Saturday, January 24, 2009

My class action thingy dream

I would like to start something big. I think it is big. Maybe there are huge columns all over ICAN already on this subject, but well, here it is:

I want physical therapy offered as a matter of course to all women who have had a cesarean. When I think about all the other surgeries that can land you in months of "rehab" and how they just shoved me out the door three times crippled and helpless, and how twisted and mangled and f-ed up my body is after three of these lovely surgeries, I just ---well, I cry and I get angry and I want to help others and I need to help myself and frankly, I think us women deserve more than the small possibility of happening on some little back alley Chinese massage technique guy or internet fumblings---we need follow up care.

I had so much attention and care when I TWISTED--not even broke-- my knee playing soccer when I was 13. Apparently recreational sports injuries are serious biz....mothers are not.

I think of every fool who torqued their elbow water skiing or got whiplash at Whirlyball and the hotubs and special exercises and care and support and medications and little handouts THEY are getting and it makes me wanna---well, I dunno. Maybe I should go take a sword throwing class and cut my belly in half and then I could get some flipping care.

Here's the deal and here is what I am suggesting: I had my c section in June of '08. I saw the doc at a four week check up and told him how bad I was doing and he literally pat patted me. As in, I was crying and hobbling and he told me to get some help around the house and it takes time and buh bye.
I cancelled my health insurance in July '08 thinking we could really use the money. I look back at this move as very symbolic of how I devalued myself and as a flaming red light sign of deep set depression and self hate. But nonetheless, the premiums are over $200 A WEEK and so we dropped it, thinking we could use the money on special things for me but it didnt happen. I dont know if it was self hate it was more like I was too hurt to get myself and 5 children to a doctor (who all "sucked" anyway and didnt listen to me) and we had no car and well, guess I was making the choice for better food and household items. I regretted it as I sunk into depression and had two serious falls but at my husband's job, you can only sign up in January or July so I had to wait.

I have health insurance again now (HALLELUEA!) and want to pursue this. What should I do? I have visions of grandeur (who, me? : )) of like this becoming some landmark case that I pursue for the betterment of all women. I am thinking of first visiting the OB again and telling him what it is that I am asking for. Him denying me and then me pursuing the insurance company or my primary care physician. Them most likely telling me that c section are not considered injuries (??or something along those lines) and me again pursuing the insurance co. And so on.

Does this sound awesome or futile or cool or useless or what? My body is just a wreck and I know that many others are in the same boat, if not worse. Like i told my friend the other day, I can slap on some makeup and show up at the coffee shop and appear to be a vibrant young(ish) mama. But truth be told, I am a brittle, pinched, mangled old thing who can't stand up long enough to even go to the bookstore and read the titles with my head sideways for more than 10 minutes.

Breastfeeding keeps you in your chair, alot. Makes sense. Have the new mom rest. Sit and milk your cubby-bear. But mine is 7 months old and this isnt about doing some crunches. My entire kinesthetics or whatever are all messed up. I do NOT think it should be on me to have to flounder about and "try" a bunch of mysterious exercises and see if i can move the next day. I ASKED the OB at my check up for some exercises and he said go about your normal household activities at 8 weeks. HA. The assertion that a)if you cant do that then oh well I guess you suck and are broken and b) that that counted as ADVICE just disgusted me. Like I had a choice to do anything but. and like I could. you know?

I felt a definite change in healing at 10 1/2 weeks. I could walk for a long time. But that was it. I do not feel any better than when that happened.

I know you could all send me sweet little stretches and moves to do but this is what I am saying, WHY if "they" are so into keeping women's secrets and tricks and truths away from us and forcing the Medical Model onto us do then then not impose some medical healing model onto us? You gave me the damn surgical birth, so wheres my medical healing plan? now its back to garlic and yoga? Does anyone hear the hypocrisy and bullshit of this? Is it on me to find little cyber ladies to send me recipes? Wasnt that SO BAD AND DANGEROUS when i was pregnant? To rely on wisdom and here say and advice of other mamas--isnt that what the doctors and hospitals are so against?

Please tell me what you think.


Rixa said...

I think you're right on. Actually this is normally offered to all postpartum women in France as far as I know. I have an acquaintance who had a c-section and she had weeks of physical therapy (all paid for, of course, through France's socialized medicine). Now whether or not you can convince your doc & insurance companies to do something is another story--but if you're having long-term complications after a surgery, you'd think they'd try to do something.

Judit said...

Joy I wish you success and determination. No clue how hard it will be. but sounds like a very very worthy cause.

Jill said...

Absolutely, completely on to something.

Let me know if I can help. I'll forward your post to a few people that might have better insight than I.

AzĂșcar said...

I think you might have some luck in contacting a sympathetic state congressman. I know our state just passed some new mandatory insurance coverage items. If you can get a law into your state's process soon, you might be able to help a lot of women (approximately 1/3 of mothers...)

Andrea said...

Oh man. You are so right on, about your class action thingy. It's totally gross to me, all the pointless and superfluous and even harmful things that the medical institution pushes and insurance covers, and yet when you show up in extreme pain they have no idea what to do. I think that's what it is, too, you just don't fit into their box and they can't think outside of it.

I've been messed up like you describe for years, and pregnancy (even a home waterbirth) sent it into a new state of horribleness. Chiropractic and massage helped with some pain, but didn't do anything for the root cause, and neither did stretching or yoga or anything DIY. My savior has been my naturopath, who does cranial-sacral therapy, and on Saturdays (!) so I can leave the kid with my husband. I'm almost better with it now, better than I've been in years and years. I so hope you can find your back alley solution, even while you're on your quest to get doctors to take it seriously.

TracyKM said...

When I was in Miami, I saw a billboard for "". It's a totally different culture up here, but if the option were's too bad men don't have to go through something like this; the whole system would be different. I think your OB is guilty of malpractice! Can you sue him? Find other mothers who have had issues with him?
$200 a week for health insurance? I know when you need it, healthcare usually costs more than that, but for that amount I'd think you'd be able to get some PT. Of course, that leaves you uninsured for when you do have some other emergancy. I'm glad we don't have this issue here, although waiting up to 6 months for PT after an injury is not uncommon (and PT isn't covered by our healthcare system anymore).

Kelley said...

I wish you luck on your crusade. At least you can now get some of the care you need.

I'd love to comment more, but I have kids all around me wanting my full and undivided attention. Not so good for writing coherent thoughts.

Peggy said...

I did a quick Google search and see that some physical therapists offer post-abdominal-surgery therapy. Doesn't a c-section create a bigger incision than most abdominal surgeries?--I'm just guessing. Then there's the recovery while taking care of a newborn and X other children at the same time--ugh. You're right, the obstetrical paradigm that c-section is a routine and uncomplicated "procedure" needs to be challenged, somehow. Maybe at the ACOG level???

I'd also guess that OBs practically never make referrals for physical therapy for any reason. You will probably get better help from a family practice or GP doctor.

Since you had a gap in health care coverage, are you going to run into a pre-existing condition limitation of some sort??

I worry that your anger and grief about your c-sections (though totally righteous and justified) has taken as much of a toll on your body as the surgeries themselves. Will keep praying for you.