Back on Guam

To continue with the story of my rehabilitation at home…

I signed up with the local version of Medicare on Guam, called M.I.P., soon after I returned to Guam. Those initials stand for Medically Indigent Program. I didn’t like the word “indigent”, it sounded rather archaic to me. Regardless, if I liked that word or not, that program helped get me into my first set of prosthetics. I was seen by a case manager and my situation was assessed. I needed to provide documentation of my eligibility for the program (proof of income, of which I had none at the time) and a note from the doctor stating that I need prosthetics. At first, I found it rather absurd that I needed to provide documentation that I was a double amputee when the person sitting across from me could plainly see that I was missing limbs. I quickly learned that all companies/organizations need it for proof since everything can be audited. 

Once I was admitted into the program, I had to wait until the visiting prosthetist from Hawaii was on island. That should have been an early warning sign to my parents and I, but we were new to the world of prosthetics. The prosthetist would not be visiting until later that year and it was already October. Unfortunately, I can’t remember if it was November or December when he actually visited.

In the meantime, to prepare for my first set of prosthetics, I started lifting light dumbbells and performing body weight exercises, such as push-ups, at home. I needed to be flexible to be able to move in my new legs. I had gained a decent amount of weight since returning from the Philippines. When I was first awoken from the coma I was a scant 76 lbs. All the doting from my family in the form of my favorites foods had paid off and I was now attempting to lose some of that weight!

All during that time I was working a couple of days a week. It was tough. As mentioned in an earlier post, in addition to losing both of my legs, I had also suffered a mild traumatic brain injury or TBI. That affected my processing speed. It took me a lot longer to perform functions such as reading documents, performing take-off quantities from architectural plans, and other duties that I used to quickly complete. Because the part of my brain (the Prefrontal Cortex) that controls impulses was damaged I was sending off emails without proofreading them. My boss had to call me into the office one day and remind me to triple-check everything. I looked back at some of the emails I had sent after returning and, boy, was I embarrassed. It made me very grateful for the patience my boss had for me and the great help she was to my speedy recovery by forcing me to return to work. I wanted to stay at home and recoup, but she wanted me to put my brain to work asap before it fell into a stagnant state.

Before the TBI I could read anything and recall most of what I read many days later. In undergrad I took a class with one of my roommates. He would always complain to his girlfriend, who I was good friends with, that I never studied and still did much better than him on tests despite his study habit. I used to be able show up in class and as long as I paid attention I remembered everything. Writing this makes me a bit sad. Sad because most of the time I’ll have to reread something over and over again depending on how complex it is. It’s just that once I get to the end of a sentence and begin the next, there’s a good chance I’ll have forgotten what the first sentence said. That would come back to haunt me later on when I decided I wanted to go to law school.

But before law school, my first set of prosthetics had to be conquered.

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Amputee Runner

Hi! My name is JR and I'm a bilateral above-the-knee (or AK) amputee as of July 2011. This blog will cover many things from my life before and after the accident. I have an affinity for dressing well, staying active, and eating well (and not so well.) Follow me on my journey!

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