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December 04, 2008

Comments

Rest up, Hilzoy. All the best.

Best wishes on a speedy recovery. (And unless I miss my guess, $20K is a considerable underestimate. Though you won't know the full amount for at least a year, as bills for different services will keep arriving.)

Yeah, someone I know well had an emergency gall bladder operation a few years ago and the bill was in excess of $30K. (She had insurance. Whew.)

Other than that little tidbit, I second Von and Mike. Take it easy -- be nice to yourself -- rest and recuperate. When I had my knee surgery last spring I didn't end up needing the oxycodone for long, but while I was taking it I sure did enjoy those long naps.

As I commented before, I had my gall bladder out in 98, about 10 years ago. After all of the bills rolled through, the net payout was about $700 me (co-pays and deductible) and about $6500 insurance.

That does not include the $1200 that one provider tried to balance bill me (that is charge the difference between the insurance "negotiated rate" and their "standard fee"). This is a violation of their contract with the insurer, but which now many providers try to hit patients for (and if you read the fine print in your consent forms, they "technically" can try to do this), though most back down if you raise a fuss and/or contact your insurer or state insurance board about the practice.

My insurance now has a $1000.00 deductible, 90/10 for preferred providers (if all of the providers in the hospital are in your network--70/30 otherwise), and a (hopefully never used) $2,000,000 lifetime cap. With the increase in rates, if I had to go through another surgery now, the out of pocket would have probably been in the $2500-$3000 range, in addition to more time spent winding down the out of bounds balance billers. At least 1-2 of the providers at the hospital would not have been in my network, since hospitals have spun off or outsourced many of their "typical" services, such as testing, ER, Internists, and anesthesia. At my closest hospitals, under a previous insurer, I would have been in network in the ER, but not at the hospital proper, and for my wife's last surgery, the hospital and the surgeon were in network, but the internist who visited her during her stay was not--and how the HELL do you figure that out before you get the bill?

I have read some who said that you should do the homework before you go in, and ask to verify if that particular health professional is within your network. When my wife was in the hospital, I was short on sleep and time and didn't see half of the doctors who visited her (and she was on some wonder narcotic that basically caused her to forget the entire experience once she was done). When I confirmed with my HR that I could use FMLA (after my manager first objected that I didn't give 30 days notice for her emergency admission), shuttling between her hospital bed and home (pets and sleep) still kept me not fully cognizant of what was happening--I just wanted her better, and not to die. That is not the time when you are able to ask the doctor who may be able to save your wife's life if he is in network or not.
< / soapbox >

And hilzoy, if they haven't advised you yet, make sure you know how foods affect your new digestive system before you leave the restaurant. 'nuff said.

Glad everything came out ok, hilzoy. Welcome back.

Now might be/might have been a great opportunity to catch up on some reading.

Rest well, and get well soon.

A speedy recovery to ya.

I, too, am all for plastering over every last crack people can fall through in the health care system.

I am self-employed and I bought my first health insurance policy when I turned fifty. Within the year I was diagnosed with Tonsular cancer and had to have a major operation and radiation. Scary coincidence.

I'm glad you are OK!

If a laproscopic surgery costs 20,000 I shudder to think what my colectomy must have run. I had a retinoplasty done which cost my insurance company 40,000 a couple years ago and three other surgeries including a cornea transplant prior to that. Without insurance I'd be hundreds of thousands in debt. Or blind in one eye and working on colon cancer.

But socialized medicine sucks, right?

Wow. I'm glad you're all right. Welcome back.

Excruciating pain would probably have ended up driving me to the emergency room - but being as I'm unemployed with no health insurance, any other set of symptoms would have had me avoiding the emergency room and basically waiting to somehow get better... even if it was a mistake. I couldn't afford to take on the game-changer debt. So, if frugality was as dramatically not the right move as in this case, and if pain didn't drive me to break it... I guess I might not have resurfaced. Your case does put that in a special light. (Healthy so far. Or, my ignorance is my shield and buckler.)

Tut tut hilzoy, haven't you -seen- Sullivan's post today? Government healthcare is rationalist and collectivist, apparently. (But not miserable.) Surely with freedom and a market, those who cannot afford the surgery you had to have are still better off than they would be under a system that would pay for their surgery, but is rationalist. And collectivist. And therefore works to exterminate freedom.

Get well.

