December 2010

 


 

 

 

Name Of Column Author Title Article Type
News Views Pat Sanders Adjusting To Miracles News & Events
VoicePoints Meaghan Benjamin FAQS Medicare Education-Med
WebWhispers Columnist Itzhak Brook To Cover Or Not To Cover Education-Med
Between Friends Donna McGary Thankful Commentary
Practically Speaking Elizabeth Finchem Living Is An Adventure Education
My Neck Of The Woods Vicki Metz The Well Dressed Laryngectomee Experience
The Speechless Poet Len A Hynds The Cameron Highlander Prose & Poetry
Words From The Webmaster Len Librizzi My First Year As A Lary Pt 2 Experience
New Members Listing Welcome News & Events

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjusting to Miracles

 

My cousin and I compared notes over the telephone last week about our miracles, with the difficulties and wonders of learning new ways of living.

Carolyn had a brain tumor, not malignant, but it grew and pressed against nerves and, among other things, affected her hearing. The tumor was finally removed by surgery, had to be because it was getting dangerous. The surgery also left her completely deaf in that ear. She learned to live with the change of being deaf in one ear and relying on a hearing aid in her "good" ear. It became second nature to pick a chair at a table so she could hear. Sat with that ear on the side of the music or TV or person. She could not hear the cat meow when she called and telephones and the doorbell had to be adjusted. It was a social drawback, much like our loss of voice, in which you lose your ability to partake in the noisy or ongoing conversation because you can't respond fast enough. She was never sure she had heard the right thing and knew that her answer could be the wrong one, so she became quieter, and a little bit different in personality, again, much as we do as our talking changes.

And, then, early this year, they did some testing for a Cochlear implant and she tested well. The planning took months but they finally did the surgery of the implanting into the bone with just a small post that showed behind the ear. She had to wear a helmet to hold everything in place, and soon graduated to wearing it at night so that it healed right and the bone could grow around the implant. Months went by before they were ready.

My telephone rang last week and Carolyn's excited voice said, "I couldn't wait to call you!" and I felt like I was yelling, "YOU GOT YOUR HEARING BACK!!"... YES! She told me how wonderful it was and how confusing. She was going to need to change much of her daily behavior...and also learn the manipulation of the three dials that would let her adjust settings. She had just gotten the small unit in place that day and everything was different. But, she said... "I have REAL hearing". I know the feeling. My voices to me are REAL, even though they are not the original.

We talked about the changes in lifestyle, that getting your hearing or your voice back can bring, and there were surprising similarities along with the miracle of one who had not been able to talk conversing easily with one who had not been able to hear.

Cochlear Implants will not work for everyone and are quite expensive unless insurance covers as it did for Carolyn, where the hearing loss was caused by a surgery to remove a tumor. For additional information, this is the website from the National Institute of Health:

http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/coch.asp

 

Enjoy,
Pat W Sanders
WebWhispers President
 

 

 

VoicePoints written by professionals 

Coordinated by Meaghan Kane Benjamin, M.A., CCC-SLP

 

                                         meaghan.benjamin@mac.com  

                 

 

 


Medicare Changes….What does it all mean?

 


This is an overview of what the most recent Medicare changes regarding L8509 include. It is being presented in a Q & A format based on the most common questions I have received from the field. I want to stress the importance of consulting the financial/billing people for your institution to determine all the nuances of billing. This overview is meant to answer general questions and help each clinician best determine how they need to proceed in order to meet the new guidelines. This change went into effect on Oct. 1st 2010:

 

Why can't any DME companies such as ATOS or Apria bill for the indwelling style prosthesis any longer?

 

Atos Medical is considered a Durable Medical Equipment company. Medicare has taken indwelling style prostheses away from the DME MAC which is the division of Medicare that DME companies are able to submit claims to for reimbursement. Indwelling style prostheses have been moved into A/B MAC which is the division that hospitals/facilities submit claims to for reimbursement. In order for a reimbursement to be processed, the facility must purchase and bill for the prosthesis.

 

What is DME? Durable Medical Equipment.

