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Gloria's Surgery Saga
By Gloria Diaz
Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!
Fort Wayne Reader
Since all three of you are breathlessly awaiting my surgery saga, I’ll say right off the bat there were no complications. Everything went as planned. The REAL drama happened the day before the surgery.
The hospital where I was having my procedure done, let’s call it “Blue Font,” called the Friday before surgery. I got the message after business hours. I figured I’d call on Monday. I thought it would be the usual instructions: don’t eat before surgery, bring an overnight bag, have someone drive you home. Stupidly, I didn’t think of taking the day off work the day before my procedure. I called the woman from Blue Font who had left the message. Instead of instructions, I got a warning: I might not be covered for the procedure that was taking place in LESS THAN 24 HOURS.
Oh. My. God. Bastards, I thought. This is just a ploy to give me a heart attack, so they can squeeze more money out of me. Apparently, since there aren’t enough people working at insurance companies, it’s up to YOU to make sure everything is kosher. I called the office of the doctor who was doing the procedure, and they informed me that no, I wasn’t having anything that required pre-certification. So I called my insurance company back and said the reason I wasn’t pre-certified is because it wasn’t required.
Then I called Blue Font back.
“Did you inquire about the pre-existing condition clause?” the woman from Blue Font asked. My heart sinking, I said no and said I’d call her back. Because I hadn’t seen my gynecologist in all of 2008, and since I’d only seen my family doctor for my pneumonia in March of 2008, I didn’t have any pre-existing conditions. However, if I’d scheduled my surgery just two days later, I wouldn’t have had to make this phone call. The pre-existing condition clause only had two more days before it was no longer in effect. But, since I hadn’t seen any doctor for any reason three months prior to my insurance kicking in (which it did on November 2, 2008) there wasn’t any pre-existing stuff to worry about.
Because of all the calls I had to make, I had to call work and say I would be late. I spent the rest of the day rattled.
The next morning, I got to the hospital on time. I got into an argument with the anesthesiologist, who asked why I wanted an epidural. “Because, the term ‘conscious sedation’ just doesn’t sound good to me,” I retorted. “I was given a choice, and this is what I chose.”
“Is the doctor performing your procedure an anesthesiologist?” he asked. This guy was sounding more and more like my brother, which isn’t a good thing. You don’t really want to argue with the guy who is supposed to put you under, but I really, really didn’t want to be awake during this procedure. Later on, when I spoke with the surgeon, it turned out my choice was a good one. I am allergic to something called Versed, and will probably always throw up after surgery. My epidural took a while to wear off, but by next day I could get out of bed. And that’s when they took the catheter out. Being able to urinate in bed without messing anything up is kinda cool.
While waiting to go home, I surfed the ‘net in my private room (all patient rooms are private in Blue Font hospital). The cafeteria is also open 24/7, which is great, considering I didn’t feel hungry until around 11 p.m. I ordered an orange Minute Maid popsicle (probably costing $5, considering my hospital bill) but sadly, I barfed that up too.
I then spent a fairly restful couple of weeks at home, reading, going online, and watching movies. So far, I don’t think my tumor has shrunk. I keep measuring myself, but my waste measurement is the same. I called the doctor’s office, and they said it would take three to six months for me to see or feel any difference.
I am grateful I have health insurance, and that I was able to address this issue after so many years, but for those who think health care should only be available to those who can pay for it, well, maybe you’ll get cancer, and you’ll change your minds. I was “covered” but not entirely. And now I know who’s going to get the money I earn from my second job. And everything else will have to wait.
My final bill? Over $27,000. And that’s when I had my heart attack.