Scoliosis Update: The Cast Came Off!

I write letters to Ellen DeGeneres. No particular reason. Just because I can.

Dear Ellen,

Last week, the baby came out of her cast! I’d like to tell you it was an exciting moment for everyone but since this was the first time that she was awake while the cast was being removed, seeing some strange guy come at her with a saw scared the crap out of her. She tried to fight him off and I ended up holding her hands down. It was a little traumatizing for all parties involved.

Shortly after the doctor came in, he began explaining how the back brace was going to work. “The back brace,” he said, “is actually more effective at treating scoliosis than the cast because we can customize the brace to fit her better than we can customize the cast. The problem with the back brace is, it only works if she actually wears it more often than not. Give her bath time. Give her pool time. But the rest of the time – even when she’s sleeping – she has to be in the brace.”

I asked him what the curve in her spine was measuring at and while he couldn’t remember off the top of his head, the huge grin he was wearing suggested he was very pleased with her progress.

 

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We left his office and went across the hallway to the orthotics office. That’s where the baby was going to be measured for her brace. If you remember from reading the last Scoliosis Update, Ellen, she was supposed to have her measurements taken right before she had the last cast put on. But, someone from the orthotics office didn’t read far enough down in the doctor’s orders to see that so her measurements for the brace were never taken.

 

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So, with the cast off, we went across the hallway and had the measurements for the brace taken. Here’s a fun fact for you: did you know that some insurance companies don’t cover the back braces? I didn’t. I’m one of many people who took for granted that my insurance would cover my daughter’s brace. It never occured to me that it wouldn’t be covered until I was handed paper work to sign that gave me two options:

  1. You agree to pay $6,000 – $8,000 out of pocket for the brace in the event that your insurance won’t cover it.
  2. We’ll call your insurance company to find out if the brace is covered but this could take up to two weeks to get an answer and we won’t make the brace until we find out.

 

 

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Here’s where I was annoyed. First, I made this appointment back in April. APRIL!!!! Why wasn’t I told in April to call my insurance company and find out? At this point, her cast was already off and the doctor explained to me that she couldn’t go more than a week without being in something. So if I chose option 2, she’d be out of her cast for almost a month. Clearly option 2 wasn’t viable. This meant the hospital had me by my balls. It’s not like they could just put her back in her cast. The cast was cut off. And getting her back into the cast required fasting, sedation, and an operating room which could take another month to arrange.

I had no choice. I had to agree to option one and then pray that my insurance company would cover the back brace.

And on the list of things that annoy me, what’s with the size of that bill? $6,000 for a back brace? Is there an iPad embedded inside of it? For that kind of money, that back brace had better be able to massage my daughter’s back every night. Also, it should have blue tooth technology that allows it to program my coffee maker from her crib.

 

 

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They took the measurements for her brace which was a very sticky process. I can’t really explain it other than to say they put some kind of bandage around her that hardened while she was in it and then they cut it down her front to take it off and placed the two ends back together. And that was it.

We left the office and I drove the baby home. On the way home, I noticed she was very quiet. I thought maybe she fell asleep but when I glanced at her through the rearview mirror, I noticed she was playing with her shoes. I hadn’t seen her do this in over a year and that’s when it occured to me. After she had the cast put on, she couldn’t lift her legs high enough to play with them. It was really something watching her play with the velcro straps on her shoes. She was fascinated by them. 

 

 

When we got home I called the insurance company and was extremely relieved to learn after talking to their representative that her back brace is covered. It’s not totally covered. There will be an out-of-pocket expense on our end but we won’t have to turn water into wine to pay for it.

Here are some photos of my baby girl in her first swimsuit, enjoying the pool with her brother and sister.

 

Next week, I’ll share photos of her with her back brace. 

Thanks for listening, Ellen.

Sincerely,

A. Marie Silver

 

Thanks for shopping Snark, Sass, & Sarcasm! I’ll see you next time.