 

In order for something to be considered DME, it generally falls under the following guidelines: (1) Can be used again (2) Can be used in the home (3) Is not useful in the absence of illness or injury (4) Is either rented or purchased (5) Is single patient use


As a facility, we are not a licensed DME provider and are unable to bill for durable medical equipment. Does this mean we can't bill for the indwelling style prosthesis?


No, you should be able to bill for the indwelling style prosthesis (L8509) as it is no longer considered a DME item and as such can only be billed by non DME facilities such as the hospital or doctor's office. As a result, your facility can now bill for indwelling style prostheses and get reimbursed even if they are not a licensed DME provider.


If we are not a licensed DME provider, can we bill Medicare for other items such as HMES or Freehands valve?


No, you can not as HMES fall under DME and in order to bill Medicare for DME, you must have licensed DME provider status.

 

What about non-indwelling style prostheses (L8507). How are those billed?


Non Indwelling style prostheses (L8507) are still considered to be DME as they are patient changeable. As a result, in order to bill for reimbursement, these would fall under the same category as HMEs or Freehands valves and can only be billed to Medicare by a licensed DME provider. As a result, the DME companies can continue to submit claims on behalf of the patients for these items.

 

How does Medicare reimbursement work for DME items?


To give an example, Indwelling style prostheses all use the same HCPC code regardless of brand. Medicare has a fee schedule that is set based on Region and is referred to as the allowable rate. Medicare reimburses 80% of their allowable rate. If the allowable rate in your region is 115.00, Medicare will reimburse 92.00 for an indwelling prosthesis. The patient and/or secondary insurance is typically responsible for the rest. The way most facilities submit billing is to include the CPT (procedural code) as well as the HCPC code for the device used during the procedure.

 

How does it work with private Insurance?

 

Currently, DME providers can still submit claims on behalf of patients for all items including L8509 indwelling style voice prostheses.

 

If my facility is not a licensed DME provider, can I still bill the private insurances for all items related to laryngectomy care?

 

This is an excellent question for your billing people. Technically the answer is yes. Remember, the definition of DME is the same for both Medicare and Private so you can only bill each patient one time for each item used with that patient. All billable items must be new and single patient use. To determine your reimbursement, you should work directly with your financial/billing people to determine the contract you have with individual private insurance companies which will determine how your facility bills and is reimbursed from private insurance companies.

 

Our facility doesn’t stock indwelling style prostheses. Can a patient call one of the Vendors and purchase an indwelling style prosthesis directly?

 

Yes, as long as they have the appropriate prescription on file. If the patient is Medicare, the patient needs to agree that no claims will be filed for reimbursement (ABN form) and as a result, accept responsibility for payment. If the patient has private insurance, the vendor can file their claim as has been customary.

 

According to CMS, what HCPC codes regarding Postlaryngectomy care can be billed by a hospital/facility that are a non-licensed DME provider?

 

L8509 (indwelling style prostheses)


According to CMS, What HCPC codes regarding post laryngectomy care can ONLY be billed by a licensed DME provider?

 

A7501 Free Hands Starter Kit

A7502 Free Hands Membranes

A7503 Titanium Cap

A7507 HME Cassettes

A7508 Baseplates

A7520 Larytube

A7523 Shower Aid

A7524 Larybutton/Barton Button

A4456 Remove

A4364 Silicone Glue

A7526 Laryclip/tube holder

A4456 Provox cleaning towel

A9270 Free Hands cleaning and storage box

E1700 Therabite System

E1701 Therabite Bite pads

E1702 Therabite ROM scales

L8500 Electrolarynx

L8505 Trutone Hands Free

A5120 (AU) Skin Tac

L8507 Non Indwelling Style Prosthesis

L8510 Personal Amplifier (i.e boomvox, chattervox, sonivox etc)

L8511 plug

L8512 Gel caps (quantities of 10)

L8513 Brush

L8514 Dilator

L8515 Gel Cap Insertion System

L8499 Kapigel Spacer

Basically this means that all products and accessories associated with laryngectomy supplies (with the exception of L8509) can only be billed to medicare for reimbursement if your facility is a licensed DME provider.

