Yesterday was the first day that I ever felt I was handicapped. Along with the cancer diagnosis & the treatments I have had predictable limitations, i.e. tiredness, some pain, the “sunburn” of radiation, but nothing more than a nuisance. What started this whole cancer thing was from a CT Span ordered by the Vascular Surgeon so he could deal with something called Claudication.
Claudication is pain caused by too little blood flow, usually during exercise. … Most often, claudication is a symptom of peripheral artery disease, a potentially serious but treatable circulation problem in which the vessels that supply blood flow to your legs or arms are narrowed. This does require bypass surgery but could not be done do to cancer diagnosis & treatment. Don’t really know why but I figured why perform surgery on a patient who is going to die from cancer!
Back on the topic of mobility. Because of the leg pain (which has gotten much worse after the chemo/radiation). I have had the good fortune of being approved for the MTA Mobility Service. This is a car/van/bus the provides door-to-door service to one or more riders for $2. They have been excellent, but it is a bit a an inconvenience to have to schedule at least 24 hours in advance to go to the grocery. laundry or the pizza shop which are 1-2 blocks away. And a return trip can only be booked 2 hours after drop off.
Well, yesterday I was a volunteer for Artscape. Artscape is an annual art festival held in the Mount Royal neighborhood of Baltimore in the hottest week of July. Since its first annual event in 1982, it has become the largest free arts festival in America. Now it wasn’t open to the public yet but road closures had begun. Mobility dropped me off at a corner close to the volunteer spot, but could pick me up. I did make it the 2 blocks to the light rail and caught that close to home and then got a taxi for the rest of the way. Problem solved. So why am I in such a funk?
I couldn’t walk around Artscape and see the exhibits. I had planned to go see the ArtCars and their parade this but couldn’t go because I wasn’t sure I could get home. Uber was an option but at $35-40 unaffordable.
Why don’t I drive? I don’t have a valid license. It was suspended 18 months ago.
Why don’t I have a scooter, bike or something similar? That’s a real adventure. Scooters are considered Durable Medical Equipment (DME) by Medicare. If you want help paying for a mobility device, i.e. you can’t afford it, you have to go through this miserable process. DME is supposed to be for in-home use only, so needing it to get around outside is very questionable. Hence bikes & regular scooters are not covered and outside may budget limits. I have been “interview” for a medical scooter, may or may not be approved and may know something in 4 weeks.
I’ve learned or at least conformed to mobility limitations – some brought on by myself and some brought on by physical needs. But not being able to participate in events like ArtScape or the race track are frustrating.
Should you experience any disabling results of treatment, please contact your insurance company’s Case Worker and have that person manage scooter processing for you. Not only is it depressing to deal with limited movability and limited activities, dealing with the paperwork & policies to get insurance help is overwhelming. And DON’T under any circumstance shop for something you would like because you’re NOT GOING TO GET IT!