I haven’t posted anything about Freckle Face recently because there hasn’t been much to report. But now, I am frustrated. I am going to use this space to vent my frustration. Be prepared.
Since we moved here, we had to change our insurance. You would think that Tricare would be standard across the United States, but it isn’t. We still have Tricare, but it is under a different contract than our Tricare in Washington was under.
Here Freckle Face has been forced to be seen in the Army hospital physical therapy clinic. A place that focuses mostly on the troops, as is right. My frustration began when the clinic refused to acknowledge or to view any of his past medical history. A decision was made in 5 minutes that his needs could be met at the Army hospital even though the physical therapist disagreed. It is about the money. (It was also curious that no children under 12 are allowed in the clinic. Funny that Freckle Face was 11, but he could be seen there. I always found that dumb.)
So we met with a nice Captain once a month to monitor his progress. There was no therapy at his appointments, but she measured his flexibility and monitored any changes in his feet. I resigned myself to the fact that his physical therapy was going to be more of a monitoring system rather than any kind of therapy. I convinced myself that this was fine. We knew what needed to be done at home. We could do it, and the therapist could keep us accountable.
Now, the Captain has PCS’d (moved), and he was assigned a new therapist. We met her yesterday. In less than 10 minutes, she decided that his range was satisfactory and at a +10 degrees. She decided this without measuring. She may be good, but I know that she isn’t that good. The only time that Freckle Face measured a +10 degrees was immediately following surgery. We have been lucky to remain at neutral for the past year at times even falling below neutral. I expressed my concerns that while it looks that he might have that kind of range, it is only because he is compensating by rotating his hip and his ankle. She conceded that this was true, but he could work to strengthen his outer hip muscles and that problem would go away. She then gave him an elastic band, showed him how to use it, and printed off a paper with the exercise on it for him. Then she told us that we didn’t need to come back. Unless of course I noticed that he was losing range. Then I could call her. Oh, and I can email her too if I have any questions.
He has been dumped.
Freckle Face still walks on his toes. He needs new orthotics which Tricare will not pay for unless I get a letter of medical necessity. She told me that it would be easy to get. Just call the doctor in WA because he will print one out for me. All doctors have a standard letter. It won’t be a problem. Not so fast. I called. It isn’t that easy, and in my gut I knew it wouldn’t be. He needs to be seen again by a physiatrist. No one here will send Freckle Face to the right doctor. I don’t see new orthotics in his future.
I need to give a shout out to his last physical therapist in Washington. He has been wonderful even after we moved here. Supplying Freckle Face with shoes and inserts. It is above and beyond anything that we deserve. I miss that office. All of them.
I understand that my son can do anything that he wants to do. He runs, jumps, rides a bike, and manages himself very well, but I see things. I see how he walks up the stairs. I see how he compensates when his feet don’t cooperate for him. And since the medical community here is not interested in these things, I have to do it. Fine. I get it. It is time for me to put on my A game.
My main gripe is with Tricare and the Army medical system. We are limited. We have no choices. I am not stupid. I may not be a physical therapist, but I have learned things in the past 6 years. I know what I see and know what my son needs, but it doesn’t matter. I am not capable of finding my own choices. If I don’t think you are meeting my son’s needs, well, that is too bad.
I wasn’t asking for much. I was asking for 30 minutes once a month. I was asking for you to care about my son. I am frustrated and outraged. Right now I just don’t know if I have the energy to fight the system. I know what I need to do with Freckle Face. I guess that I just need to do it and pray that it is enough.