Cogito ergo cathedra... (I think, therefore IBOT...)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/10/23 03:01 -04:00, original URI:

Now ordinarily I would apologize to René Descartes for appropriating and re-purposing his quote, but he was not, in the end, all that fond of the particular phrasing of the idea, so....

I have talked about Dean Kamen's IBOT several times in the past, like in 'It's an iBOT,' I would say. 'Yes you bought it, but what is it?' she would answer.

And then back in the beginning of the year in NOT MEDICALLY NECESSARY per, by their own description, non-medical people, I talked about my fledgling first attempt to get an IBOT. after it became clear that this was not just a luxury item -- this was something that many people who are currently in powered wheelchairs or scooters really ought to be allowed to consider.

The news?

Well, as of today, a mere 10 months after the initial denial, I now have an IBOT!

Just got it today after being approved in a pass/fail test of my driving ability. Reminded me of that bit from the movie Sahara:

Rudi: I'm going with you guys, right?
Dirk: No, you gotta tell Sandecker.
Rudi: Hold on, how do I cross the border? I never took survival training.
Dirk: Consider this your course, Rudi.
Al: Kinda pass/fail, which I always thought was easier.

Anyway, I passed (luckily enough!).

Getting back to insurance company adventures, it only had to go through one appeal, which means it was decided at the Premera Blue Cross level (with no help or review by Microsoft, though the fact that it was a Microsoft account might have had some influence, a theory about which I have no supporting data).

The language of the approval letter made it very clear what was on their mind. I won't quote it here except to say that they wanted to make it clear that this was not to be a precedent that could be used to obtain future approvals for others who needed an IBOT -- the focus was on the unique facts reviewed in the course of the appeal.

Fair enough.

But did you ever see the movie The Shawshank Redemption? In particular, this scene:

ANDY: What is all this?
HADLEY: You tell me, fuck-stick! They're addressed to you, every damn one!
{Wiley thrusts an envelope at Andy. Andy just stares at it.}
WILEY: Well, take it.
{Andy takes the envelope, pulls out a letter}
ANDY {reading}: "Dear Mr. Dufresne. In response to your repeated inquiries, the State Senate has allocated the enclosed funds for your library project... "
{stunned, examines check}
ANDY: This is two hundred dollars.
{Wiley grins. Hadley glares at him. The grin vanishes.}
ANDY {reading}: In addition, the Library District has generously responded with a charitable donation of used books and sundries. We trust this will fill your needs. We now consider the matter closed. Please stop sending us letters. Yours truly, the State Comptroller's Office.
{Andy gazes around at the boxes. The riches of the world lay at his feet. His eyes mist with emotion at the sight.}
HADLEY: I want all this cleared out before the warden gets back, I shit you not.
{Hadley exits. Andy touches the boxes like a love-struck man touching a beautiful woman. Wiley grins.}
WILEY: Good for you, Andy.
ANDY: Only took six years.
ANDY: From now on, I send two letters a week instead of one.
{Wiley laughs, shakes his head}

So if there are people out there who are in the same situation vis-a-vis Blue Cross and an IBOT denial, the folks at Independence Technology (the subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson that produces the IBOT) now have more information on the cases that may have a better basis for an appeal.

There are other insurance company plans (e,g, Aetna's) that specifically disallow the IBOT as a matter of policy, which is eerily ironic since employees of Independence Technology are actually covered by Aetna. I wonder how they would choose to word THAT denial, and how they turn around and justify the policy to the company that makes the units.

Talk about your very sensitive communications!

Though luckily, if an employee there should actually need one -- not an unreasonable supposition when one considers how medical "miracles" can sometimes tend inspire people to work for the companies that provide them! -- Independence Technology will self-insure for the unit. Insurance company policy be damned! :-)

But anyway, I have an IBOT now.

If you a serf or a Seattle barnights/anti-freeze/chess night/karaoke/relative-o-mine type, you may even see it at some point. I can't give rides to anyone who weighs more than 100 pounds or who is uncomfortable sitting on my lap, but there are rules about people who have never taken the training, sorry....


This post brought to you by (U+267f, a.k.a. WHEELCHAIR SYMBOL)

# sam i am on 23 Oct 2008 1:35 PM:

congrats mon amour!

do i get a ride? i am only a bit over 100 pounds.

# Andrea on 24 Oct 2008 7:51 AM:

I am over 100 pounds but you should be able to make an exception the next time we're in the same place. Right?

# Dale on 24 Oct 2008 6:13 PM:


With three redundant computers, you just know one deserves to be hacked :-)

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referenced by

2012/06/21 Court stomps on NetFlix's disability argument (aka It Is The Best Of Times...)

2010/11/26 They refer to the quality of existing, not the quality of living (or the quality of gaming)

2010/03/21 My thoughts on the health care thing (given my life, my multiple sclerosis, and my iBot)

2008/10/28 From I SCOOT to IBOT, #1 of ??

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