In the middle of February 2012, I emailed a friend of mine from college with part of the story of what was happening with mom. He replied to me offering to help:
To: Gagne, David
Subject: RE: My Mom
Sent: February 27, 2012 11:28 AM ET
Dave – do you mind if I forward your email to a friend who works in the mental health industry? She’s a consultant for the federal government and may have some contacts who can help or have ideas. It’s probably a long shot, but please let me know if it’s ok to give it a try.
I responded immediately:
From: Gagne, David
Subject: Re: My Mom
Sent: February 27, 2012 11:45 AM ET
Yeah, sure. It can’t hurt, right? Thanks so much. That’s really cool of you. I seriously appreciate it.
I actually got some form of good news last week. [Redacted] (remember him?) showed the email to his wife, who works at Emory in Atlanta. She is actually in the neuroscience field. For some reason I always thought she worked in orthopedics. She works specifically with people that are dealing with the same sort of brain trauma — small vessel ischemia — that my mom has, and she said that CNN has all sorts of grants and stuff that they give to Emory for research in that area. She said that she was going to look into getting my mom into the program up there or, at the very least, connecting me with people that work on a similar program at UF. She said that there is all sorts of money out there from big pharma and stuff to help people with no insurance, you just have to know how to get to it, and she would help. And, as a crazy bonus, her dad used to be the president (or something) of the ElderCare program in Florida, and he is currently [redacted] in [redacted], so he knows all about navigating the financial aid programs in Florida, so he is going to try to help, too.
Maybe nothing good will come out of any of that, but it was really great to hear from [redacted]’s wife, just to learn that there are people involved that aren’t completely incompetent, uncaring morons.
If your friend can offer any insight into dealing with federal programs — Medicare, Social Security, whatever — that would be tremendous. I don’t know if you’ve ever had to deal with anything like that, but it’s a huge 5hit5how. All of the people you call just forward you to someone else; nobody seems to have any idea who is supposed to be in charge of what. Everything takes forever because of HIPAA regulations. It’s just all a horrible pain, and it’s so frustrating because when you’re dealing with something like this you’re ALREADY probably stressing out like mad and scared and sad and then to spend hours every day on hold with people that don’t believe in email or Google or seem to care at all about their jobs … it just sucks.
So thank you, sincerely. Anything your friend can do to help me is a bonus.
I’ll also email you a copy of a separate email I sent [redacted]’s wife with a bunch of more specific details (medications, who her doctors are, etc.)