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Just when I think I won’t have anything to update for a while, new stuff happens.

I “deposited” my first unit of blood yesterday morning. I have a very strong vasovagal reflex when getting poked with a needle. In addition to the light-headed, fainting issues, my veins basically clamp down. The last time I had surgery, they blew out three veins before getting the IV started. Anyway, I made it through the poke and blood draining fine and thought I was home free. The instant they removed the needle (which has always, in the past, been a relief), I crashed. My blood pressure plummetted and it took another hour for them to get me revived to the point that I could drive home. I was basically down the rest of the day. I get to do this again next Monday. What fun. And by the way, for those of you who think about donating your own blood before surgery — note they charge you for it. My charge was $270, which I had to pay then file with the insurance — for each draw, or a total of $540. Between the reaction and the cost, it’s almost enough to take a chance on NOT needing the transfusion during the surgery. The bad news is that I thought they could use the blood for someone else if I didn’t need it, but apparently it’s disposed of. They don’t do all the screening/testing that they would normally do, so they can’t give it to anyone else. Learn something new everyday.

The home health-care nurse is coming tomorrow morning to get me “checked in” to their system. The insurance has approved her coming for four visits after surgery. She’ll check my vitals and make sure everything is healing the way it should. All this is making me nervous. I’ve never had anything done serious enough to need someone to come to my house before. I haven’t heard from the home therapy people yet, but I’m sure they’ll show up soon enough.

I dropped my application for disabled parking sticker by my surgeon’s office today. While I was there, they discussed the payment requirement. My surgeon is out of network and base price is $6K. The insurance will pay $1200, and he’s reduced his price down to $1100 for my portion — which is basically what he’d get if he were in network. I’m lucky in that I’ve got a great surgeon with his own practice. If he were in a joint practice, he wouldn’t have that kind of flexibility. Now, I have to have the same conversation with my anesthesiologist who is also not in network to see if I can make a deal with him.

That’s all that’s new for now. I’m learning that this health care business is a part-time to full-time job keeping up with stuff. Thanks for checking in.

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