A key piece of DS's medical equipment is kaput. I've mentioned before (as have Kim and Mysti!) how costly it can be to be chronically ill. Our home is overrun with equipment - both true medical pieces as well as those needed for daily living. This particular item is referred to as a cough assist machine - and that's exactly what it does. It simulates the cough that DS is unable to produce himself, thus helping to keep his lungs clear. We bought this machine when he was a toddler in the mid-'90s. Back then, it was in its infancy and insurers balked at chipping in toward the cost. This was especially true for DS, whose illness is considered terminal and so the insurers figured why pay for something that wouldn't do any good in the long run. So we shelled out nearly $15,000 that we did not have and bought him the machine that his doctors said he had to have.
I figure 16 years is a pretty good run for a complicated machine to last. And so tomorrow, we will head to the hospital and see his specialist and have him start the ball rolling to get a replacement. Thankfully, time has proven the effectiveness of the cough assist and insurers these days accept it as necessary. The cost of the machine itself is less, too. We will still owe a chunk, but are optimistic that it won't be nearly what it was back in the days of the dinosaur.