A Tribute to Kaiser Permanente

01 Nov


That sums it up pretty neatly.

After I stopped eating wheat I eventually cut back on all carbs that come from grain, and I dropped my sugar comsumption dramatically. I lost 35 pounds, I started to work out and actually gain muscle mass (something I had never been able to do before) and in general became a much happier person.

Somewhere in there I injured my right shoulder; I don’t know how – perhaps it was while exercising or perhaps not, and I suppose it doesn’t matter to anybody but me anyway. But the result was that I had to stop working out, which I did as I waited for it to get better.

It didn’t.

Finally I went to see the doctor, but understand that my new insurance plan was with Kaiser Permanante, and I experienced what seems to be fairly typical Kaiser service, ie., not very good. The doctor listened to me and thought I should see their physical therapist, the one who specialized in shoulders, and since I had experience with this kind of thing already from going through rotator cuff surgery on the other shoulder a decade earlier I thought it was good advice. Therapists are usually much better at diagnosing things like this than office-based GPs.

The therapist, whose sessions were not covered under our deductable, gave me some simple rotator cuff exercises and said “try these and we’ll see”. This went on for several sessions but there was no improvement at all; in fact, the problem was getting worse. Round One to me, I guess. Since I had had to get fairly vocal about wanting an MRI the previous time I had a shoulder issue and the MRI showed the tear in the rotator cuff right away I was able to stand my ground and insist on another one. Well, Round Two for Kaiser – they said there was nothing like that in the shoulder and decided that what I had was tendinitis. The doctor said that the only thing she could offer was a steroid injection, which I declined as it would help the symptoms and not the cause…if it even worked at all.

So I waited, and waited…and waited. Unable to work out, unable to do do things like tuck my shirt in behind my back, throw a ball or frisbee for my dogs, unable to even rest my right hand on the mousepad for more than about ten minutes before the shoulder started to complain. I started to gain weight as I lost strength – in six months I gained six pounds, and all in all I was without the full use of my right arm for almost fifteen months.

The reason it got better, to make a long story short, is that I started going to a specialized therapy center here in town where all the therapists have graduate level degrees and there is a much, much more personal level of involvement on their part. The cost was the same as at Kaiser; my insurance didn’t cover them, but it hadn’t covered therapy at Kaiser either, though eventually I would have run up to the deductable limit – however, I wasn’t even close to getting there yet. I have nothing but praise for Bryan at Life’s Work Physical Therapy, because the exercises he gave me worked. In fact, they worked so well that I was able to stop going after only about a month’s worth of visits, twice a week at first, then once.

That picture was taken before I was completely done with the therapy but it shows me drawing a light weight traditional bow for the first time since this began. I can’t tell you how happy it made me to be able to do that!

Round Three was certainly not in Kaiser’s favor.

The image at the top was taken a couple of weeks later – by that time I could throw a ball again, and other things as well. My dogs were as happy as I was.

As a sidenote to all of this, this summer my wife fell off a ladder and was concussed, requiring a trip to the emergency room at Kaiser. This was her first experience with KP, too. While we really couldn’t fault the service she got I was fascinated to learn that the cost of the visit totalled out just under what her deductable was. Now, if it had been more, I would have felt differently but it did seem convenient. Oh well, probably a coincidence, I’m sure you’re right.

As a thank you to my therapist I made up the following image:


And while I’m on a roll:



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Posted by on November 1, 2013 in Corporations, Health


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