Thursday, December 08, 2005
I plead insanity
Screaming? What screaming ... I don't hear no screaming.
I do not believe that I've blogged anything about my Dad's medical problems this year ... but I'm just too lazy to go back and check. So bear with me as I hit the highlights. Bear? Yes bear, I'm feeling very growly now-a-days.
May, Dad passed out at a local diner and an ambulance was called. He refused to go and said I would come get him and take him to the hospital/doctor. Of course I was in the bed running a fever and very ill. Anyway I took him to the doctor and he blacked out in the doctor's office. The doctor immediately admitted him to the local hospital.
While running tests the local hospital found a very large aortic aneurysm that was in both body cavities. The local hospital was not equipment to handle this surgery (DUH!) and transferred him downtown Houston to Methodist Hospital. While there and running even more tests, heart blockages were found. The beginning of the surgeryfest has commenced.
Early June he had a triple bypass and did extremely well. He was sent home to recuperate and came back the end of June for the surgery to repair the aortic aneurysm. The aneurysm had grown so large that the metal spring looking thing (hey that's what it looked like!) could not be used for repair and they had to do an aortic bypass. Two weeks later he was back in the hospital with popped stitches (from coughing) and low blood pressure.
After being released and home for a couple of weeks, he noticed a weirdly thin feeling soft spot near his abdominal incision, about the size of a quarter. We kept an eye on it and when it began to distend, we called and made an appt with his regular doctor. Doctor said it was a hernia, referred him to local specialist/surgeon, who said that due to all the surgeries and possible complications we should go back to Methodist. Had regular doctor complete referral to surgeon affiliated with Methodist. Went to see this doctor and he asked us to go see the cardiologist who was involved in Dad's previous surgeries to obtain a release for this surgery ... WHEW you tired yet?
We called Dad's regular doctor back and asked them to complete a referral to the cardiologist, as Dad had never actually been to his office before. The referral was returned, but to some doctor we had never heard of but who was closer to our home. WHAT? Resent request with backup information .... was DENIED. This went on and on, with many requests, denials and phone calls to the insurance company. At one point I was told that there was no higher level I could take this or anyone to speak to ... so I wrote them an email and cc'd ALL of my dad's doctors. I explained, complained and threatened them with the MEDIA. Within 24 hours I received a phone call requesting additional information and within four days it was approved.
Why was this continually denied? The insurance company said that the cardiologist my dad wanted to see was not in his geographical insurance POD ... WTF! The cardiologist is two floors down in the same building as the surgeon (hernia) with whom they had NO issues with approving that referral! "Here's your sign" All in all it took us two months from having the hernia diagnosed to actually having the surgery.
****WARNING - if you have a sensitive stomach, skip this next part****
This past Monday, my dad had his surgery ... on the hernia that had grown from the size of a silver dollar to the size of a soccer ball ... he looked like some clip from the movie Alien ... you know where the alien baby is in the human's stomach trying to claw it's way out!? Because the hernia had grown so large (sternum to pelvis) his intestines had spilled into the opening and adhered to the tissue on the other side, which had to be slowly and carefully separated and put back where they belonged. Ewwwww!
****OK, you weak-stomached ones can continue on from here****
So what should have been a minimally invasive surgery that lasted about 2-3 hours ... was an invasive surgery that lasted almost 6 hours! Not only that but the surgeon said that recovery from this is very painful ... OUCH! I feel like this is the insurance company's fault ... their stubborn refusals lasting for almost two months gave this hernia time to grow and wreak havoc on my dad's health. What did their refusals do for them in the end? It damn sure didn't save them any money! Not when what would have been an overnight stay will probably be a 7-10 day stay in the hospital!
My dad, who is almost 70, has as of today been in the hospital for four days. Because his intestines still have not "started back up", he has not released all that gas you get with surgery. The gas is distending his abdomen ... causing even more pain. Because he's not passing gas, he can't have any food ... YES four days with NO food, nothing but limited amounts of water and ice chips! More pain and no food ... grrrrrr!
There are extremely few things that can/could move me to want to do physical violence to someone ... but messing with my loved ones is one of them. I wanna hurt something, tear something up ... participate in a little destruction!
Sad, frustrated, tired, stressed, ANGRY