Lee — I am happy to record that I actually have a brand new knee and also have enough titanium in me to prompt a metallic detector from a block away. The right information is that the knee is doing exactly what it is meant to do: Bending and assisting me. Though it nevertheless hurts pretty a bit, specifically on wet days, it way I am strolling without a limp for the primary time in a dozen years. And weirdly, I am a piece taller now that my knees aren’t as compressed.

While the operation went smoothly and I have nothing but praise for the physician or the anesthesiologist, I changed into greatly surprised at the distinction in the nursing care and the centers’ renovation compared to three years in the past, after I had my first knee alternative. The final time I underwent surgery, the pain changed into no longer managed nicely; however, the nursing care and physical therapy turned into a spot. This time, I was slightly given any PT at the health facility. Once I become, it felt as though I had been carefully monitored so that the coverage organization should send me domestic instead of the rehabilitation facility associated with Berkshire Medical Center. I felt that I changed into being monitored because I became.

I had made arrangements to go to Hillcrest Commons, wherein I spent approximately eleven days improving in 2016. The joint replacement application changed into new at that time, and it becomes suitable. Several humans met me after I arrived. My pain meds and bodily therapy timetable have been mentioned. A nutritionist talked to me about my bizarre food allergies. The private room appeared out onto a lawn, and it becomes stored spotless. Before arriving at Hillcrest, I had perfect PT within the clinic and determined the room to be clean and tidy.

This time, the sanatorium room changed into no longer wiped clean till I requested for it and my “case manager” turned into antagonistic, telling me I needed to get out proper away if I desired to get a room within the rehab and, at that, I become handiest authorized for three days. So, two days after surgical treatment, I was given the bum’s rush, and while it was clear that I changed into not physically up to it, granted another day in the hospital and then dumped at rehab. No one met me. No one even asked if I wanted to devour something for 2 days. When I brought about a stink, a person came and pointed out my hypersensitive reactions and then gave me a meal, to which I turned into allergic. The vicinity was genuinely understaffed, and I felt as though I needed to fight for the entirety.

The difference between three years ago and now could be that my coverage has become “controlled.” That way, an organization becomes hired to oversee the way the coverage agency spends its cash. This also manner that much less and less is accepted for the affected person. So, after a couple of days of languishing at the rehab and the handiest days of bodily remedy, I was told I might be on my way.

However, I managed to live for over a week because I fought the insurance agency, helping by way of a few very first-rate human beings on the rehab who stated me not worthy of moving home. I become terrified and traumatic. My knee was now not responding to the PT, and I changed into, for all intents and functions, just dragging my leg round. I stay within the hayloft of an old barn. It is a flight up the stairs to get into my house and any other flight to get to the floor with the bedrooms and the restroom. That second flight of stairs is excessive and slim—each riser is 9 inches high. I pictured myself careening down the steps and breaking my true leg. My mother, who is in her 80s, was in Florida, and I sent my 14-yr-old away to live with pals—she turned into worried approximately the surgical treatment, and I desired her properly out of it. So I could have been despatched home to a tough state of affairs without an on-the-spot assist gadget and a leg that did now not work nicely. Keeping me at rehab should have been a no-brainer.

Physical therapy at Hillcrest become, and still is, top-notch. A doors enterprise is shrunk using the power and my concept, and I still assume it’s miles the first-rate PT I have ever had. It’s too bad the relaxation of the place has long passed downhill. I discover it ridiculous that I requested at each the hospital and the rehab compression stockings. And I asked. Then I asked once more. I asked for three days. I started with giving a pair that most effective in shape the leg that became now not swollen and sore from surgical treatment. By the time I was sent from rehab to the medical doctor, I had cellulitis and a giant ache. The kicker is that it most effective took five minutes for a nurse to walk down the rehab corridor and retrieve a stocking.

That form of negligence is tough enough for someone aware and outspoken. Imagine the struggle endured using elderly or incapacitated humans left to the mercy of strangers who can’t or won’t nicely care for them. Not that everyone at both facilities was inept—there have been a few splendid, hard-running nurses at each location, but they had been truly understaffed and overworked.

I asked absolutely everyone who could talk to me why things had been modified. The answers all involved cost-cutting measures. I once again told that, considering that extra coverage agencies trusted managed care, much less money is being spent on a group of workers and protection. This is a worrisome fashion, in particular given that we lack medical doctors in this vicinity. Dermatologists and dentists are hardly flocking to the Berkshires, and my daughter needed to wait over eight months to peer an osteopath approximately her headaches. If our facilities aren’t up to par, how can we count on attracting medical doctors to the area?

I am now unsure what we will do approximately health care inside the Berkshires, other than touch neighborhood politicians and make certain court cases. A reward is given to hospitals, clinics, and physician’s offices. Fighting with the insurance corporations is like preventing with the Mafia—they have all the power, and we’ve got nearly no recourse when we became down for offerings other than to argue with the coverage corporation or call an attorney. I had an extended chat with oldsters at each medical institution and the rehab about my reports, and I hope the scenario improves before I need a brand new hip.

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