Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Becoming Doctor!

If only it were this easy!

Since last week's post about Ken's um ... "accident", we've had three different appointments made ... a full-body bone scan, a CT scan of Ken's wrist, and a doctor's visit with an orthopedist to read Ken's x-rays that were taken last week.  After a lot of phone calls with the doctor's office, the hospital and our insurance company ... we cancelled every appointment!  It's a shame that over $400 per month on health insurance doesn't cover the scans.  We would have been looking at almost $2000 for the bone scan and we didn't wait to find out how much the CT scan would have cost.  Of course, if we didn't own anything and blew our money every weekend we wouldn't have to worry about such things ... the government would pick up our tab.  But that's another story that I'd better not get started on!

The full-body bone scan and the CT scan were a result of Ken's doctor visit last week.  At the time, Ken's entire right side of his body was hurting ... full-body scan ordered.  The next day, Ken's body aches were improving but his left wrist was killing him.  After phone calls to the doctor's office with no advice if the constant throbbing and increased swelling of his wrist was "normal" (advice would be another $45!), we finally got a phone call from the doctor's office just minutes before they closed for the weekend ... after reviewing the x-rays again Ken may (not sure) have a small wrist fracture, but if so there doesn't seem to be any "displacement".  The quick phone conversation consisted of being told that yet another test was ordered (the CT scan) and "not to worry" about our insurance coverage ... they'd get it approved.  As I mentioned in my last post ... yeah, right!  Good thing I did "worry about it" and not take the nurse's word.  I doubt she would have been willing to pay our bill. When Ken got off the phone, I asked him what instructions he was given regarding care of his possibly fractured wrist over the weekend ... they didn't mention anything.  Another call to the doctor's office and wouldn't ya know ... closed for the weekend!  

Our weekend consisted of a lot of time on the sofa with Ken's wrist wrapped in an ace bandage and elevated on a pillow.  Without any instruction from the doctor's office we figured this was the best thing to do.  The entire weekend was stressful, wondering if Ken's wrist was fractured, how much all of this was going to cost (didn't find out till Monday), how much work Ken would miss and income he'd lose, etc.  By Saturday evening all of Ken's other body aches were about gone and his wrist wasn't feeling good, but it was feeling better.  Maybe we could cancel the two scans and just see an orthopedist.  After all, the doctor's office did mention that after the scans Ken would need to see an orthopedist.  Why not go straight there with Ken's x-rays from last week?   We'd rather pay the $65 co-pay for the orthopedist than the big bucks for the scans that may not be necessary ... the doctors sure aren't worried about wasting our money.

Long story short ... we cancelled the two scans on Monday and instead made an appointment with the orthopedist for today (Wednesday).  This morning we cancelled the orthopedist appointment because Ken is being careful with his wrist and it's improving every day ... fingers crossed!  We can always re-schedule if necessary, and hopefully we just saved ourselves $65 bucks.  

Good ending to the story right?  Well, not so fast!  On Sunday Ken's lower back started hurting really bad and it hasn't improved ... he can barely walk and it hurts when he coughs.  After trying to work on Monday (helper drove) he cancelled his jobs yesterday in hopes of feeling better today, but he didn't stay on the sofa like he should have.  He went to work today (he promised he wouldn't drive and only supervise) and he plans on doing no more than that for the rest of the week.  This weekend will once again be on the sofa.  We're really hoping that Ken just pulled a muscle.  That's what he thinks it feels like.

This whole ordeal has required a lot of involvement and thought on our part.  We've had to weigh our options, do our own research on fractured wrists (most don't require surgery if not displaced), and provide our own treatment.  If we had just gone along with the doctor's advice, we'd have thousands of dollars in bills and who knows ... maybe all for nothing.  

I'm hoping that all the rubbing on Buddha's belly is gonna pay off and Ken will be feeling a lot better by next Monday (if not sooner).  We really need to keep things going until our house sells ... send us some good vibes ya'll!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!


Sandee said...

I wish I was nearby with my Motrin 800. That really takes the edge off without making you sleepy.

I'm hoping and praying that he feels better very soon.

Have a terrific day. ☺ said...

Oh, man, I'm so sorry to hear this! It's so sad that anyone has to worry about costs when there is an injury. You are smart to not take anyone's word for things like whether procedures will be covered. Sending healing energy his way, and praying for his body to heal itself without medical intervention.

Latitude 43 said...

I lived next door to Canada most of my life and I can tell you that they are amazed at why we can't even accomplish basic health care for our citizens. My kids go through the same thing you guys are going through, and so will we when we start cruising. What are we paying insurance for? What are we really getting for emergencies? Will a cancer diagnosis wipe us out? I tell my kids to keep a savings account just for health care emergencies, but realistically it would be tough to have that much money handy when just a broken arm can cost $3,000.

Whenever we pay those high prices I think of Congress, where they have the most awesome gov't paid health care, better than anyone else, yet they rally against us getting anything at all.

Sorry for the rant.
Hoping Ken improves soon. Hang in there! We WILL see you guys out here some day. If I ever get this freezer working, I'll make you a frozen margarita.

Tammy Swart said...

Wow! Tough luck! You are right to question the orders for expensive scans which do nothing to improve the outcome. I've had a similar issue myself and have been making similar decisions. You have to take charge and ask "how would treatment be different if I have this test?". It can take weeks for a non-displaced fracture to heal. Maybe you can try duct taping him to that couch! He needs to give it rest! Take it seriously! Best wishes for speedy recovery (we aren't as young as we once were...) :)

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