 

 

 

 

 

To Cover or Not to Cover

Heat and Moisture Exchanger (HME) after Laryngectomy

 

Following laryngectomy individuals breathe through a tracheostomy site that opens through a stoma on their neck. Most place a heat and moisture exchanger (HME) or a filter over the stoma to filter the inhaled air and maintain warmth and humidity in the upper airways. The site of the covered stoma is prominent and laryngectomees face a choice whether to cover the HME or filter with a garment, scarf or jewelry or leave it uncovered. There are pros and cons for each choice.


Breathing may be easier without an additional cover that can interfere with air flow, while leaving the area exposed allows for easier access to the stoma for purpose of cleaning and maintenance. It also enables a rapid removal of the HME in case one needs to cough or sneeze, since the urge to cough or sneeze is often very sudden and if the HME is not taken out quickly it can become clogged with sputum.


Exposing the site provides an unspoken explanation for the weak and/or hoarse voice of many laryngectomees and encourages others to listen to them more attentively. It makes it easier for health providers to recognize the laryngectomees’ unique anatomy in case emergency respiratory ventilation is needed. If this condition is not rapidly recognized, ventilation may be administered through the mouth or nose rather than the stoma.


Openly displaying the covered stoma site also reveals the person’s medical history and the fact that he/she is probably a cancer survivor; head and neck cancer is the leading cause for laryngectomy. Many other cancer survivors in the general community cannot be easily identified by outward appearances.


Those who cover their stoma site often do it because they do not want others to be distracted or offended. They may also not want to expose anything that is disfiguring and want to be inconspicuous and appear as normal as possible. Covering the site may be more of an issue for women who are used to having many more fashion choices concerning whether or not they cover their neck area. Some individuals feel that being a laryngectomee is only a small part of who they are as a person, and they do not want to “advertise” it.


There are advantages and disadvantages to each option and, in the end, it is up to you..

Itzhak Brook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thankful


It is 3AM the morning after Thanksgiving and I am feeling thankful. Thankful is a lovely word and it expresses such a wonderful emotion. I like its humility and simplicity. There’s no guilt in thankful, unlike grateful, for example and there’s none of that smug pride, which is so loathsome and somehow always sneaks in with satisfaction. It is a good, honest, hardworking emotion and one I suspect our Puritan forebears earnestly felt that first Thanksgiving.


As I sit here, listening to the predicted sleet and icy rain chatter against my windows, and enjoying the warm glow of a fire, I am thankful for propane fireplaces which burn cleanly, efficiently and don’t produce either smoke or ashes. I am especially thankful for that right now because the reason I am up at 3AM is another asthma attack. However, I am also thankful for a new regimen of meds which seem to be helping to reduce the intensity of these scary episodes.


I am thankful that this time I am not making another 35 minute drive to the ER, dodging skunk and deer. The last midnight run tallied at least 3 skunks and 5 deer and I missed them all, but it was close! It was rainy and windy that night and this being Maine there were leaves swirling and all back roads with no street lights. I was abjectly thankful that night when I saw the lights at the entrance to the hospital.


I am thankful for the kind ER nurses and doctors who recognized my distress and gave me lots of good drugs, which relieved my breathing issues but left me shaking and trembling like a junkie. And as it turns out - there is a drug for that, too! Better living through pharmaceuticals and yet another reason to be thankful.


I am thankful for modern medicine, a warm house and reliable transportation. As I watch the news and look around me, I am thankful for clean drinking water and relatively clean elections. I am thankful for democracy, even if it is messy and unpredictable and the results aren’t always to my liking. I am thankful for the right to vote and to know that my vote counts.
I am thankful that my beautiful and smart little grand-daughter will be able to go to a good school and be whatever she wants when she grows up. I am thankful for a lovely local library with story time for toddlers even if she is still unclear on the concept of sitting still and listening rather than socializing.


I am thankful that my 80-something parents can still go to Florida, play golf and swim and enjoy being great grand-parents. I am thankful for four generations of family.


I am thankful for WebWhispers and the friendships it has forged.


But I am painfully aware that things change - sometimes in a flash. All can be lost in just a breath. I am thinking that the greatest sin might be complacency. So I am truly thankful right now for those connections which endure, family, friends and …. leftovers!

Turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce and stuffing on home-made rolls with pumpkin pie and ….I need a moment to be thankful, please. Oh, there’s cookies and cheesecake and spicy pecans….I am SO thankful!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Living is an Adventure



I love my library book club. These folks often provide ideas for this column without even knowing it. It happened again last week during a very stimulating discussion about a tender topic that I’m still pondering. It is the adventure we experience as we live each day. It is about the courage to face our fears, and take the risk to do ‘it’ anyway.

If you are a laryngectomee reading this, you have already chosen to survive. We know that some choose not to risk loss of voice and face the consequences. It is their right to choose to live or die. It is their call. My intention is not to preach to the choir, but to draw attention to quality of life issues that require ever more choices on our part. Change is the nature of life, isn’t it? We do our part to prepare. We may discover the need to develop new problem solving skills to handle new situations. We also have to field blatant lies, as well as the lies of omission when what we really need is objective information as we do our level best to cope with cancer and our own survival. A friend shared this quote with me yesterday, “An adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered”. True enough.


This book club meets once a month. A couple of the regular members are Jewish women; both well-educated world travelers. This month we discussed “The Good Earth” which we had chosen to read again since most of us hadn’t touched it since high school literature classes. We ended up talking about the cyclical nature of societies and major historical events such as the world wars and the holocaust. A few agreed that they would rather die than be put through the rigors of such an experience. One lady said, "Just lead to me the gas chamber immediately instead of the barracks". Another said, "If my lifestyle was interrupted by today's economy I'd rather die than be poor". My survivor’s practical nature was stunned. Hopefully we learn to accept circumstances as they are and find a way to improve them.


As I thought about this library book club discussion I had to kick myself a bit because I had a much better example of how some people react to immense threat to their well being. Laryngectomy and the rehabilitation that follows can be a maze of delays, disappointments and dead ends, or it can be made clear with repeated objective information and support. Some find they cannot even imagine that there could be more, beyond what they think they know already.


While visiting a brand new laryngectomee in the hospital with two other members after our local laryngectomee support group (before heading to my meeting at the library) I realized that this patient couldn’t fathom what was happening. His SLP had asked his permission to receive us as visitors. We three used EL, ES and TEP so he would have a fair sample of what is possible. His first question was, “Do you have vocal cords?” He was astonished to see we all had stomas. He already had a Servox with an intra oral adaptor sitting on his nightstand, but chose writing to communicate with us instead. His journey is just beginning.


We, who have survived laryngectomy and worked toward total rehabilitation, try to help others to move forward with their own rehabilitation quest instead of staying stuck in the safety of what is familiar. So often people say what we have achieved is inspiring. This has come from other laryngectomees as well as non-laryngectomees. Neither seemed able to imagine how much healing and training it takes to make the necessary progress required to get our lives level with where we were before surgery. We adjust and compensate where necessary. Looking backward makes as much sense as a skier traveling downhill taking time to look behind instead of ahead.


I've had at least two women close to me say to me after the surgery and rehabilitation, "It's good it happened to you instead of me because I don’t think I could have taken it". I never considered myself courageous or very daring. Probably merely a risk taker since I’ve had a habit all my life of praying, “Thy will be done…” That can lead to unexpected life changing adventure, or so I’ve found over time. If fact I have a vivid memory of following this prayer pre op with, “Well God, I wonder what this adventure is all about?”


While visiting with another friend when I began writing this article I was given these sage words to share with you, “Survivors are born, they are not made. Vision is just as clouded looking back as it is looking forward for those that are terrified of change”. She added, “Women like us have not completely explained ourselves to the world yet. That is why when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, ‘Oh crap! She’s up. Life is good.” And so it is, I find.


Elizabeth Finchem
 

 

 

 


 

The Well Dressed Laryngectomee

by Vicki Metz

 

When I became a laryngectomee, it was very nice that the hospital gave me a couple of crocheted "bibs", made by volunteers, to wear over my stoma. My mother took over crocheting these bibs for me. When I returned to work, I wore either a bib or a turtleneck top (long sleeve in the winter, short sleeve in the summer).

