The time around Christmas and New Year is always a tricksy time for me. The weather in Kansas City is often awful right at that time with snow on top of ice. In years long past, I was usually sick as a dog with pneumonia, pleurisy, and/or bronchitis at that time. With the advent of good flu vaccines and the pneumonia vaccine and diagnosis and treatment for the lupus which led to the illnesses, I’ve been able to avoid those for a while now. Instead as lupus did its slowed-down-due-to-medicines damage to my joints, I’ve taken more falls that have broken bones. In recent years, I have broken knees, ankles, toes, and cheekbones in that turn-of-the-year time. Last year, I lucked out because we had no real winter here in Kansas City. No illnesses and no falls. It was a good year in that way.
And no, I don’t have osteoporosis. My doctors test for it regularly since some meds I must take make its appearance eventually inevitable. Fortunately, I show no signs yet, and I thank my stars for that big-boned build like a footballer’s that’s been my bane all my life and for the years and years of walking.
This year, however, the turn-of-the-year time was harder to handle. In December, I had an outpatient surgical procedure in the hospital, strictly diagnostic and fairly routine. Afterward, my adverse reaction to the anesthesia (due to discordances with maintenance meds) left me down and out for almost a week and behind schedule for the holidays that immediately followed. The results left the specialist and my GP insisting on another a different procedure immediately after the New Year holiday (in hospital again, but still thankfully outpatient). This one left me bedridden for a week and still weak and shaky for another, during which time my husband and I both came down with this particularly virulent flu going around. We’re just getting back on our feet from that now.
The outcome of the second procedure? All good. Normal. Nothing to worry about. Except five-figure hospital bills and specialist bills and anesthesiologist bills, costing my insurance company thousands and me a slightly smaller amount in deductibles and co-pays. (The last procedure took place right after the new year began and the restart of accounting of deductibles met, as well as the annual hiking of deductibles.) I’m grateful to have insurance, at all, and triply grateful that the results say I’m not facing a terrible diagnosis. But it leaves me certain that we need a real overhaul of our healthcare system. The hospitals charged incredible sums for what was basically an out-patient procedure. My insurance company immediately almost halved that to a merely startling sum, but if I’d had no insurance—as so many do not—I’d not only have had to pay everything I paid and my insurance paid for me, but I’d have to pay the whole obviously inflated sum the hospital charged and would have had to take medical bankruptcy.
Another result is that this poor blog has languished while I’ve gone through this, and I apologize to my regular readers for that. I realize some of you are connected with me on Facebook or Twitter and so had at least an inkling of what was going on, but for those who didn’t and still kept coming, expecting to find new posts, I am truly sorry to have disappointed you. I’ll try to make this the last time it happens.
I have decided I’m going to look at 2013 with the same lens the old wives of the tales used on the month of March—“in like a lion, out like a lamb.” I have often noticed that years that begin with troubles turn into very happy years with various kinds of success and joyful events. So I expect 2013 to turn around in that same way. It certainly came in roaring like a fierce and scary lion. Now, I’m ready for the lamb gamboling in flowery meadows. May it be so—for me and for all of you out there!