Thursday, June 16, 2011

The perfect storm

Everyone has staph growing on their skin. Our bodies repel the stuff and normally we just happily fight infection and continue. I was exposed to carbon monoxide in a boiler room. The CO bound up my hemoglobin and didn't allow any white blood cells to replicate to fight the simple staph bacteria. I got terribly ill with the Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Later, the doctors discovered that I was born with a bicuspid ventral which really isn't a big deal but it does cause turbulence in my heart. That turbulence is where infection likes to collect. The staph infection seized the opportunity when nothing was fighting it. It went septic literally overnight. The common staph settled in my left Ventricle and severed a cord to my Mitral valve. These cords keep the valve from prolapsing. Now my heart doesn't work properly and back pressure to my lungs causes my lungs to fill with plasma easily. The doctors have me on high blood pressure medicine--even though my blood pressure is normal. I get tired easily because of my heart and this is exacerbated by the blood pressure medicine. They don't want my heart to work too hard.

Now in five weeks I must go have open heart surgery to replace the prolapsed valve and while they are in there they will replace the bicuspid ventricle.

The perfect storm continues...
As you know we have only moved here six months ago. I was hired back at my old company but under a trial period. This trial period was cut short and they hired me in a permanent fashion roughly five months ago. My company offers subsidized health insurance but I never got my three month review. My decision at open enrollment (after being hired three months) to decline health insurance wasn't really a decision at all. Given my introductory pay scale and no three month review to offer any hope of a raise we simply couldn't afford our half of the premiums. We opted to wait until January (normal open enrollment).

So here we sit without health insurance. Healthcare facilities that take the uninsured are so over crowed that getting simple blood work takes an entire day. Most of that day is spent processing analog records and confirming that I do indeed qualify for the services that they will render. Every doctor that I have seen has been top notch but the callousness of the general staff is degraded to the lowest form of apathy and feels like it is sucking the life out of you as you talk to them.  Of course they must develop burnout and callous themselves to it otherwise they would surely go crazy because the need is so great.

So you might ask why not file a workers comp claim. First we are going to get this all paid for, albeit with excruciating hours of waiting. Your tax dollars already pay for this kind of stuff. But you might also know that your tax dollars are paying for incredible waste the magnitude is unimaginable until you actually live it. Best case, workers comp would only pay a percentage of my final bill. That worker comp insurance company would fight me tooth and nail into legal oblivion trying to prove that the liability isn't theirs. Furthermore, I cannot ruin a wonderful company (sun light and power) with a 500,000 insurance claim that would skyrocket their workers comp premiums to a level that the company cannot sustain--even if my claim were bullet-proof.

Instead I will sit for hours on end waiting in the most awful waiting rooms to get the care that I need. My wonderful wife has sat by my side and endured the soul wrenching onslaught of apathetic waste and waiting. These systems aren't broken and degraded because of incompetence or intended waste. They are stuck in this awful place between huge oppressive insurance companies which debilitate them and the trickle of over bureaucratically tangled funds from Uncle Sam.

Our friends have been wonderfully supportive and we have genuinely needed their help. I am so appreciative of them it makes my heart swell with pride for humanity and the village that we enjoy the full support of. Thank you, thank you our great friends we appreciate you in ways that go beyond simple words.

Love, peace and blessings to you all.
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