I’m fond of referring to my trial and tribulations with clinics, doctors, specialists, back-offices, et al in this blog as BUREAUCRATIZILLA.
Truth be told, I’ve encountered many fine medical professionals who have actually treated me, prescribed medication for me and followed-up with me. I’m a diabetic and two-time cancer survivor (not to mention arthritis, tinnitus, bad knees, ‘old person’ problems, etc.!)
Sadly, it seems many doctors, while medically skilled, cheapen when it comes to staffing the back office. Numerous record and billing snafus, misunderstandings and scheduling problems have been the result.
And, if this chart is to be believed, it’s not going to get any better! I suspect the ACA hasn’t helped streamline things, either.
‘Free’ health care? At what cost?
h/t Doc in Yuma
In our last episode…
My friend Bob (of the many friends named such) – my former P.I. boss and gun store boss – was losing weight and on a feeding tube due to the inability to eat due to esophageal cancer (!)
And he (and we) were awaiting approval from on-high (his health care insurance) to begin chemotherapy and radiation for the throat cancer.
And the insurance company was balking at beginning treatment, as he had yet to gain any weight (or to save themselves money – you decide!)
I heard from him yesterday, as I reached out to him for the Thanksgiving weekend. He has been receiving ‘treatments’ going on three months, with the last one scheduled for this coming week.
THEN, we will see the prognosis…
He says he is very tired and is maintaining (mostly) a good attitude.
Please keep a good thought, and pray for him (if that’s what you do).
Mary, my former wife and mother of Molly, is going under the knife, today. While it is outpatient surgery, is remains surgery.
She remains a dear friend, and while she moved 3000 miles away for 10 years after Molly’s accident for schooling, she returned a few years ago and quite-by-chance now lives about 1/4 mile N.E. of me!
Please. keep a good thought, and pray, if that’s what you do.
Thank you for her.
We will amend this post when we have a prognosis.
I just got off the telephone with Mary (0915 11/12) and she says she is recovering well and has been told they removed all they needed. Prognosis excellent, although she does sound a bit exorcist-y!
And she thanks all for their good thoughts and prayers.
November 8, 2007
I had spent Saturday night with my (then) girlfriend J. (who is now my landlord – it’s complicated) and we were caravaning back to my place in central Phoenix on Sunday night, around 7 PM. At the time, we both had Sunday’s and Monday’s off.
And I was about ten minutes ahead of her, preparing to pull into my driveway, when I noticed something annoying.
The porch light I had left on was not burning.
Damn! I just bought another yellow, incandescent bug bulb. They burn out so fast.
So, I pull into the drive, key my way in the back door, and head back to my bedroom to unpack.
It’s not just the bulb that’s off. My interior wall behind my bed has fallen upon it! The wall to the rear of the house seems to have moved laterally about 12 inches – making my doorway to the back office, computer/reloading room narrower by about a foot! I look in there, and most everything is strewn about and on the floor.
Exiting and looking into the adjacent bedroom, my gun safe remains, but the wall behind it has also shifted East about a foot!
I call J., who is still in route and explain something is very wrong.
Then, there is a knock on the carport door and I answer it. It’s a neighbor, who explains about 4 AM that morning, a vehicle drove through my fence and drove into my house! As it was much noise, many neighbors came out to investigate and found the truck had continued to plow through my yard, pushing the rear wall of my home sideways about a foot. He backed out and drove away, with the police in pursuit who stopped him about a block away.
It was a drunk driver in a company vehicle. Who knew?
The neighbors figured out I was not home, and as gas seemed to be leaking called the gas company and turned off all my breakers, promising the police and gasco they would have me contact them upon my arrival. Of course, no one knew where I was. The gas company shut off the gas. The police had left a note on my door asking I call them.
Then all went back to bed. And the drunk went to jail.
All while I was ignorantly asleep at my girlfriend’s house 17 miles to the S.E.!
Sunday became a late night. Calling my insurance man, who said they would pay for a (cheap) hotel, gathering up some additional clothes, and awaiting the construction guys who would plywood all the broken windows, the rear of the house and doors to make the house more secure.
More neighbors became aware of my returning home and stopped by to see if I was alright. The Latinos across the street – who spoke no English, and I suspect were illegals – brought me over a kitten to cheer me up!
Restless sleep began something like 0130.
And I was unable to return home except to check the mail for about six months, while the insurance company rebuilt my little house, moved me to a condo and cleaned up the mess.
Sadly, I had to return the kitten.
But wait, there’s more…
(look for the sequel in about two weeks!) :-)
(I will continue to post daily, this is just building suspense…)
Other than with firearms…!
And I know folks who have worn flip-flops while shooting and hiking!!
This makes BOOTS seem like a minimum!
The lesson here is wear proper protection in the desert (or wherever there are snakes), and (of course) carry an appropriate firearm!
Once bitten twice shy? HELL, once bitten always broke! (assuming one survives)
I’m quietly resting on my laurels, thinking the ‘chores’ (a word from childhood I loathe!) are completed, when the lady of the house says to me,
“We have more plants to move in the back yard so the painters can access the walls.”
But, it must be done. After all, if we don’t move the stuff, the walls won’t get properly painted. And, I’m certain, the HOA would try to fine us for noncompliance with the bylaws. (Being a townhouse H.O.A. and all!)
So, it’s back out into the yard for us! Sigh.