I joined our local support group but most of the members were men with just one or two other women, so I didn't get a lot of advice about clothing, nor did I ask for much. Then, ten years ago, I had my first "dress" crisis as a laryngectomee. I needed a mother-of-the-bride dress that would cover my sloping shoulder (due to a missing clavicle) and my stoma. I enlisted the help of women from WebWhispers. I said I'd make a high necked dress---WRONG---I was told the neck had to be BELOW the stoma in case I needed to cough and clear the stoma. The material of my dress would not be stretchy and pull out like a turtleneck sweater.

Someone then suggested that I wear a scarf to compliment the dress, but to cover the stoma. I argued that I wouldn't be able to breath with a scarf of a silky type of material. WW women told me to wear one of those foam covers under my scarf to prevent the scarf from sucking up into the stoma as I breathed. Problem solved.

With the help of others, including those wonderful WebWhispers women who responded, I made my dress and it was a success. The story of that time, with photos, was published in the November 2001 issue of the WW Journal. Click here to read and see it:

 

 

 

This was the prelude for my interest in fashion and neckwear and I looked forward to attending my first IAL in Schaumburg, IL in 2006. I wanted to see what laryngectomee women wore when they dressed up. I took pictures of men and women with nice neckware.

With two WebWhispers cruises and more pictures of our friends all dressed for the special occasions on shipboard, instructions from Donna McGary on shipboard on the way she wears scarves, I begin to gather more information. There are sites on the Internet showing how to tie and wear scarves.

I was ready when I presented a program for our support group meeting called the Well Dressed Laryngectomee, last month. I wore my lovely necklace made by a WW member, took scarves and lots of photos, some of the ones displayed below.

Even the guys in our group seemed impressed by some of my pictures and what they could possibly wear for a nice occasion.

 

Anne Reed DiAnna Miller Donna Kelm
     
Ed Chapman Elizabeth Finchem Kay Allison
     
Libby and John Fitzgerald Majella Best Vicki and Gary Metz
     
Marlene Haynes Mike Rosenkranz Vicki Metz

 

 

 

 


 

The Cameron Highlander

 

The onset of these darker evenings, and the thoughts of Christmas which is now only a few weeks away, remind me of those halcyon days of childhood which are so strong in my memory. I was seven and could only dream of wonderful presents. I knew that mum and dad could not afford what I so dearly wanted, that wooden fort in the toyshop window. For two years I had stood outside, just gazing at it, and those marvellous Scots soldiers in their kilts, red coats and white helmets lining the ramparts. The youngest of seven children, with very little money coming into the household, you soon realise that your own personal wants are not even mentioned, so I never told anyone of my heart’s desire.

Let me convey you to our darkened bedroom on the evening of that Christmas Day. My two brothers were asleep. I lay between them in our large bed, and being the youngest, I had to sleep at the opposite end between their feet. Charlie was always on my left, and with him being shorter than Alf, I could get a clear vision over the top of his covered feet, so I always slept on my left side. What a day it had been. I loved Christmas; it was always so exciting. And this had been one of the most thrilling days of my life, and as it was drawing to a close, we had been sent to bed.

I lay there, looking over Charlie's covered feet, at the faint glow at the window which was coming from the gas lamp outside. Even Jack Frost knew it was Christmas. He had made his own decorations on the inside of the glass window panes, as our breath froze into the most wonderful shapes. They were like sparkling diamonds, and I wondered what part of that pattern was my own frozen breath, and if it was forming those intricate close knit patterns because we were brothers.

Before falling asleep, Charlie had blown out our candle, but I could still see my present in the faint glow from the window. It was the wooden fort, with its ramparts lined with those Scottish soldiers. I could not believe it when I had been given it earlier that day. I used to stand outside that toyshop for such long periods just gazing in, that nearby stall holders, wearing mistletoe in their woollen hats, and faces glowing from their acetylene lamps, would nudge each other, and say to me, " You'll get it if you’re a good boy".

Well I was good, or so I thought, but would miserably say to myself, ' I can't even tell them what I want.' The man from the toy shop came out and spoke to me on a few occasions, and I asked him what regiment it was, and after peering in, he said, " Why, they’re the Camerons, a Scottish Regiment and they’re fighting in a country called Afghanistan right now."

