Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I've not been feeling well most of the day. Just real tired and achy and a little queasy. Tonya came this morning and helped me with Jackson today, cause I just felt so crappy. So I got to take a couple of good naps and she drove me to get my blood drawn this afternoon. I started feeling a bit better around 4ish, and Tonya and I got to talking. We decided that I probably have a little virus, a stomach bug or something, and this is not simply chemo side effects. Jackson had 4 suspect diapers today and that kind of made us think that he and I are just fighting a virus. Which actually made me feel better. I can kick a virus. You just have to live with a side effect. And it has been over a week since chemo. I should be feeling better not worse, so we decided I have a bug and will be better tomorrow. I have proclaimed it and so it shall be.

Tomorrow we have an appt with my Oncologist to look at the results of all the testing we've done and discuss what the treatment plan will look like. We'll finally be getting some of the numbers people find so important. Like what stage of Lymphoma I have. I have tried not to think too much about it and have kept myself from doing too much Googling about it. I don't want to put all my hopes into a number. Whatever the number is, I will take it and research it and go from there. Of course I hope for a low number - stage 1 is better than stage 4 - but I can't control it. It is what it is. So I have not been too focused on it. Till now. Now that we get the number tomorrow, I feel a little nervous. Anticipatory. Scared.

But it doesn't matter. If it is stage 2, I'll beat it. If it is stage 4, I'll beat it. I can't get caught up in the numbers. I keep saying that, but here I am still typing away about the numbers, the numbers. I'll stop now.

Good news in my Mom's world. She decided to apply for a weekend shift in the ER so she would be off every Monday thru Thursday and work every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. She decided that she wanted to be available to help me during the week and it took a load off her shoulders to simply change shifts this way. I feel a little guilty about her changing her life so much for me, but the change is inevitable. Her daughter has cancer and she is a nurse. She would be unhappy and stressed if she weren't able to be physically with me when I need her to be. The cool thing is that when she applied for the weekend position, they offered her the Charge Nurse job for that shift. So she asked for a shift change and got a raise and promotion. And she will be able to help me during the week.

I don't know how other people go through this kind of thing without their own private nurse like I have. Simply having my RN Mother with me thru procedures to decode what people are saying and help me make decisions has been so important. When I imagine what other people have to put up with and the obstacle course they have to run to get care, I feel so damned lucky. Knowing who and what we know because of my Mother got me from diagnosis to treatment in less than a week. If it wasn't for her I would be weeks behind in this process still trying to get all the testing done and gathered. Instead we forge ahead cutting as much red tape as we can. It is some consolation to this madness. Knowing the right people has definitely helped.

The bills are starting to come in. I am continually flabbergasted by the way in which we Americans do health care. It is the most absurdly unfair system I can imagine. We got the bill from my initial ER visit. $6487.71 was the charge for the 6 hour visit. My portion to pay is $400.80. "Wow", you say. "How nice that your insurance is covering so much. Isn't life grand?" But I would caution you to look closer at the bill. The hospital billed Aetna $6487.71. Aetna "per contractual agreement" paid $103.20. $300 is my deductible and the $100.80 is my 20% of the rest. What happened to the other $5900? Who is paying that? The answer is no one. The hospital claims to have used $6487.71 in services on me, and they are receiving total payment of $504, mostly from me.

While I am quite happy to be billed $400 instead of $5900, I can't help think about the implications of this. In reality, what did it cost the hospital to treat me? If it cost $6K and they get paid $500 how can they continue to keep their doors open if every patient, every claim is handled this way? And what of the poor schlubs without health insurance? How is it right that he gets a bill for $6K and I get one for $400 simply because I pay a monthly ransom to the right people (Aetna)? This system is designed to kick those that are already down. "You don't have health insurance? You are really sick? Bam! Here's your $6K bill." My health insurance didn't pay shit for that visit. $103. But I get the luxury of paying less simply because Aetna told them so. Am I buying health insurance or consorting with mobsters? I can't seem to tell the difference.

Sigh. This makes me really passionately angry and I could go on all night about it. Instead, I'll just wait till I get my next ridiculous bill. I should be getting one for a $7800 shot I got last week. We shall see what King Aetna proclaims it is really worth.

1 comment:

Fire Berry said...

You gotta see Sicko!!

I adore you.