“I thought I was 10 feet tall and bullet proof.”
Eddie, 57, is a double amputee above the knee. Diagnosed with diabetes in 2001, the former boxer and security guard from Beech Grove, Ind., thought he could beat the disease on his own strength.
“I didn’t follow my doctor’s orders, so the diabetes got out of control, and I ended up losing both legs,” he said.
To date, he has been through seven amputations and recently spent 28 months in a nursing home, receiving assistance with wound care, bathing, dressing and transfers from his wheelchair. He has a history of falls and depression.
“I can’t give up,” Eddie said. “I want to get my life back.”
One of the first challenges Eddie faced before leaving the nursing facility, however, was to apply for the Medicaid Waiver. A second challenge was that he no longer had any household possessions.
“If a person can’t go back home, where do they live?” asked CICOA care manager Susan Wirthwein. “Typically, they no longer have a home or any household furnishings. And then there is the issue of care. To be on the Waiver, you have to meet nursing level of care. But there are ways to get the same help out in the community,” she said.
Eddie met the criteria for the Waiver and used it to move into assisted living.To help with the move, Wirthwein requested Community Transition Funds, which provided $1,500 to furnish Eddie’s apartment with some basic household items: a bed, a dresser, a table and chairs, a microwave, some dishes and utensils, sheets and towels.
A third challenge for Eddie involves learning to walk again. He has new prosthetics and has started rehabilitation. Ultimately, his goal is to live independently.
“I’ve got the determination to do it, so I’ve got to take that shot,” he said.
“CICOA has made my life very good,” Eddie said. “Independence means a lot to me. I still have some fears to overcome. But I can manage my own medicine, manage my sugars, and I lift weights, so I have the upper body strength to take care of my own physical needs.”
“That’s what good case management can do,” said Wirthwein. “It’s fine tuning of—not necessarily services—but the way a person accesses those services to reach their own goals, and that’s different for every person.”