My sister Kit had read us several stories written by a man called Kipling, and one story was about those Afghans sweeping down the Khyber Pass to ravage and ransack India, and they had been doing this for hundreds of years. As he spoke, I was with that regiment marching up the pass, kilts swirling, bagpipes playing, returning the fire from the mountainsides.

When Dad had carried that fort into the parlour with the soldiers lining the walls, I could not believe my eyes. They were the Camerons. I was so filled with emotion that I felt tears coming into my eyes, but brushed them away, knowing that boys don't cry like girls, but wondered how on earth did they know what I had wanted. Mum said, " The shopkeeper told us what you wanted, and how you had been so good for business just gazing in. He sent you these as a present." She produced another box with a further 12 Camerons inside.

Dad said, " There was this one who had a leg broken in the shop, and was going to be thrown away. I told the shopkeeper that you might like him." As I took this one, the one with the leg missing, I realised that here was a hero. He had lost his leg fighting those Afghans. I looked at my fort in the faint light and there he was, in a position of honour standing to attention in the uppermost tower.

British troops are still fighting those Afghans all these years later, and now they have their American colleagues with greater fire power to stand beside them.

It was the following summer, the exact circumstances elude me, but during a visit to our home by some relation, I was given a whole sixpence to spend, and I went to the market to buy something I had long coveted. As I crossed the road to enter the market, I saw a man sitting on the pavement with his back resting against the wall. A crutch leant against the wall beside him.


The poor man only had one leg, which was stretched out in front of him, and beside it a soldier’s Glengarry cap which had a few coins in it. The poor man was begging.

As I was passing, he picked up the cap to take out the few coins, and I saw the most beautiful silver badge on it. I read the word Camerons. I put my sixpence in his cap.

 

 

 

 


 

My First Year as a Laryngectomy - Part Two

 

Post-laryngectomy

 

I finally awoke in the recovery room about 11PM. That was about 15 hours from the start of the surgery. My wife was there to greet me. I think I had a hundred tubes coming out of my body – at least it felt that way. I learned pretty fast that all I had to do was snap my fingers to get a response from those around me. I was scared and I think I over did the snapping thing.

I was in and out of my stupor and finally I was taken to my room. I am not sure exactly when that was but remember getting suctioned, it seemed every few minutes. The protocol was to have a private nurse the first day. The entire day was a blur and seemed to drag on forever. That floor in the hospital was for head and neck surgery, so the nurses and staff were well familiar with the procedures. They knew if I used the buzzer they had to come to find out what was wrong, not just ask over the intercom what I wanted.

It was a teaching hospital, so every day at 5PM the surgeon would visit with his residents and nurse practitioners. They would come and evaluate how I was doing and ask questions about how I was. The first few days I did not know how I was, still kind of groggy from the drugs. The surgeon was two years older than me and it turned out we both went to the same high school.

Every morning the nurse practitioner would visit me to answer any questions I had and every morning I had a list of questions – at least ten a day. All my questions were answered along with ones I did not even think of. The second day I got a visit from the speech therapist who brought me an EL to use. My doctor was on the conservative side and would not do a puncture for at least a year. At that time (21 years ago) the only prosthesis was one that you had to take out and clean every day.

Maryann worked and visited daily – I could see her stress from working all day and then traveling to the hospital after work to visit. Meds and liquids were given through the nose tube. After a week they agreed to give me apple juice through the nose tube, didn’t taste it but it made me feel better. I also had a metal trach that had to be cleaned 3 to 4 times a day.

My daughter and her friend came to visit one day and, as a joke, brought me one of those party things that you blow into and it unrolls. Just put it on my stoma and used it – we all had a laugh about it. Next day when the surgeon came in on rounds with his entourage, I put it on my stoma and blew it. The residents did not know how to react but the surgeon started laughing.

After a week they started testing for any fistulas. I had to drink some water laced with methylene blue and they would check for leaks going to my lungs. Failed the test 3 times before I was able to drink with no leaks. Now I could start eating and drinking and, best of all, go home. I finally was released on Valentine’s day (I was my wife’s Valentine present and going home was mine).

