Friday, December 7, 2012

The Chair Necessities - 2012 Blogging Advent Calendar Day 6

It seems that I am always in some sort of war with our health insurance company. As always, I will not name which insurance company we have, I will just refer to it as Azure Cross Azure Shield or ACAS for short.

So as I have referred to many times in my posts, Bianca is an eloper. It has gotten better, but when the mood strikes… FORGET ABOUT IT. That kid is gone. Vapor. “Asses and Elbows” as we used to say back in the day. With age comes height and with height comes longer legs and with those longer legs comes a larger stride. Now you wouldn't guess it by looking at me or my wife, but we aren't really runners. So now at the age of 7, catching Bianca is requiring the understanding of pursuit angles like an NFL Safety.

Whenever we go to a family outing that is outside, one of us is constantly latched on to Bianca. It used to be fairly simple. She had one of those teddy bear backpacks with the leash that she used to LOVE to put on, but for some reason she wants nothing to do with it any longer. Just the sight of it causes her to meltdown. She used to love to strap herself in. I figured she liked the hugging feeling that the bear backpack was providing her. Whatever her attachment to it was previously, it is gone now.

Now we have to literally keep a hand on her at all times when we are in public. If I have my wife with me, then we will let her walk beside us or in front of us. We try to use moments like that as teaching moments for her. The problem is that because of our work schedules, those moments together are few and far between.

Just this last year we had a couple of scary incidents. Bianca got away twice. Both times she went running directly to where she knew there was a swimming pool. One time she was caught in time… the other one she wasn't  Luckily the pool she managed to jump into was only 3 feet deep. My wife didn't know it at the time and almost had a heart attack, but Bianca could easily touch. It was hovering right around 60 degrees though, and the water was cold. Bianca didn't seem to care… purple lips and all.

So with these two incidents in mind, we decided to apply for one of these big strollers that are technically wheelchairs. We borrowed one from a friend for the autism walk and it worked great. Bianca loves strollers. She even straps herself in. We figured that it would help to keep her safe, and our other kids safe because we wouldn't have to be so hyper vigilant about Bianca. Sometimes Luis decides to run because he is two and that is what a two year old does, test boundaries. It is very difficult if it is just one parent taking care of three kids… one of them autistic, the other two and precocious.

We got Bianca measured up, and our therapist took down all sorts of information and described how she was a flight risk on the application. It was all done by her therapist and during one of her sessions.

A few weeks later I got a call from the wheelchair company. We had been denied. This is not an unfamiliar position for me to be in, so I picked up the phone and dialed Azure Cross Azure Shield.

Me: Hi. I was calling to inquire about why we were denied the wheelchair for my daughter.

ACAS: I have your account pulled up in front of me… ah yes. The wheelchair was denied because it is considered a convenience item.
It was so convenient not having
Bianca run into Lake Michiagan.

Me: A what?

ACAS: A… umm… convenience item.

Me: Really? Now are you aware that my daughter is autistic?

ACAS: I see that mentioned here yes.

Me: And does it say on the request that she is a flight risk? That we have to literally have a hold of her at all times if we are out in public?

ACAS: Yes. I see that listed in the description.

Me: Hmm. Well… While I do agree that safety is convenient. I am having a hard time understanding the denial for this purpose. Is the chair equipped with satellite radio or a DVD player? Did we accidentally request one with 21” rims or one made out of some space aged lightweight metal?

ACAS: I am sorry?

Me: Well, I am just trying to wrap my head around the whole “convenience” angle. When I think a convenience item, I think of bagged salad or power locks and windows… maybe a remote start for my car… are people applying for wheelchairs out of convenience? You know what would be REALLY convenient? Not having my kid blindly throw herself into a swimming pool without fear for her own safety. Not having to ask for a wheelchair would also be pretty damn convenient right now.

ACAS: So are you interested in filing an appeal?

Me: Damn skippy.

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  1. Hi Lou. I just thought I would ask have u ever thought of a service dog? I agree u should and need the wheelchair/stroller. But I think a service dog would be good for the future also. Just an idea and good luck with the insurance company.

  2. I have indeed thought about a service dog Spuds.

    But we just lost our dog, so if we do, it may be a while.