To Change Your Life.
January 24th 2015 was the 4th Saturday of the month, It was not a typical Saturday for us though due to Robs work schedule, Normally he would have the day off, but because he was down a officer, he took a grave yard shift since we really didn’t have anything planned that Saturday.
After he got home and had a couple of hours sleep, we took off out to Mulino where our Bronco was being kept at the friend of a friend’s place.
A couple of hours later it all changed in a split second, In that second, Our lives changed forever. In that second, The Rob I fell in love with and Married was no more.
A stupid choice was all it took, a choice to not put on his helmet when taking a mini bike out onto a public street, He was going about 25mph, hit a pothole and down he went, sliding on his face about 10–15feet.
5 Days on the Trauma Floor at Emmanuel Hospital in North Portland, included Facial reconstruction surgery, a multitude of cognitive and neurological tests, MRI and CT Scans to assess the damage to his brain, and either fortunately or Unfortunately depending on how you look at it, nothing showed on any of the scans but yet he was officially diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury and sent home after 5 days. Told to follow up with his Primary Care Dr. and with a Neurologist, Physiologist, speech therapist and a bunch of other ists and ologists.
The last week of March Rob was released back to work full time, We were still clueless as to what to expect, what to watch for, however, with in about a year it started, oh it was all ever so suttle at first, a anxiety attack here and there, tremors in the hands the anxiety attacks at work, the write up due to poor performance on the job. eventually over 2 years time his anxiety attacks were affecting his job, during the final month of Rob working, Another Security Company was taking over at his job site, Rob and 2 other people were let go. Rob found out over Memorial Day Weekend 2017, that he had lost his job, this is when his mental health issues came to a head and we discovered just how bad it was, what he had been hiding from me. I had to have him admitted to a mental health facility to get some help. It was a good start, and he did a several sessions after he was released a week later, but then he lost his health insurance from work and that is when I really noticed the Disparity in equal access to mental health services here in Oregon.
Yes there is equal access to services, to a point, But, there is only equal access to basic mental health services, that’s it, that’s where the Equal access ends. There is also a huge disparity in the quality of care between those with Private or Medicare Insurance and those on Medicaid Or as it is called here in Oregon, The Oregon Health Plan (OHP), basic mental health services are guaranteed, but beyond that it is not. and then there are the specialized clinics and facilities, some take Medicaid and most don’t due to low reimbursement rates, which is a bad thing for those who need specialized help, this is where the disparity comes in. Those with private insurance or Medicare get more opportunity for specialized help than those on Medicaid get, and even if the clinic takes Medicaid, they only take a certain number of Medicaid recipients, therefore the wait list can be quite lengthy and does absolutely no good for the patient requiring specialty care.
This is the problem I ran into so many times while looking for a Therapist that specialized in Trauma, every time I tried to find one, I was either told “all counselors have experience with trauma,” Or it was “We don’t take Medicaid” or “We are not accepting any new Medicaid patients right now”, It was so frustrating, and during the time Rob was a patient at the clinic in Gladstone, i had asked repeatedly for Rob to see a Psychiatrist, and every time it was “The Psychiatrist isn’t taking any new Medicaid Patients right now,”, Every time I asked if he could be put on the waitlist, only to be told, “The waitlist is closed”.
The Lack of a Psychiatrist is one thing that went against Rob with Social Security Disability, even though He had told the Judge at the hearing that we has been continuously denied the opportunity to see a Psychiatrist, it didn’t matter, It was still used against him in the Judges decision to deny Rob SSDI Benefits.
And people wonder why we have such a mental health crisis in this country.
About every 3 months or so I would start calling counseling centers in the Portland Metro Area to see if they had any specialists that work specifically with TBI survivors, and as usual I was told that all the Dr’s have experience with TBI Patients, but they were not specialists correct? only to be told No they aren’t. If I was fortunate to find one that was a specialist, they didn’t take OHP. Frustrating to say the least.
When we finally moved down here to the Coast, I had hopes of finding Rob something better than what he had up in Portland,, after a couple of years of counseling sessions that really did no real good for him I decided to try again, we had been here 2 years, and a new counseling center had opened up, so I decided to give it a try, First though, I called the County Clinic, what a absolute Shit Show that is, The Tillamook County Health Center will not accept you as a patient for the Behavioral Services Program unless You have all your care there, smh I asked the Gal to repeat herself and she said it again, she also apologized that it was that way. and to try the new clinic in town.
So I called the new clinic here in town and that is when Ifinally found a trauma specialist that took our insurance, Who would of thought that after searching all over the Portland Metro area for a trauma Therapist that took OHP, That I’d finally find one here in little Ole’ Tillamook County.
The Day of his intake appointment the therapist that was trained in trauma actually did the intake interview and actually told Rob and I that he was taking our case himself since it was a Traumatic Injury case.
It will be a year in April that he has been going to this counselor, and Rob is finally starting to open up to him, It has taken a lot though to get him to trust this Counselor, And the best part is, this counselor is working with BOTH of us, He talks to me as well ,asks how I am doing, what am I seeing in Rob, what do I think about how he is doing.
Like I told the Counselor here a few weeks ago, It has taken me 5 years to find the right therapist for Rob, and it had been a uphill battle all the way, But i finally did it. He even sees a Psychiatrist now and has his mental health meds managed by her. We have come so far, but we haven’t really, we should be further ahead in Robs Progress but we aren’t.
We are coming up on 8 years since his accident, 6 years since he was forced to quit working, So much has changed in our lives, and while his mental health is better than it was at the end of 2017 and we’ve made some progress, I don’t feel as though it’s as much as if he had been allowed the help he is getting now. I feel as though that 5 years that he was refused the help he needed, cost him more than anyone will ever know, simply because that is 5 years of progress we will never get back.
I am hopeful that this year will be continued improvements, even if they are little, I’ll take them.
This post is my thoughts and opinions as well as Our Experiences in the TBI world and in trying to get the right kind of Mental Health Services. Your experiences might be different from ours, your state Medicaid program might be better or worst than ours.