About a year and a half ago Larry, the man that services my bed and wheelchair, informed my mom and me that the manufacturer of my special air bed was no longer making new replacement parts for the model of air mattress that I use. At that point I knew my bed’s days were numbered, but I had a few spare parts in reserve, so I was able to squeeze an extra year and a half of life out of my bed. I knew that it was truly the end of the road for my bed at the end of July when it was clear that there was another leak in one of the mattress' components. I knew it was time to start looking for a new one.
Unfortunately, what insurances will and won’t cover has really changed for the worse in the past decade since I got my bed after my accident. Long story short, the only mattress my insurance (all three of them) will cover is either a $300 foam mattress or a $300 gel overlay (to go on a regular mattress). Neither option is sufficient for someone who can’t move and can’t shift their weight around. My doctor wrote the mandatory letter of medical necessity explaining why it’s so crucial for someone completely paralyzed to have a special mattress... NOT that it did any good. The insurance company said that I didn’t qualify for anything more than the $300 foam mattress or gel overlay.
The only way someone qualifies for the kind of mattress like I had previously is if they already have multiple bedsores. Why not try to PREVENT pressure sores in the first place?! It’s healthier for the patient and much more cost-effective for the insurance company in the long run. But that’s unfortunately not the way the health care system works these days. (And just for the record, if you did have bedsores and did qualify for a special air mattress, the insurance company will only pay for it while you have bedsores. Once they have healed up they will come take the air mattress away and you’ll be stuck with the $300 foam mattress. Don’t worry… chances are your bedsores will be back in no time. :/ It's really ludicrous, but that's sadly the way things are.)
So, since the insurance was really no help, we decided to find an air mattress and pay out of pocket. My mom started researching air mattresses on the Internet. It’s really hard to know exactly what different mattresses are actually going to feel like, since it’s not like I can go to a furniture store and test them out. Buying blindly just based off of a short description and small picture really doesn't set your mind at ease! However, my mom found a local vendor here in the St. Louis area that sold the mattress we found online that we thought would work well for my situation. My mom talked to them on the phone and she found out that this company would also deliver the mattress, set it up and service it in the future if/when we should have any problems with it. This company also sold the mattress we liked for almost a third of the price that another local vendor quoted us, which was great. AND it’s also under warranty for five years. My mom and I both felt good about all of this so we decided to order it.
Thankfully my old mattress hung in there until my new one arrived. I couldn't utilize all the bells and whistles that I once could, but it still inflated enough to keep me comfortable. A nice man came and set up my new mattress last Thursday and explained some of the features to my mom and me. The new mattress definitely feels different than the previous one, so it’s taken some getting used to. There are some things I like better about this new mattress and some things I like better about the old one, but I think it will suit my needs just fine. I'd feared that I would be stuck with a mattress I hated, so I'm relieved that that's not the case.
Here's a picture of what the new air mattress (SelectAir Max made by MOXI) looks like. It fit perfectly on the bed frame that I used with my other air mattress.