My cousin’s daughter had been a part time nurse on the head and neck floor until she had a baby. She came to visit the first week I was home. Had just started coughing violently when I had a drink. She checked it out and made a call to the surgeon telling him I now had an open fistula. Made an appointment for me to go back and see the surgeon the next day.

The "wonderful" news – the nose tube went back in and I was off drinking and eating until it healed. Food was a liquid protein and drink was anything I could get through the tube. Medicines that were not available in liquid form had to be crushed, mixed with water, and then taken through the nose tube. I had to see the doctor three times a week to check the healing process. After my wife took me for the first week, she said it was time for me to be independent and drive myself. I was angry at the time, but looking back it was the best thing for me. It was a 40-mile drive each way and Wintertime in the Northeast. What if I had a car problem? What if I got stuck in the snow? What if the police stopped me? Solution – I made up signs and stuck them on various places on the inside of the car telling I could not talk, I was a neck breather, Surgeon’s phone number, wife’s work phone. Also packed liquid food, meds, and water to use with my nose tube if I got stuck somewhere.

One day I got a notice from the bank that our CD was due to be renewed. Next day I got in the car and drove to the bank – nose tube and Electro-larynx. I walked in and must have been a scary sight because I was ushered into a bank officer’s office to complete the transaction. Talked with the electro-larynx and when I was not understood I wrote out what I wanted to say. I felt good because I was able to get my business done.

After a month of going to see the surgeon and the fistula not healing and him telling me it did not close, I started to get more and more upset. He would tell me that it would heal and not to worry. At my low point, I was told it had completely healed over a weekend. Out with the nose tube and told to start eating bland soft food and liquids. Never thought I would get excited to be eating what I called baby food.

My supervisor from work would come and visit every few weeks to see how I was doing and told me he had been talking to my co-workers about my progress and was told that I would be returning as a robot. We laughed and I felt things were getting better. After three months, the surgeon cleared me to return to work, still not sure how it would work out and how I would be accepted.

 

Len Librizzi, webmaster
 

 

 

Welcome To Our New Members:

 

I would like to extend a "Warm Welcome" to our most recently accepted laryngectomees, caregivers, vendors, and professionals who have joined our WebWhispers community within this past month. There is a great wealth of knowledge and information to be accessed and obtained from our website, email lists, and newsletters. If ever there should be questions, concerns or suggestions, please feel free to submit them to us from the "Contacts" page of our website.

 

Thanks and best wishes to all,

 

Michael Csapo

VP Internet Activities

WebWhispers, Inc.

 
 

We welcome the 32 new members who joined us during November 2010:

 

Judi Adwell
Arlington, TX
Helen Bean - (Caregiver)
Charleston, WV
Jim Brown
United Kingdom
     
Marian Cure
Tool, TX
James (Duce) Dirnberger
St. Louis, MO
Melanie Dorn - (SLP)
Falls Church, VA
     
Ron Doyle
Toronto, Canada
Mandi Ellis - (Caregiver)
Arlington, TX
Angie Erickson
San Antonio, TX
     
Ronald Freni
Reading, MA
Annmarie Giordano - (Caregiver)
Melrose, MA
Sal Gomez
Henderson, NV
     
Valerie Hughes - (Caregiver)
Ramey, PA
Rick Hutchinson
Port Orange, FL
Colonel Jack Kelly
Encinitas, CA
     
Marilyn Kirvin
Portland, OR
Steve Lamis
Scottsdale, AZ
Weezie Mack
Luray, VA
     
Michelle Maheux - (Caregiver)
Belle River, CAN
Brenda McNamee
Waldorf, MD
Ann Morrison - (Caregiver)
Munising, MI
     
Tim Morrison
Munising, MI
Maurice Netti
Delray Beach, FL
Bill Oliver
Panama City, FL
     
Peter Powell
New York City, NY
Nick Proc
Alberta, CAN
Jesse Shockley
Kansas City, KS
     
Salma Khoury-Shoufani - (SLP)
Israel
David Sorg
San Francisco, CA
Bella Spooner
Nelson, New Zealand
     
Jeremy Taylor
Norfolk, VA
George Warholic Jr.
Houtzdale, PA
 

 

 

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