Wishing you a speedy recovery, Hilzoy.

My mother had emergency gallbladder surgery about 7 years ago; admitted through the e.r., tests, surgery, one overnight - the bill came to $49,000.00 then. My parents did not have insurance at the time (long, complicated side issue), nor did they have $49,000.00.

Catastrophic? You bet.

Wow - I'm sort of glad we didn't know, because I'd've been very anxious for you. I'm glad you're taken care of and on the mend.

What I don't understand about people who oppose universal healthcare coverage is why they can't see, or can't acknowledge, that it would help the economy rather than hurt, by enabling people who would otherwise be too ill (or dying) to be self-supporting get healthy enough to be self-supporting.

Welcome back, and take care.

Jesus, Hilzoy.

Get well soon.

I'm always curious what the provider actually receives rather than what the billed amount is. We always hear how people get billed huge amounts, frex wren's $49,000. But what is collected?

In medicare cases it is something like 20%. In insurance cases it is something like 60%. In uninsured cases it is something like 100%. Why? Well, the feds just won't pay much - period. And they have rules that no one can be billed less than medicare is billed. The provider responds by setting a huge price on the procedure in order for the 20% medicare payment to be even remotely reasonable. The provider has agreed with medicare to charge everyone the same so everyone is billed the same astronomical amount. The insurers are wise to this and agree to pay only 60% of the asking price which is close to approximating the true cost of providing the service. The poor uninsured schmuck who is ignorant and has no bargaining power gets billed the whole amount. Why doesn't he just pay 60%. He can't. The hospital has to fight tooth and nail to get a few people to pay the full amount so it can justify that the high price is "the true value".

It's a huge distortion caused by the government.

When I see charts showing how high medical costs are I always wonder what number is being reflected: list price? amount collected from insurance? amount collected from medicare? or the average of all collections which is closer to the true number?

Rest up. Get well soon. And take care.

Get well soon! And I say this partly in the interests of everyone else, because Hilzoy posts make the tubes light up with joy.

I'd be interested, if you don't mind, to see you blog about your bill. I'm pretty sure that these bills are inflated because they know that insurance will only pay a certain percentage. I think that it is the same scam as the notion of 'sticker price'.

Glad to hear you are OK. I was starting to wonder.

I am a little torn here though. On the one hand I want to say rest up and forget about the intertubes for a while.

OTOH I think I would pay good money to read an Oxycodone fueled Hilzoy rant.

;)

All the best, hilzoy. Thank goodness they diagnosed you so fast. And yes, national health care would be a blessing.

aimai

Best wishes for a speedy recovery, hilzoy.

Take care, & get well soon!

good to hear you're OK, Hilzoy.

Rest. Get well soon. The world is in not nearly ready to be without Hilzoy.

OTOH I think I would pay good money to read an Oxycodone fueled Hilzoy rant

Seconded. It would be nice to get a tap into what hilzoy's brain is cranking on (no pun intended) without her usual rigorous filters in place. Wondering if it'd be anything like DaveC's natural unfilteredness.

Possibly, though, hilzoy's thought processes while whacked out on pain meds are far more orderly than mine, rested and dead sober. Probably, I'd hazard.

I'm glad to hear surgery was successful and that you are doing well.

I agree that many underhanded acts are prevalent in the medical insurance and billing. My wife is on medicare and had an occasion to go to an emergency facility in Phoenix a couple of years ago. She went in with severe abdominal area pain. She was there for two hours all spent on a gurney, had one blood test, was diagnosed with a kidney or urinary tract infection, given a prescription and released.
The bill was in excess of six thousand dollars which I didn't know about until months later. I suspect there are numerous immigrants who are treated with no ability or inclination to pay for the service and these kinds of charges for fake services are used to make that up.

One area on this subject I would like some discussion on, Hilzoy. I worked for 50 years and am now in retirement and always have had insurance. I know over that period many things I could have used that money for were passed up because medical care was important to me and my family. I often wonder when I hear all the laments about health insurance costs if those people complaining have arranged their expense priorities in a way that puts health insurance before all the optional modern conveniences and technical gadgets like this laptop I'm using now. I personally believe the evidence would show this type of behavior to be more than anecdotal.

Get well, Hilzoy!

Wow. That sounded pretty serious - now I'm embarrassed for my jokey "liveblogging" comment yesterday!

So I'll retroactively replace with sincerest best wishes for a rapid and thorough recovery.

