I would have a hard time explaining to you to what extent seeing people using improperly fit or inappropriate Durable medical equipment (dme) concerns me.
It hurts me intellectually, because I know that when someone doesn’t have access to, or is not using the correct equipment his or her life is needlessly stilted.
A pair of crutches, short cane or wheelchair that doesn’t fit the user can be a huge blow to the psyche, as it gives the impression that one is doing all he or she can do and still coming up short. They make life harder, instead of improving ability to connect or produce. They emphasize physical short-comings and foster anxiety.
A clunky, creaky 34lb hospital chair is no proper tool for an 90lb teen. A gnarled, bowed, too short, wooden cane is no real hero to a 67 year old man who already wonders how much road he will have to travel.
There are some, like those at the Users First Alliance, who organize to insure that laws, policies and regulations support proper equipment for the end user [person who actually needs the mobility equipment]. And there are those who cater to an informed community of seekers, such as the good people at Able Data.
Who is serving the people who just don’t know? I mean, I cannot tell you how many people I see or meet, who really don’t know what they don’t know. They are grateful for more information. Many of them would love to connect with people who can help them live a fuller life and regain more control over their present and future.
So… I had to hold myself back today. I had to stop myself from giving an impromptu lecture on navigating health care and broaching the otherwise OBVIOUS with a medical practitioner. I had to keep myself from surmising on what kind of medical practitioner abandons his responsibility to promote health by allowing his clients to live stunted, encumbered lives. I had to slow it down some.
I can remember struggling into offices with medical conditions that went untreated, though I brought them up. I know what it is like to sit in one spot and miss out on family time and social interaction, because of trouble manipulating the body. I know what it means when everyone else goes out and even though you aren’t sick or sleepy, you have to stay home because you cannot manage the demands on the body.
Now that I have the proper equipment, I am on the go again. I can do so much more. I used to plead for rides and now I find myself turning them down. I am back in the driver’s seat and I cannot see myself willingly relinquishing that intimate, human right any time soon.