Monday, March 24, 2014

FAQ's on Michigan's Auto No-Fault Law

Lane and I had the chance to go back to Grand Rapids today. As we got closer we were reminded of a few of the many reasons we are glad to be out of that city. The closer we got the temps dropped and the snow increased:) Yes, we miss the people but not the lake effect weather!

Lane's sleep has continued to be really limited so our first stop today was a consult with a sleep doctor. We had to wait several weeks for this appointment so we were thrilled when the scheduler said he could come in for an April 4th sleep study. Based on Lane's ENT a couple weeks back we know its not an upper airway/breathing problem that's causing him to lose sleep. They've narrowed it down to the possibility of a med (that he's tapering off) or his decreased diaphragm strength, thus needing assistance in the lower airway throughout the night (a BIPAP could assist this). We are praying that the sleep study coming up will give us some definitive answers. The sleep doctor we saw today was also a pulmonologist, and scheduled a pulmonary function test in April to assess his lung function/capability.

Our second stop was a CPAN conference in GR. CPAN is the Coalition Protecting Auto No Fault, an organization that we've found to be incredibly helpful in learning all that is going on with Michigan's recent auto no fault bills. We left with SO much information and are looking forward to addressing some specific things with the legislators in our area, as well as informing friends and family with what they can be doing. Unfortunately we found out the Republican party is the side that is voting most hugely against Michigan's auto no fault. We'd like to encourage YOU to research it more via the CPAN website and read stories of how Michigan's auto no fault has effected thousands. A couple specific FAQ's:

1. Is Michigan's auto insurance so high because of auto no fault?
NO. This is what auto insurance companies may try to tell you but its because Michigan policy holders pay the most in the country for collision coverage (nearly 30% above the national average).

2. So what if the auto no fault is capped at 10 Million (House Bill 4612)? Why "unlimited access" for no fault? A better way to look at this is lifetime injury care. If someone did not need this care they would not need the unlimited access. If the auto no fault law is capped thousands of the most severely injured will be forced to turn to Medicaid to pay for their care. And where would that come from? Taxpayers. You and I.  A recent study done by Public Sector Consultant found that taxpayers could be charged an additional 30 million in Medicaid costs every year if benefits were capped. For example, in Colorado lawmakers eliminated auto no fault and the Medicaid budget skyrocketed more than 205% in less than 5 years! This site has more info on the recently proposed bill and all that it would entail if passed:  http://autonofaultlaw.com/michigan-auto-no-fault-reform-hb-4612

3. With Michigan's auto no fault aren't people basically paying twice for health insurance?
None of us know when a serious injury of any kind could take place via an auto accident. Lane or I sure didn't expect this 7 months into our marriage. These serious accidents are what Michigan's auto no fault is for. Many health policies exclude auto accident coverage and limit skilled nursing care to 45 days a year. This would've been about one tenth of what Lane required.  On top of this, most health insurance plans only cover a combination of 60 visits per YEAR for PT, OT and Speech therapies.

4. Why is Michigan the only state with this type of auto insurance?
Unfortunately because of this in many other states families have had to file bankruptcy before Medicaid will pay for their injuries. And the nursing homes have young people surrounded by seniors in order for their family to afford this care. Michigan should ultimately be a model system. Our auto insurance is for drivers and funded by drivers, not other taxpayers.

Just a few answers to the questions we have wondered and have been asked. Please join us in supporting Michigan's Auto No Fault and talking with your legislator about the importance of this system. Or check out http://www.cpan.us/michigan_no_fault_system.php

Thanks for your prayers and continued support!

Lane and Emily

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lane's Voice Update.

Today we went to see an ENT specialist in Detroit. Lane's breath support and vocal quality has been significantly diminished since the injury, so this was something we wanted to investigate. The Otolaryngologist took a video of his vocal chords/ trachea and discovered NO abnormalities! He said it's what non injured vocal chords should look like and was not worried about any obstruction, scar tissue, or collapsing of the trachea because Lane is having no trouble with his normal breathing (or noise). This has left us with one more possibility ruled out, which we are grateful for. The specialist today was pretty certain it has to do with a weak diaphragm (which we had thought because of what improves his voice), so he referred Lane to a Speech therapist that specializes in voice as well as a pulmonologist.

Please pray with us as we look into this and find specific specialists to help Lane in this area. Lane has so much wisdom and so much to say. If you've met him, you know this. When he has to repeat himself several times for those that are listening its discouraging, understandably. Pray for peace, and that we'd find ways to strengthen his vocal volume. It may seem insignificant compared to everything else that has gone on, but I miss singing (belting:) our voices hoarse as we drove down the road...or hearing him sing in the shower...or simply singing songs of worship together. Thankful that his trachea/vocal chords are not what's causing this difficulty.

 The Doctor left us with tremendously happy hearts as he spoke these 7 simple words today.

"Lane, we'll get your voice back again."

Monday, March 3, 2014

Transition (written by Lane)

Well, we no longer live in a hospital or even an inpatient rehab facility. We’re on our own at last, after fourteen incredibly trying months of near-constant supervision, intensive all-day therapy, and institutionalized food. Alone at last, and in a place of our own for the first time since we got married, really. Yet we’re still every day faced with the reality of my injury. There’s an awful lot I want to do, but can’t still. And now I can’t help but remember back to last year when I just knew I would victoriously walk out the doors of Mary Free Bed (the rehab hospital I was at for almost 8 ½ months) carrying my bride in my arms. Then when that didn’t happen, I decided it would be Hope Network where I’d learn to walk again. And now here we are, out of Hope, Free Bed, and any inpatient facilities at all. In our own apartment and I’m still wheelchair-bound with limited arm/hand movement and a largely weak and monotone voice. Emily and I have been experiencing a practically innumerable amount of physical transitions the past fourteen months, which have all been exciting, but we’ve also been experiencing a great deal of spiritual growth, which I think is far more exciting. I suppose I could use the word “transitions” again, but this time in regards to thinking. Because with each big physical transition has also come a significant mental one. As I mentioned, last summer I was just convinced I’d be healed before the year’s end. So much so that I couldn't stand the thought of this injury taking more than a few months to heal. I couldn't bear hearing stories of people with TBis who were five, eight, ten or even thirty years out from their initial traumas and still weren’t totally back to the way they had been pre-injury. In fact, that thought bothered me so much that I would cringe whenever it was brought up. But over time, I’ve become convinced through the undeniable evidence that this is most likely going to be the case for me as well. And over time, I’ve become convinced through God’s objectively true Word that this likelihood is quite alright.  There’s a whole mess of truth in the Bible to convince me of this. For starters, there’s James 1:2-4, which basically tells Christians to think of difficult situations with joy because the trying and testing of our faith produces patience/endurance. And as Christians allow patience to work in our lives, it matures us(I realize the version in that link says "make you perfect", but the Greek  translated "perfect" essentially means "mature"). So based on that passage, I know and am fully confident that, if I allow Him, God’s going to use this trial/test in my life (for however long He desires) to mature me and make me more like Christ Himself! A similar truth is found in Romans 5:1-4. Essentially, Paul is saying here that one of the extraordinary benefits of entering into a personal relationship with God through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone is that when you do, you not only have objective peace with God, you can also rejoice in suffering! What a paradox this is, joy in trials, rejoicing in suffering. Yet it’s objectively true, and one of the countless things in the Christian life that literally are only possible through Christ (Philippians 4:13). So, this post more or less sums up the mental transition Em and I’ve been going through this year. Not because we’re great people or super-Christians, but simply because we know God intimately through His Son Jesus Christ, and believe all His words are true regardless of our earthly circumstances.