Fortunately, we didn’t have THAT much to do. Mostly pry a large, overgrown yucca from it’s perch and move it about six feet away from the wall.
Using a shovel, hand truck and brute force.
(Note to self – Yucca are SHARP!)
BUT, we accomplished the task. Here is a picture of the side of the yard, showing about half the plants, tools, cacti and succulents we moved:
And, of course, once the painting, exterior maintenance and noise are completed, we will get to move everything BACK!
As my Dad used to say, no rest for the wicked!
We (here at our townhouses) have been hearing for some months now about ‘improvements’ to be made on the exterior (many at our expense) by the ‘maintenance’ folks, as ordered by the HOA (homeowner’s association).
FINALLY, they are getting to it.
And they gave us TWO DAYS NOTICE to make our yard ready for the incursion of workers, and loud noises, for up to SEVEN DAYS (beginning @ 0630) , including leaving our (broken) back gate unlocked (the one with a spring-loaded lock, making it virtually impossible to leave it unlocked), lest they hire a locksmith @ $75.00/hour to open it!
So, we spent three days moving the many potted plants – including cacti (and succulents), sized in pots 3 inch to 30 inch across, along with pavers, bricks, empty pots, yard ‘decor’, tools, and all manner of things adjacent to the North fence, so they can do their work.
J. had jury duty on the first day, so I did my part on my own, with painful results. It seems it’s preferential to wear my flat (normal) shoe in lieu of ED SULLIVAN (the really big shoe) when working physically on uneven dirt and gravel surfaces.
Lest I fall, which I did…
I careened forward, landing across some pots and pavers I had just stacked, bruising and scraping my right arm and knocking the pottery into a glass yard globe, which promptly shattered.
Fortunately, I didn’t propel forward enough to land on the glass!
THEN, I had glass to clean up!
Hopefully, this’ll all be completed soon (maybe they will fix the gate?) The arm is healing nicely, and additional pain meds are helping with the jarring of my skeleton and resulting muscle pains of physical labor.
It’s nice they chose frickin’ JULY and AUGUST to undertake these tasks, when DECEMBER would have been so much cooler!
I was able to communicate with one of the many Bobs in my life last night. (Long-time readers know I’ve many friends named Bob and Dave. One childhood friend was even named Robert Davidson!)
The dear friend with whom I was a private investigator, and later worked together in a firearms emporium.
The one who lost the lower 12″ of his left leg due to diabetic complications. And almost lost his life.
Fortunately, things are going well as can be for him.
He’s been using a prosthesis now for about six weeks! He still has need of a wheelchair or a walker for some life activities.
The most important thing is he is active, continuing to test his limits, and has a terrific attitude.
One daughter is preparing to graduate from a local university; the other from Northwestern.
He is most proud.
I’m proud of him for his ongoing attitude. I’ve my own health issues – And he continues to show me that attitude is everything.
Thank you, Robert!
I’m still sick. Have spent most of the past three days in bed. Am planning on going into Urgent Care this morning. (This, after checking to make certain they took Medicare – some don’t – and that they don’t expect their 20% up front.)
Which is good, because I probably don’t have it.
The interesting thing in all this (to me, anyway) is that my temperature (which tends to run about a degree low, anyway) has been all over the map. Starting on Thursday @ 102°, then varying degrees of 101° on Friday and Saturday. It was even 99° – something one time!
And all I’ve been taking is a cough suppressant, which doesn’t work especially well…
(My own doc wants me to lay off the IB, as I’ve been eating them by the hands full for years!)
I do feel better at 99° than at 102°. Duh.
So, we shall see.
(Post UC visit – apparently, I’ve bronchitis (among other issues). I was chest x-rayed, breathing tested, steroid injected, and given antibiotics and an inhaler, and sent on my way. I’m feeling MUCH better, and my temp is much closer to normal. HUZZAH! Thanks for all your kind comments and emails!)
And now, to make good the promise of the blog post title…THE THREE DEGREES!
(If you abhor whining, read no further)
First, my former employer TMCCC contacted me regarding applying for early retirement. I’m currently medically retired due to my contracting lymphoma in 2008. I left active employment in 2009, after six months of chemo.
Obviously, the sooner they can nudge me out, the less pension they will have to pay. And current calculations are not very promising, regardless of my retiring now or @ 65.
So, it wasn’t a complete surprise when my private medical insurance carrier (thank GOD I paid the premiums when I was working!) contacted me to update their information.
This means contacting my physician with regard to my current condition and ability to work.
In spite of the fact I was awarded SSDI and private disability due to having cancer, I have many other conditions which make returning to the workforce problematic. Even though I AM currently in remission! (knock-on-wood!)
Working while diabetic is no biggee, working with the neuropathy (chronic nerve pain) that comes with it – not so much. And the arthritis. There was a time I could stand and sit for long hours. No longer. Now, sitting more than an hour or two is painful. Forget standing and walking much.
Oh, I can (and do) take various prescription pain medications. Which make me dopey and put me to sleep. And still only lessen the pain. They do not take it away.
And my fear is the private insurance company will say, well, you have been in remission over 5 years…SAYONARA!
And the private addition to my SSDI payment isn’t much, but it is 21% of my disability pay. And the total is still poverty level.
I rent a room in a friend’s home, and drive a clunky 2000 Oldsmobile. I lost my home of 18 years, 2 1/2 years ago. I’m not milking the system here.
And now I get to jump through more hoops in hope of keeping that 21%.