Please Face Me – And Make it a Double (part two)

7/28/2008 – Skirmish Lost – War Declared!

The following transcript of a conversation I had today is not complete or perfect – it’s from my best recollection upon arriving home in rather profound emotional turmoil and disappointment. I had to scribble it on paper as fast as I could, while it was fresh in my memory. I now more calmly and patiently transcribe it here for the edification of those who believe in the Happiness-care tooth fairy. At the outset, know that this is NOT OVER.

This is a conversation between myself and my “official” case manager (CM) at St. Goofy’s Bombastic Happiness (SGBH), an arm of St. Goofy’s Medical Center, a facility of Goofy Happinesscare North (GHN).

Recall from part one that I had a discussion with my “fill in” case manager about my ongoing outpatient treatment, during which I requested and explained CART accommodation. The following conversation was with my actual case manager, Susanne, with whom I’ve had pretty good rapport in general.

Susanne: What can I help you with?

Paul: I need to find out if my insurance will cover the Partial [outpatient group therapy] program.

Susanne: I spoke with Judy [temp CM I talked to Friday], and she had information for you, but you left.

Paul: Apparently she wasn’t aware I was already discharged, and had to leave.

Susanne: Ok, let me go look and find the information for you – it’ll just take a couple minutes.

Paul: OK

Susanne: You’re eligible for our CCDI program.

Paul: One important thing I need to tell you – I can’t do the full 10 days [assuming this acronym refers to their 10 day Partial program]. I’ve got to get back to work.

Susanne: It’s not a 10 day program – it’s 3 times a week, in the evenings; it starts at 5:30 on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Paul: That’s not what Judy and I talked about!

Susanne: That’s what your insurance specifies, the CCDI program – and we can provide an interpreter for you. [Note that I had not asked for an interpreter – I had requested CART]

Paul: I can’t use an interpreter – I don’t speak ASL! I need CART!

Susanne: We’re not set up for that. All we can do is provide an interpreter.

Paul: By law, you have to accommodate me! I have information on how to do this easily with remote CART. All you need is a computer with Internet, Skype, and a microphone.

Susanne: So don’t you lip-read?

Paul: Yes, I can lip-read a bit, but I’m not totally deaf – just hard of hearing, so if you’re facing me, I can both lip-read and hear some of what you’re saying. But in a group conversation, I can’t follow.

Susanne: So you’re telling me the CART people can follow a conversation where 3 or 4 people are talking at once?

Paul: No – I couldn’t do that when I could hear!

Susanne: I can’t do that now (smiles).

Paul: What I’m saying is that when someone isn’t facing me, I can’t understand them, and that’s what happens in a group setting. But the CART person can hear and transcribe any single speaker in the room.

Susanne: So what happens with this setup? People talk, and you do what… read?

Paul: Yes, on the computer screen.

Susanne: I don’t even know if there’s a computer available in the room we do the groups in – and I doubt there’s Internet. It would take at least several days for us to set this up, and I don’t see how the program could benefit you given that you can’t go past this week. The only thing I can recommend to you is AA meetings – we do have one that meets here, Tuesday nights, 7:30 p.m.

Paul: I guess you’re right.

[Much prognostication (by me) of future encounters of this sort follows, but is omitted here – and I insisted that Susanne make photocopies of the material (and postcard) provided by our (SWC) Gayl to give to “them” for the benefit of future patients – which she did.]

[Pleasantries, goodbye, etc.]

[Note that the suggestion of the AA meeting completely sidesteps the HOH/CART issue – what elephant? I don’t see an elephant!]

So now what?

Well I haven’t formulated my plan of attack yet, but do trust me, THIS IS WAR. I am absolutely determined that these people will enter the 21st century and start accommodating late-deafened/HOH folks, or they will PAY in real dollars for their ignorance and dismissal of this issue.

This isn’t even about me anymore. This is about everybody who comes to them for help and is turned away because their hearing loss can’t be accommodated in one of the simplest, cheapest (most “reasonable”) ways.

Can you tell I’m pissed? 😉

And what of my recovery? Well don’t worry, I’m not about to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I’ve still got determination to keep my LIFE, and I’ll find what I need out there (if I have to, I’ll START a late-deafened/HOH AA meeting! – I have plenty of experience with 12-step).

Wish me luck as I dive into my new role as the HOH Radical. 🙂

Paul S

0 thoughts on “Please Face Me – And Make it a Double (part two)

  1. Hi Paul. Best wishes on your recovery. It is a fascinating journey. There is online AA available so the issue of being able to hear is circumvented. An international group for alcoholics who are deaf/Deaf/HOH is SOS stands for Sounds of Sobriety.

  2. Paul– I laffed hysterically when she suggested an interpreter. I was waiting for it. Weird sense of humor, I know. All you need is a CART transcriptionist. She won’t need internet. They usually come with their own equipment, and often double as court stenographers.

    How it works– she’ll bring her own little laptop on a stand and her transcription machine. You sit next to her and read the laptop while she types on her machine.

    Here’s a listing of people in CA

    Also–if you get in touch with your deaf cntr, they might be able have a list of names. Additionally, see if Gayle can help. She might even know someone in So. CA. The hospital needs to know how to accommodate us. Good luck with your fight. I’m so proud of you!!!

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