Thursday, June 15, 2006

"Don't Do ANYTHING For Three Days!"
...and ya know, after getting thru TODAY, yep, I can do that!

It all started with my 9AM appointment in Post Falls; I went there to get the third steroid shot in my lower back. You might remember I was telling you I had to do that for my back pain. You could say I didn't need coffee to wake up today; the doctor's needle pretty much did the trick. So I got to the hospital at 9AM. As always, the medical facilities want their cash up front. I've come to accept "that's the way it is", as Walter Cronkite used to say. So I gave the financial lady my debit card. She went in the back to run the card, and came back and told me my card had been REJECTED. Well, I don't handle rejection well, especially when I know I've got more than enough money to cover it. So she ran it again. And I was rejected again. Mind you, I was trying to pay for the privilege of having a needle inserted 3 or more inches into my lower back. Isn't life fun?

We then called the "800" number on the back of my bank card. The hospital's financial lady talked to the corporate voice at the other end, who had absolutely no idea of what was going on. I then talked to the same corporate voice, saying, "I've got the money; I don't understand why I'm being rejected". And she said, "Sir, my computer here doesn't show anything, except that you have a one-thousand dollar per-day spending limit." I said, "WHAT? Last month I paid $1300 for the same thing and my card didn't get rejected!" The "corporate voice" said, "Sir, we can raise your limit to $2,000." I said, "fine, please stay on the line with me while the hospital's financial lady runs my card again." And she came back, and my card got REJECTED again! I told the "corporate voice" that in spite of the fact my card now had a $2,000 per-day spending limit, it STILL didn't go through. The corporate voice said, "Sir, I don't know what is happening; all I know is, I did increase your daily spending limit."

So I hung up on the "corporate voice", and dialed a local branch of my bank. The hospital's financial lady repeated the entire process with the woman at the local bank branch, and so did I. The hospital's financial lady gave some number combination to the lady at the bank branch. The hospital's financial lady said, "I should be able to run the card now, right?" "Right", said the lady at the bank branch. So the hospital's financial lady handed me the phone, and went into the back to run the card. REJECTED AGAIN! I had the phone, the line was still open, and I told the lady at the bank branch what happened. The lady at the bank branch did some further research, and finally said, "Sir, your $2,000 per-day spending limit won't take place for 24 hours." Meantime, my appointment was TODAY. I told the bank branch lady, "we did this last month and everything went okay, so why are these complications happening NOW?" And she replied, "we've been getting a lot of this lately." Whatever happened to the old saying, "If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It"?????

So what the hospital and I ended up doing, was that I would pay HALF of the amount today, and I'll pay the other half by MONDAY, and hopefully tomorrow (Friday). By this time, it was past 10AM; the hospital's financial lady and I had both been fighting the bank for an hour. Now I was all set to get stabbed in the back by a hypodermic-wielding stranger, and, like a condemned man walking his last 13 steps, I was led to the back of the hospital so I could put on one of those world-famous gowns with the "ties" in the back. Of course I'm a klutz; I can't tie behind my back, so a nurse had to do it. Then I waited for a little while, and then I was led back to the "shooting room". I was instructed to lie on my left side. I thot, "what?" The previous two times I'd gone thru this, I'd sat up, and bent over to widen the gap between my back vertebrae so the doc could find the right place to put the needle. But, the doctor I had today, preferred his patients to lie down while getting the shot. Well, if you're lying down, you won't hit the ceiling if there's more pain than you expected, I guess. Yeah, that makes sense to me.

Actually, when one is getting a steroid shot, they're actually getting TWO shots. The first shot, the one you REALLY FEEL, is the local anesthetic. Kinda like when the dentist gives you novacaine, and all you can do is endure that initial pain. I asked the nurse, "Is there something around here that I can grab?" She asked why, and I told her, I needed to clamp my hand around something so I could brace myself. I call it "distraction therapy". If you squeeze your fingers around something hard enough to hurt your knuckles, the pain from the hypodermic needle in your back won't seem quite as bad. The same thing as if, you have a headache, and someone STOMPS on your foot, you don't feel your headache as much. (A good theory, anyway) So she wheeled out a small cart, and I hung onto that. The doctor put the needle in...and I thot, "yikes...pain....eeeks....aaaagh..." and then he was done doing that. My knuckles were white by this time. And they hurt. But that was the idea. I didn't hit the ceiling when that first needle penetrated my back. Not that I know of, anyway...

