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Meaning of life

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away." ~ Pablo Picasso

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Cancer Chronicles 16

On The Seventh Week He...


I've noticed my hair is thinning and I have a bald spot across the back of my neck. Most of my hair is still hangin in there! I'm starting to get a rash on my right arm, the good one, and some on my thighs. I itch all over. I have several doctors appointments before I can go home.

Dr. Edward Kim wants me to fit in one last dose of chemo before I go home. I thought I was done dammit! Since I should have had 6 treatments and I only received 3, he wants me to get one more in. I show him the rash and he doesn't seem to think much of it. I like Dr. Kim. He's very personable, but too busy to allow you to see what he's best at...showing a genuine interest.

My eye surgery, with Dr. Stella Kim, is scheduled for November. Dr. Morrison and Dr. Clayman have released me until November. I have to see dental one last time. I really hate that department. They are ALWAYS screwed up!

I wait as usual to see Dr. Chambers, the dentist. When he finally arrives, he tells me that there should be some dental trays waiting for me. I'm to use them to administer nightly fluoride treatments, a process I must continue throughout the rest of my life. In their usual organized manner, they are unable to find the trays. Big Surprise! Once again I'm told to wait in the lobby for the trays to be fabricated. I leave for home sweet home in a few days so they need to be made today.

Two hours have now passed and I want to know how much longer. As I step up to the receptionist I pose my question. I get the canned answer, "Let me check." When she returns, she looks at two small tubs that have been sitting on her desk. I noticed them earlier when I sat back down in the lobby. It's MY TRAYS and the other tub appears to contain my dental impressions! THEY HAVE BEEN THERE THE WHOLE TIME! This office is so screwed up!

Before she hands me the tubs she says, "Hang on a minute. I have to check and see how much they are." HUH??? You don't bill this to insurance? I'm confused. When she comes back she says, "That will be $300." WHAT??? CASH??? NOW??? $300??? WTF???

Throughout this whole ordeal I have never paid for anything up front. I don't have my check book with me. In fact, I don't even have a credit card with me. I have NEVER paid for anything upfront the whole 4 months I've been here! Then, in a snide way, another girl behind the counter says. "It's not covered by your insurance."

I snap, "So you make this $300 set of trays not telling me before the fact that I have to pay for them when I receive them because they are not covered by insurance?"
Then the snide receptionist says, "They are a required part of your treatment."

First off: If they are a required part of treatment, why does insurance not pay a portion? They managed to pay $9,600 to have two teeth extracted! - Yes the bills are starting to come in and that little trip to the brain ward cost that much. That's not what was billed, that's what the insurance paid! FOR TWO TEETH! Now, if they managed to pony up for an extraction, (which I think was bullshit to begin with) why is this a problem?

Secondly: I don't have $300 with me. Does everybody who picks up their dental trays bring $300 with them without knowing the cost before hand? If this was common practice, why didn't the receptionist know the cost in the first place. Maybe they charge by the tooth, or perhaps the size of the mouth! This is BULLSHIT!

I'm instructed to see the business office. I leave without the trays and immediately dial Ashante, my patient advocate, on the cell. I leave a voice mail. The poor girl is now on speed dial. This issue becomes a bigger problem in the near future! (What did you expect? Did you think it would be easy?)

On Saturday I'm scheduled for my final (I've heard this before!) chemo treatment. I've been up most of the night itching. My rash has gotten worse, it's spread all over my body. The worst of it on my right arm, the arm they administer the chemo in. When I arrive I give my blood, the usual routine, then wait for the results. I'm ushered into a cozy room with a bed, same, same, same.

When the nurse comes in, she notices the rash and tells me it appears to be a delayed chemical reaction, most likely from the chemo. It's so bad that she contacts Dr. Kim to suggest forgoing the chemo treatment today. Instead she wants to give me a heavy IV dose of Benadryl to help stop the reaction.

The IV team arrives, inputs the needle and drip, drip, drip. No iceberg this time. The itching subsides dramatically and the redness dissipates. I'm so glad she made that call! After a few hours of dripping, I'm told to go home and rest. Now that's the best advice yet! Only a few more days and I can go home!



Maureen said...

Didja get your dental trays? Huh, didja?? Oh my gosh, your patience is amazing.
How can you not carry $300 around ALL the time? Sheesh, Brian, you never know when you may want to buy something that costs exactly $300! LOL.

Dr. Swill said...

Patience? What patience? LOL I've censored some of the language to make it more palatable to read. If I didn't the whole story would be WTF? WTH? WTF? WTF? WTF?

I'm so past the breaking point I'm calm now.

The trays still sit in the dental office. I'm still trying to get that resolved along with a list of other problems, nothing major.

As for the $300 in my pocket. I'm the kind of guy that never keeps more than $40 in his wallet at any time. That's what ATMS are for.

That whole thing just pissed me off. Then I got the rash and the trays didn't seem to matter as much anymore. One day at a time.

Maureen said...

WOW, you keep $40??????
I never have more then $8.73! Isn't that why God invented plastic???

Maybe your next blog entry should just read:



Dr. Swill said...

It's a common misconception that God created plastic. Plastic is actually man made because God did not create a tree that grows money! And yes I will keep the WTF blog in mind for next time...LOL

Thank you for keeping up around here!

Maureen said...

Sometimes I feel like I am a blog hog or something ;)

But as long as you keep the welcome mat out, I'll keep visiting!

Dr. Swill said...

Blog Hog!!! Love it!!! Too funny!

Words To Live By:

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service to others." -Mahatma Gandhi