Thoroughly blogged, too: as much as you feel like!

Be well, rest up! Hopefully someone's brought you a copy of some inspirational text like Chicken Soup For The Soul... it can be a hilarious read when you're pumped full of pharma...

Glad everything was resolved successfully. Take it easy and get well soon.

Feel better soon! My sister-in-law just had her gallbladder removed, and she felt better after a week than she had in months. Follow the diet, though, not following it can prove . . . embarrassing.

Major win to you for thinking of the uninsured at a time like this! I was uninsured when I started getting sick (porphyria) and I did exactly what you guessed the uninsured do: lived through excrutiating stomach pain, hand tremors, etc., until the psychiatric symptoms kicked in.

That's why I voted for Obama. If I had had insurance, I might not have the nerve damage I have now, the permanent nerve damage, to be exact. There is no reason, in this time of amazing medical marvels, for people to suffer and die of treatable illness. It is shameful.

Goodoleboy: most uninsured are like I am: poor. I didn't spend my money on expensive gadgets, I spent it on food and rent and deoderant. Don't buy into the GOP talking point that if the poor would just work harder and stop buying McDonalds, they'd be rich.

Think about it: one of the blood tests I have to have done every 6 weeks to test for liver function costs $145. I take 5 rxs a day for nerve damage, etc. I have to eat a special diet, which is expensive. Without insurance, I would have no way to pay for all that, unless I made 10x what I do now. Even with insurance, my copays are killing me, and from time to time, I do without rxs and push back doctor's appointments.

Good to know that you're on the mend. Please get well soon. We need you, but no sooner than you're up to it.

"It would be nice to get a tap into what hilzoy's brain is cranking on (no pun intended) without her usual rigorous filters in place."

Well...

My first memory, after the operation, is me in the recovery room. I do not remember the doctors telling me anything about how it went. So when one of the doctors came by later, I asked, and said that while I had no such memory, I was sure there was a part I didn't remember, because of course I wasn't taken off anaesthesia in the recovery room, so they might have told me then.

He looked very surprised, and said: you don't remember? I, suddenly scared, said: remember what? He said: oh, you were the friendliest post-anaesthesia patient we've ever had. We usually roll people off the operating table and onto the stretcher; you said: no, I can do it! and cinched yourself over. You thanked all of us about five or six times. And you seemed completely with it. -- I probably was, I said; it's just that I wasn't laying down any short-term memory, and still have absolutely no recollection of any of this.

So, apparently, unfiltered me is very grateful.

I had my gallbladder out about 10+ years ago, and will testify as to how excruciating the pain is. I remember being on the floor in a fetal position more than once. The best description of it I can think of is strictly from a male perspective (but there probably is a female analog): like being kicked by a horse DIRECTLY in the..er..'bells'. OW OW OW.

I was self employed at the time and had just bought health insurance. They made me wait an additional 5 months (6 months total) before they would cover their portion of the surgery. My pain, while excruciationg, was intermittent, so I guess my surgery wasn't a true emergency, but nonetheless, it was a very long 5 months; I ate a lot of jello. I think the total bill for the surgery and one day in the hospital was about $16k (in 10+ years ago-dollars).

Having to put up with debilitating pain attacks for 5 months and shelling out $7k from my freelancer's pocket makes me...one of the lucky ones. Relatively, VERY lucky. Our health care 'system' is an absurd, cruel mess. It is axiomatic that the people who are (paid to) obstruct a humane, comprehensive reform of that system all have good health insurance. My humble curse: that they briefly taste the experience of having gallbladder or other organ disease with no or inadequate health insurance. The issue would quickly become something other than a philosophical debate to them.

BTW, you should feel better in a hurry, Hilzoy (if the surgery was laproscopic). I didn't have to change my diet really at all, and I never think about my missing French Wineskin.

I don't know if 'most' uninsured are poor. Many are. During the campaign, when this was one of the major issues for discussion, statistics were frequently used that showed many young people in excellent health who can easily afford health insurance choose to forego that option. It's a gamble.

My sense is that there is an extreme amount of abuse and cheating by providers in the health insurance and medicare arena. I see no way this could be better under a government universal health care system, only worse. And I have had enough life experience to know that I want to avoid approaches that don't give me choices or alternatives.

