Friday, March 05, 2010

Health Care Diary: Part 2

As part of the insurance deal I signed up for at work, my employer makes a contribution in each pay period to a Health Savings Account (I assume that's what HSA stands for) and I can use this at will for prescription drugs or other medical expenses not covered by insurance. I also earn a small interest percentage on the funds accumulating in the account which currently stand at around $1.50 per month. Something is better than nothing. That's $9.30 I earned in interest in 2009.

I had not printed off my statements since October and decided to get caught up this morning. I noticed something interesting on my December statement. There is a bank charge of $15.00 of the debit card associated with the account. And to add insult to injury, there's $1.05 sales tax applied on top of the $15.00 bank fee.

Cool, isn't it? As if it's not enough to get royally screwed by the health insurance industry, the bank and the state can find a way to prick you just a wee bit more. So much for the meager interest I thought I was accumulating.

Not to complain too much though. It was a good day. Went out at 11:45 this morning for my 12:15 appointment with the surgeon. More paperwork to complete and a short wait before the nurse called me in for an X-ray. I told her I was under the impression that wasn't going to be necessary since I had the CT scan. She said the doctor really wanted to also see an X-ray. Different view I guess. This is the facility that does not take my insurance so I was trying to keep my costs down as much as possible.

That took about a minute or so. Then I was taken to an exam room to wait for the doctor. It was another short wait...maybe 10 minutes before the good doctor arrived.

I must say, I was highly impressed with the doctor. He had a great personality, knows his craft, and is very adept at making you feel comfortable, even in the face of some uncomfortable prospects. He discussed my broken bones and said he prefers to lump them into two groups based on functionality.

In other words, because my eyesight is fine from the bruised eye, and I can move the eyeball around just fine, and I can easily breathe through my nose, he isn't so concerned about the broken bones in those areas.

The broken cheek bone, which is inhibiting my ability to open my mouth much more than is necessary to insert a straw or a pill, is a big concern. He applied pressure around my face with his thumb and told me to make a noise if it hurt, but "not so loud as to scare any children in the other rooms."

He hit a tender spot or two but he also knew where they were going to be. In the end he asked me to "open wide" so he could take a look in my mouth with the tongue-depressor. I think he knew he was making a funny, trying to elicit a "hell no!" from me or something.

Much to my surprise, he did pry my mouth open a bit... and it was just enough for me to catch a glimpse of some sequins on St. Peter's robe reflecting the disco lights at the pearly gates.

Muthafocker! That hurt!

He left the room for a minute and I sat up in the exam chair and immediately started making faces with my lips and mouth at txrad. Wow. The pain I had just felt had transformed into a beautiful experience of mouth-movement ability! That, my friends, is a good doc!

He told me to come back next Thursday and let's just wing it. If he thinks I need the surgery on my cheek bone by then, he'll tell me. And if I want him to do it, I will tell him. The cheek bone surgery could probably be done from an incision in the mouth. The eye socket, if necessary, could be done around the eyebrow where a scar would not be so easily noticed. Then he remarked that he has bushy eyebrows, so easy for him to say!

Meanwhile, I am under instructions to not chew anything, and he advised getting a child's toothbrush for my teeth since it might be easier to get in there. I picked out the Winnie the Pooh brush you see on this post.

This doctor is so good that, even if it ends up being covered out-of-network and I do need the surgery, I'd probably go for it simply because of the comfort and trust level. It would be under 2 hours most likely, and I'd be able to go home the same day.

I put the $365 charge on my HSA debit card, so no out-of-pocket for me on this visit, and left as a very happy man with uplifted spirits. Day #4 was my best day yet this week.

Before I got to the car I realized the doctor reminded me of a cross between Eugene Levy and Craig Crawford, and as I've joked on this blog before, there's not much crossing to cross between those two!

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