Friday, May 11, 2012

American Health Care, I Hate You

So, as long-time readers of this blog probably recall, a few years ago I had my right shoulder operated on, to remove several bone spurs.

Previous to that surgery, I endured months of -- how shall I express this -- amazing agony. Aside from gallstones, I don't think I've ever had anything hurt the way these spurs in my shoulder did. Maybe migraines. But the migraines go away with the right drugs. No amount of pain drugs took away the pain in my shoulder. This pain in my shoulder took over my life.

The surgery -- horrible surgery, the worst I've ever undergone, debilitating, difficult to recover from, painful in its own right -- worked perfectly. My shoulder was fixed. No more pain, 100% mobility, strength, no problems.

Well, one problem: over the past month, I'm having similar symptoms in my left shoulder.

No issue, right? Just go see my physician, get it fixed? An awful surgery, sure, but we know the problem, we know the cure, we know it works, it's clearly not very risky, what's the issue?

The issue is Dr. Skull has a cataract, which will use up the last of our medical savings account for the year. So we're out of medical money. And our health insurance covers only 80% of surgical costs.

So I could get my shoulder fixed, now. And then we wouldn't be able to eat or pay power bills for the rest of the year.

Or I can wait until January -- which is only, what, six months now? -- when the new medical money kicks in; and do it then.

And hope next year there's no medical emergency someone needs money for.

Except the kid needs glasses, and so do I, and so will Dr. Skull, after the eye surgery. Who knows where that money will come from. Our health insurance doesn't cover that.

This must be the wise decision making -- that medical rationing -- that the GOP is always talking about. I get to live in pain for six months, and my kid gets to live half-blind until January, so that the insurance executives can be a couple dollars richer.

Sounds like a fine system to me.


Andrevs said...

God...I'm worried about you guys. Is there any chance you could take out a loan?

William Shears said...

I feel for you. I just recently had surgery on my back and it would have cost over $80,000 without my health insurance. I know how difficult living with that kind of pain can be. I had to drop all my classes because of the massive amount of pain I was in. I hope you guys figure something out.

delagar said...

I think back pain must be worse. At least I'm mostly mobile; and at least it's my *left* shoulder this time. It was a lot worse when it was my right shoulder.

Also, plenty of people are much worse off than I am -- this isn't anything fatal. Just painful and frustrating. So ignore my self-pitying whines!

Unknown said...

I'm scared to see what our most recent medical bill is :( Even with insurance, our co-pay is pretty much the full bill (until after the deductible)... and we have no medical spending account :( I may start eating cat food.