Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Friday, February 15, 2013


An update on Kitty's leg.

It aches, it's sore, it hurts, and sometimes Kitty gets discouraged.  Then she gets over it.  It's a long, slow, frustrating haul and I am very proud of how she is handling it.

As I have mentioned before, the operation has left three holes -- divots -- in her leg along the incision.  I tend to think of them as Papa Divot, Mama Divot, and Baby Divot.  Once again, the people at the wound center were pleased at how the healing is going when we were there Tuesday.  Baby Divot has completely closed.  (Yay!)  Papa and Mama Divots have shrunk a little, but we learned that Mama Divot had tunneled deeper to the side than we had thought.  Previously Kitty had the wound-vac attached to Papa only; they decided to extend it to Mama this week.

When the wound-vac is applied, the tubing to the wound is sealed with plastic tape.  The thing is, the wound generates heat.  The heat goes up and hits the plastic and has nowhere to go, so it just stays there and gets hotter.  Some people are super-sensitive to this and Kitty appears to be one of the lucky few.  So, as I said, it aches, it's sore, and it hurts.  The skin around the wound gets red and is apt to blister.  So, for the moment, Kitty is able to wear the wound-vac for about a day, then she has to remove it and repack the wounds herself until the visiting nurse (or the wound center, on Tuesdays) can come and reapply the wound-vac.  So the healing process is just a bit slower.

In the meantime, she continues to use her walker.  Our new sofas are still too low for her to get up comfortably -- it strains both knees when she rises and sometimes she needs help getting up.  We picked up some risers to go under the sofa legs but the risers didn't fit the legs. I put a good-sized book under each sofa leg and that seems to help.  The more Kitty heals and the more she is able to move, the more her knees bother her.  Once the wounds are completely healed and she is able to go back to physical therapy, much of that pain should go away.  But it seems to be a long way off.

I spent a couple of days calling doctor's offices and Medicare offices, and more Medicare offices, and even more Medicare offices, and then a seemingly endless number of insurance offices.  Medicare has been denying some claims (while approving others in what appears to be a willy-nilly fashion) because (they said) Liberty Mutual should be covering the claims.  We have not been insured by Liberty Mutual for at least seventeen years.  After many phone calls (patience, Jerry, patience!) I learned that Medicare computers (some of them, anyway) have decided that Liberty Mutual is our insurance of record because of an accident that Kitty was involved in in 1994.  Somewhere along the line (actually, nowhere along the line) Liberty Mutual never closed out the case, or -- if they did -- never informed anyone.  Medicare told me that Liberty Mutual had to close out this case so the current doctors could be paid.  We have no idea what the accident Kitty was involved in was, or where it happened.  In 1994, both girls were in college and we had sold our house and spent our time moving around to various places in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Virginia.  Medicare was no help:  their records only indicated that the case dated from 1994; they had no other information.  So I started calling Liberty Mutual offices in three states, finally talking to a very nice lady named Janice in Acton, Massachusetts.  Janice was able to fax Medicare and inform them that the insurance company no longer had any records of the case (whatever it was) and considered the case to be closed.  That, I hope, should do the trick.  I love insurance companies.

Today the wound-vac gets reapplied.  We'll see how long Kitty can keep it on.  Tuesday, it's back to the wound center, and on Wednesday we see the surgeon again for another check-up.

I am so grateful that my wounded one has so much more patience than I have.  I am so grateful for her, period. 


  1. Jerry, the medicare companies out there sound a lot like the mediclaim companies out here and I actually thought medical insurance would be a lot easier to tackle at your end. They can be difficult and frustrating. I hope Kitty continues to be on the mend and makes good progress.

  2. AOL that, about the progress, and one hopes with less pain going forward.

    Prashant, bureaucracy is a constant, and inefficiency in such is common. And we don't even have the Dread Socialized Medicine, so more of us get to suffer than really should. I feel so damned Free.