It’s been a while since my last post. That’s a result of 2 things: 1) there just aren’t dramatic changes happining any more and 2) I’ve been really busy with work. A quick note about #2, I am a self-employed graphic designer and web designer. As other self-employed out there will already know, work can be feast or famine. Weeks can go by with nobody calling and then everyone seems to need something at the same time. I made a short-notice trip to Ohio at the beginning of February to bail out one of my freelance clients. I used to work for him full time and he is a friend and good source of work for me. His one full-time employee quit right before their biggest job of the year. He flew me in to help out for about 10 days. Having me there meant that he could sleep every night. Just a quick moment of shameless self-promotion…if you’re interested, check out my website (www.brown-bag-creative.com), and I promise this is the only time I’ll mention it. This blog is about hip dysplasia after all.
Back to hips, during January I continued with 2 PT and 1 massage appointment a week. At massage therapist Robin’s suggestion, PT Becky started a new treatment called Graston. Here’s a brief explanation from their website:
“The Graston Technique® incorporates a patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively detect and treat scar tissue and restrictions that affect normal function.”
Scar tissue restrictions affecting normal function…sounds like me. Basically, a person trained in the technique, like Becky, runs the metal tools across the affected area to help break down scar tissue and loosen up “stuck” tissue. She has used the long handle-bar looking tool at the top and the bottom left tool on me. It’s not pleasant when it is happening, but it isn’t really painful. As the tool runs over your tissue, you can feel little bumps. It’s very odd and a little startling, especially at first. For about 24 hours after a treatment the area is extra sore and tender. So far I’ve seen improvements from Graston, so I’ll deal with any temporary unpleasantries.
To throw a wrench into the works of my recovery, in early February, I received my first ever bill from the PT office. We switched to a different insurance plan within the same company at the beginning of the year. Before switching, Steve asked somebody (he doesn’t remember whom) how PT would be covered and was told it would be the same as the old plan where we pay a $15 co-pay per visit and the rest is covered, with a max of 60 visits per year. After I got the bill and made a phone call to insurance, I learned that he had been given incorrect information. We are responsible for 100% of the cost until we meet a $3000 deductible. After that we’re responsible for the $15 co-pay plus 20% per visit.
I can’t even express how angry I was when I learned this. I have been going 3 times a week thinking it was $15 per visit. After 5-6 weeks of 3 visits per week, I find out I have to pay either $65 or $75 per visit. Grr! If I had know the costs, I would have cut down the frequency of my appointments.
We’ve also learned of another piece of incorrect information about our costs for the new insurance plan, but at least this time the wrong information ended up in our favor. Steve was told we’d have to pay 100% of prescription costs until we met the deductible. The first time I picked up one of his 2 migraine medicines I was expecting to pay the cash price of $180 but instead I was only charged a co-pay of about $15. Maybe it all works out then, but I still wish I had known what I was spending when I went to 3 PT/massage appointments a week.
After getting the bad news about PT costs, I decided I needed to cut down to one appointment per week. In general, every few weeks I’d feel a bit of progress in relieving the tightness in my right side, but very minimal progress. Even before the insurance surprise, I was beginning to wonder if I was coming to the end of the road for what these appointments could do for me. Becky had wondered the same thing after discussions with Robin. They both asked me what I felt was helping and what wasn’t. I think the massage and the Graston are helping and the laser and EMS are not, so we decided to just do what’s working.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been alternating between massage one week and Graston and stretching the next week. Because Becky isn’t doing the laser on me, she is spending more time with the Graston tools. I think it’s helping. I’ll stick with this routine for a few more weeks and then reassess.