Then, in went the SECOND injection. Since the anesthetic's in place, at first, this second "stab" feels more like someone pushing their thumb into the small of your back. It didn't really hurt, but it was a sickening, kinda queasy nerve-type feeling, and I was grabbing that poor little metal cart for all it was worth; it's a wonder I didn't collapse the leg of the cart I was hanging on to. To take my mind off this deep uncomfortable feeling the needle was giving me, I asked the nurse to give me a "play by play", tell me what was going on back there. She said, "this should be over in just a minute", so I hung on to that little tin cart for dear life, and finally, she whispered the words I had been longing to hear from her..."okay, you're done"! Aaaaaaaah. I asked the doctor if I could see the needle he shot me with; he showed it to me; it still had blood from my back on it; he'd pushed that thing in a little over 2 and a half inches, maybe 3 inches. So it turns out I went thru quite an invasive procedure today. Oh yeah, and don't forget, I get to pay for the SECOND half of what this injection cost me tomorrow.

When I found this little cartoon and put in that goofy little caption, I was thinking, "yeah, this really drains the old wallet fast, don't it?" Except that today, I honestly don't know which hurt worse, me or the wallet. All I know is, when the nurse told me, "don't do anything for three days", I told her, "yeah, I can do that!" But it's over for now, and I'm alive, with the promise of a possibility of recovering at least some of my health. I may have to undergo this procedure a few times a year the rest of my life; I don't know. But...I am no longer the virtual invalid I was 6 months ago. But I am an invalid today, and I'm feeling it. So I'll sign off now.

I appreciate all of you blog readers who read this rather obtuse post, which in actuality is nothing more than a glorified pity-party. Still...I was there, I experienced it, and perhaps you have insight, at least a bit more insight, to the workings of the medical world. And now, time for the La-Z-Boy...aaaahhhhh......


Blogger Scan said...

don't apologise for writing posts like this one. It's what we read blogs for, isn't it? To catch a glimpse into the lives of other people? :-)

By the way, I'm emmigrating next month so not only do I have to go through the crap with the bank that you did, I have to do it for my water, electricity, gas, TV (it is England of course), housing company too. I think I may die of stress before I get any closer to Coeur D'alene *chuckle*

Take it easy mate :-)

2:36 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

Sorry to tell you that your pain made me laugh! I mean, the way you wrote that post was hilarious. I could just see you bending that cart under the grip of your white knuckles.

Great post... Interesting, funny, descriptive. One of your best ever.

1:01 PM  
Blogger little ol' me said...

Hey Scan, haven't heard from ya in a while. You're "emigrating", but staying in the same country? It's interesting, the differences in the language that our different countries use. Here, when we're going to live in the same country we're already in, we are "moving". To "emigrate", at least to us Statesiders is when we are going to a different nation to live, such as Mexicans emigrating to the U.S. for a while. But oh yeah, whether you "move" or "emigrate", there's always the utilities, real estate companies (housing company to you, probably) and the like. Pain is all around, isn't it? So you take it easy too. Moving is stressful. I just hope your back is in better shape than mine. If I had to "move", I would need help; I run a risk if I life any more than 20 pounds (whatever 'stone' that is to you)!

Phil, maybe some of the best posts come from direct experience, especially if there's pain involved? When I wrote that post, I was so tired and listless from all I'd gone thru that morning...and I'm "still doing nothing"; I've gotta take it easy probably until Monday. Then I'll take it a little less easy. But the physical pain wasn't as exhausting as dealing with the damn BANKS! Oh guess what...a real "jab" to my masculinity...the shot I got is an "epidural". Ack. Now I (kinda) know what women go thru. To a point.

2:04 AM  
Blogger Scan said...

Dave 'emigrating' is the same over here mate. I'm relocating to The Bahamas, where it doesn't rain all summer like it is doing over here. My back should be okay though as I'm selling everything before I go and starting again when I get over there. Not being a materialist has its' down sides though. When it comes to selling things, you realise you don't have that much to sell *chuckle*

2:57 AM  
Blogger little ol' me said...

Well, Mr. Scan-person, thanks for clarifying that. Let me be among the first to welcome you to the Western Hemisphere! I'm not a materialist either, but I have too much junk. I recently got a CD burner that makes CD's from Records! So, all the little "45rpm" singles I have, I'm putting 'em onto CD, and then I'll just give the singles away. I've bought so many over the years I don't know what to do with them anymore.

Anyway, good luck with your move. It took you this long to get to the Bahamas, that I'm sure you'll never see Coeur d'Alene until you are 87 years. That's my prediction.

4:15 AM  

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