sure if it is the right option for me, but I am on my doctor’s schedule for an assessment early next month.  We will decide the next steps in my treatment together….



  1. Dear Divaonadetour. I love your blog. You are honest, funny and helping me see areas in my own life where I can be more direct and giving. Thanks for empowering others by letting us share in your “detour”. I am on the verge of learning new and wonderful things from you. TS

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