You may read this blog post title with a sense of bewilderment.
You may be wondering where on earth am I going with this and what on earth has any of it got to do with chronic disease and disability!
Well, in my world these three things, Carparks, a Recliner and a Telephone, have all been my absolute life savers in terms of medical care.
Let’s Start With Carparks
I’ve recently experienced two amazing and unexpected gifts from two separate medical professionals in carparks.
The First Carpark Gift
Two weeks ago, given I’m immune compromised, I became eligible for a 4th COVID booster shot. We are heading into winter in Australia, so I also needed my annual flu shot.
Post my long hospital stay late last year and my acute disease attack, I’m now able to travel in our car with the seat reclined, rather than relying on ambulance transport. However, until my customised wheelchair is made, I’m unable to sit in waiting rooms etc.
Our local medical practice, where my husband attends, came to my rescue in terms of finding a way for me to get my much needed vaccinations.
In fact they were beyond amazing and arranged for the practice nurse to come out to the carpark, to give me both vaccinations, while I remained reclined in our car seat.
Such care and understanding will never go unnoticed by me. I am so grateful. Even the Doctor (who is my husband’s doctor, not mine) came outside to the car to see if I was ok.
The Second Carpark Gift
A week later I was facing another medical challenge, in terms of needing to do something beyond my physical capabilities.
My own GP is a 35min drive from home and he always has telehealth consults with me, as do all my Specialists. However, to receive bulk billed telehealth for 12 months, you have to see your GP face to face once a year.
I had no idea how I would survive a 35 minute (70min round trip) car drive, on top of sitting in a manual wheelchair in a waiting room (average wait is 15mins), plus the time spent with my GP in his room for the consultation.
Even the thought of it brought me out in a cold sweat!
After talking to my beautiful GP, he suggested seeing me in his carpark, so we could tick the annual “face to face” box and I wouldn’t need to get out of the car.
It worked perfectly. My husband drove our car and I was able to lie semi reclined in the car seat while travelling. Once we arrived at my doctors practice, we were allowed to park out the back in the ambulance bay. My back began to spasm as the severe stenosis compressed multiple nerves. It was hard not to panic as the pain brought memories flooding back of my paralysis only a few months ago.
I decided to try reclining the car seat back completely and within moments my pain significantly reduced. I was beyond grateful I wasn’t stuck sitting upright in the waiting room.
My GP soon appeared from the back door and came over to see me. He came armed with everything he knew I would ask for, including my recent blood test results, my repeat prescriptions and a copy of my new health care plan.
It was so lovely to see him. It had been over a year since we’d had a face to face consultation! It was even lovelier to be comfortably reclined in our car and feeling as abled as possible to achieve this appointment.
We often complain about our health system and sometimes justifiably so, but it’s important to also point out what works well.
Two medical practices are definitely going above and beyond and as a disabled person I am so grateful for being treated with such respect and dignity.
Let’s Move On To A Recliner
I always knew when I first got my electric lift recliner, it was going to be so useful.
It’s my comfy chair, it can be a fully reclined bed and it helps me navigate my pain throughout the day as I change the reclined positions.
I never thought it would become a dentist chair, a place to receive an iron infusion and have regular blood tests. All from the comfort of my “Home Sweet Home”.
“Care at Home” is a big topic, so I won’t share everything in this post available in Australia, but I do want to list the mobile health services I am incredibly grateful for, given I still can’t attend appointments face to face.
I have a disclaimer…..I have full private health insurance. I’ve had it for years which has kept my premiums relatively low. Given the complexity of my health, the health fund have paid out more for me than I’ve paid them. This is obviously not the norm.
I have funding from the government through a Disability initiative called the National Disability Insurance Scheme
This is available to anyone with a disability and is not income/asset tested. The application process is onerous but well worth it. As a result I receive services at home for:
I have recently been diagnosed as anaemic and require an iron infusion.
I’m so excited I found a company called Chemo at Home , who provide chemotherapy and infusions, in the comfort of your own home, for many diseases including Anemia!!
My Hematologist has thankfully approved this service for me. I will have a registered Nurse come into my home, set up the same environment as I’d experience in hospital and give me my infusion. I’m so relieved to have this available.
(Disclaimer:This is funded through my Private health insurance)
I also have a broken tooth and have amazingly found a mobile dentist. I used them last year and they are incredible. They even come with an xray machine!! I had complete dental xrays when they visited last time, all while reclined in my lounge chair. When you can’t physically attend appointments, this kind of service is just incredible.
I never knew mobile infusions or dentists existed. I literally found them online and contacted them to ask if I was eligible for their services.
I want to encourage you, no matter what country you live in, to never assume you don’t have a service available to you.
Do as much research as you can online to find what you need. You might be incredibly surprised to find something you never expected existed!
My Specialists/Consultants and General Practitioners had no idea the dentist and infusion mobile services existed. They are equally excited to know they do and very grateful I found them. They will definitely be letting other patients know about them.
And on the Tailend…The Telephone
Above all else I am incredibly grateful for medical teleconsults.
It’s a shame it’s taken a global pandemic like COVID to have this amazing and essential service provided.
Thankfully it looks like it will continue and it has been acknowledged how important this service is for the chronic illness and disability communities.
I enjoy teleconsults with all of my Specialists including, my Orthopaedic Surgeon, Endocrinologist, GP, Gastroenterologist, Hematologist, Rheumatologist and Pain Management Specialist.
Imagine me trying to attend all of these appointments, when I can’t sit upright for more than 15mins and can’t stand for more than 10mins. I can’t walk further than about 10metres and require a walker to do that.
So Carparks, a Recliner and a Telephone all represent a new form of medical clinics in my life.
Life with chronic illness may be many things, but I’ve found it’s never boring.
I’d really love to hear about out of the box solutions you have found to your chronic illness challenges.
My book “My Medical Musings”, is being published by Imaginewe Publishers. Pre-release sales are available now the 6th May 2022 to the 19th May, with the official book launch on May 20th.
Here is the pre-sale link:
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
I’m also a Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women
If you would like to read a little more about my journey, here’s the link to My Story