Monday, June 29, 2009

mining for home medical equipment

Food, water, clothing, shelter, and home medical equipment are the necessities of life for caregiving.

Recovery, progression, and death endlessly flood the market with previously owned durable medical equipment.

Sellers are motivated more to get rid of something than profit from it. Downsides could include absence of warranties and such, and medical insurance, if applicable, may not cover equipment from ‘non-authorized’ vendors.

Yet, there ARE deals available. I myself witnessed at a local auction an Invacare 9000 folding wheelchair in mint condition (guestimate value $750+) go for a high bid of $50.

Good shopping skills are required (especially on the Internet) as things may not always be what they seem, for example:

Admiring a Hoyer Power Lift with Power Base (cost $4,600) in use at Patti’s care facility, I remarked how different my life would be IF I had one of these at home. An aide pointed out that she had seen one on craigslist for only a couple hundred bucs.

Checking out craigslist I found “Hoyer electric patient lift. Model HPL402. 3 1/2 years old. Good condition and everything works as it should. These list new at $2500, this is for sale for $600.”

With a few clicks more of Internet searching I found a couple NEW Hoyer model HPL402 listing for $1,600.

Shifting to eBay a search of “Hoyer lifts” revealed a NEW model for only $1,295. However, reading the fine print it was actually an Invacare Reliant Plus Lift, similar concept but different brand.

NEITHER was the exact same model as used at Patti’s care facility. Then again for homecare one-person use you may not need the same high end features.

Both Disabled Dealer Magazine and have searchable nationwide classifieds by item and area.

While the Internet offers caregiver convenient shopping DO NOT ignore local classifieds and auctions.

There’s gold in them thar previously owned durable/home medical equipment hills. Just remember where there is gold there is also fools gold, shop wisely.

Pragmatically mining the recycled market is not prospecting.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
web site:
musings: Patrick Ponders ...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

caregiving: making an entrance

Challenge? Or obstacle? The answer is not exactly in the proverbial eye of the beholder, but often in the resources, ingenuity and strength of the caregiver.

For reasons that never quite make sense, live music in intimate settings seems to bring the best out in Patti. I stare in amazement as she handles food and beverages with better dexterity than normal. Last night it was 9 PM before she asked about going to bed, almost 90 minutes later than her norm.

Yes, some outings are harder on a caregiver. Yet, when the pluses outweigh the challenges you go for it!

Before visiting historic Eckels’ Ice Cream Parlor our first time, I did my caregiver walk-through in advance. Oh yeah! This would be a challenge and a half. Three short wide front steps to a double door should have been relatively easy except unfortunately for us they are divided by a center hand rail creating two sets of steps too narrow for a wheel chair. Alternative side door has a single step but with a peak height over 24” due to slope of adjacent alley.

Positioning Patti’s rear wheels against the step and reclining her back to almost prone position I could use the shifting of her weight to facilitate pulling her chair up and over the step.

As Patti laughingly remarked, we do know how to make an entrance. Banging and bumping her chair around though furniture in the quaintly decorated interior we eventually got her all set up at a table to enjoy our friends “The Buc Hill Aces” perform.

As you might guess from the video, Eckels' is MORE than just another ice cream parlor.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
web site:
musings: Patrick Ponders ...

Friday, June 26, 2009

MS: Is a bird in memory worth two on the head?

Picking Patti up for an outing from her care facility:

Patrick: “So Patti did you do anything interesting today?”

Patti: “I don’t think so. My memory sucks.”

Patrick: “Maybe a bird sat on your head?”

Patti: (laughing) “I am pretty sure that no f…king bird sat on my head!”

Memory loss symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis can be bizarre and challenging to work with.

Best solution is to be more than a part of someone’s memory, be a part of their NOW.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

MS, ALS, Lupus

Misdiagnosis is too abstract of a word for the human shock and range of emotions that impact people and families hearing MS (multiple sclerosis), ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), or Lupus and then that they may actually have one not the other.

Explaining that symptoms ‘mimic’ other illnesses seems more like the bed side manners of a carnival barker.

Does our health care system push billing codes ahead of science? Or is it more about wanting and wanting to give quick answers to the unknown.

Whatever the reason people and families must live with symptoms. Diagnosis is the elephant in the room that some can choose not to see, but one person must always see.

Not only does neurological science need to do a better job but family and friends need to bring meaning to life regardless of the label of a loved one’s “bad break”.

During July 4th celebrations this year, take a moment to reflect on the 70th anniversary of this most powerful and poignant moment:

"For the past two weeks you have been reading about a bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth. ...

... I might have been given a bad break, but I've got an awful lot to live for. Thank you."

-- Lou Gehrig, July 4, 1939

Major League Baseball has teamed with four major non-profit organizations. "4♦ALS Awareness," will culminate with Gehrig's words being read at all Major League ballparks this coming July 4, during the seventh-inning stretch.

Lou Gehrig's speech

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
web site:
musings: Patrick Ponders ...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Jubilee Day 2009 / Multiple Sclerosis

After 60+ nights of cluster headaches I personally felt more like a mole in a whack a mole game, but Thursday was Jubilee Day, the largest one-day street fair in the eastern United States.

Living with MS and pushing a wheelchair through this human slalom in summer sun, heat, and humidity must by default be some kind of greatest one day MS challenge in the eastern United States, or something like that. Whatever … Patti looks forward to it and come hell or high water we go for it.

Sometimes a story is best told through the random strangers you not only encounter but who care.

While helping Patti with her lunch and related MS symptoms of dsyphagia, a security guard wandered over and asked if he could join us. NO ONE ever anywhere asks to join us. Turns out he also helps to care for a man with Multiple Sclerosis.

Street fairs are not
only optimum for the logistics of shopping from a wheel chair but for the human interaction with artists.

Following lu
nch we were enjoying harpist Shawn Ruby at the Community Stage on East Main. Bringing her harp down off the stage, she offered to let people try playing it. I rolled Patti up to take a whack at it. Shawn could not have been nicer working to position the harp for Patti’s wheelchair and ‘helping/joining’ Patti because of her MS visual and physical symptoms to strum away.

Patti’s new necklace was purchased from Harmony in Design. They create ‘born again’ art from antique silver forks and spoons. Meeting and visiting with Jim and Lisa Harmon was a treat. Not only did they give Patti respect and the additional time her MS symptoms require to try and ‘see’ and ‘choose’ jewelry, their Samoyed, “Glacier”, is ‘in training’ to be a service dog and became a fast buddy to Patti.

The picture of Patti was taken three hours into what should have been wilting conditions for MS. Her smile says it all. Caring people can often
trump nature and make challenges worth trying.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
web site:
musings: Patrick Ponders ...

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