We need to learn how to adopt measures that will help reduce the enormous costs of services we use but still have them provided in an arena where we will have choice. We know these services have excessive unnecessary costs. Healthcare and higher education are the worst. I just do not see how one can think that government is the way to make it work better. My worst and most frustrating experiences in dealing with service providers have been with monopoly organizations like utilities.

Now we are approaching the time when we may even decide car manufacturing in Detroit is an essential American right We are on the wrong track.

Our health care 'system' is an absurd, cruel mess.

no no no. our health care system is an example of how free people think and act. all hail the market and rationalism!

the invisible hand provides the best care.

OTOH I think I would pay good money to read an Oxycodone fueled Hilzoy rant

"You might think that a party claiming to be committed to family values would at least think about the consequences of their zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz........" :)

Glad you're feeling better hilzoy. Take good care of yourself, we miss you when you're not here.

Thanks -

Get well soon.

My worst and most frustrating experiences in dealing with service providers have been with monopoly organizations like utilities.

Maybe this is part of the difference in perception.

Other than my cable company, my experiences with pretty much any government agency or government-sanctioned private monopoly (power company etc) have been pretty positive. Somebody answers the phone, they generally know what they're talking about, my problem gets solved.

I live in MA, maybe things are just particularly well run here. I'd actually be surprised if that were so, but it could be so.

Or maybe I'm just lucky.

My dealings with private vendors, less so. It always takes about 10 times longer to get anything done than seems necessary.

The exceptions are small, locally owned and operated folks -- hardware store, nursery, roofer, etc.

I'd pay money to never have to deal with my phone company again. My wife would pay very, very good money to never have to deal with a number of office automation software venders again.

Just another data point.

Hope you're back in full strength again soon, hilzoy!

Thanks -

My husband had outpatient surgery (what a concept!) a year ago. We have insurance, but a huge deductible, so the hospital offered us a rate of $10K if we paid before surgery. Not knowing whether that was high, low or sideways, we decided to let the insurance company negotiate. The hospital billed insurance $20K, and they settled on $18K.

What a stupid, stupid system.

Get well soon, hilzoy, but don't push it. Recovery takes time.

Get well soon, big H. And nice post, too; if more people thought along those lines after surgery, we might not be in the mess we are.

Get well soon, big H. And nice post, too; if more people thought along those lines after surgery, we might not be in the mess we are.

"One area on this subject I would like some discussion on, Hilzoy. I worked for 50 years and am now in retirement and always have had insurance. I know over that period many things I could have used that money for were passed up because medical care was important to me and my family. I often wonder when I hear all the laments about health insurance costs if those people complaining have arranged their expense priorities in a way that puts health insurance before all the optional modern conveniences and technical gadgets like this laptop I'm using now. I personally believe the evidence would show this type of behavior to be more than anecdotal."

No.

Fifty years ago there was a middle class. One person could get a steady job with insurance and a pension plan annd work at that job and raise a family. That sort of job has become unusual. Now a "good" job pays for half o of the family's income and might have insurance or a retirement plan but might not.

My nieces are in their twenties. Both have mastere's degrees. One works as a barista and makes quite a bit of untaxable income but gets no insurance or retirement. The other works as a tutor also with no insurance or retirement. Afer paying for rent, (no car--neither can afford one), food, phone(cell), payments on school loans and so there isn't enough left for an insurtance policy that amounts to anything. (I think they have coverage for major medical, nothing else.)

I think you just are not in touch with the realities of the current job market.

BTW I have insurance but only because the state pays for it as a subsidy for my job. Most of the people in the county where I live are uninsured unless they work for the state or are wealthy Republican retirees who don't give a shit about anything except keeping their taxes down. (that's not a shot at you, goodoleboy. It's a shot at them. I live in a wealthy retirement community and exposure to my wealty Republican neighbors has not led me to respect them.)

Sullivan, and his ilk, are engaging in a quite 'sublime' form of stupidity. No 'ism' is perfectly applicable, or inapplicable, to every problem - communisim, Catholicism, et. al.: no ism is. Light or minimal government regulation makes sense in some spheres. Insurance is inherently - definitionally! - 'socialistic', so government involvement makes perfect sense there.

You don't have to be a marxist to be horrified at the implication that human health - and human life - are a commodity, like any other. Rationality, in Sullivan's and some corpro-libertarian's sense of the word, is and ought to be thought of as a *tool*, an attempt to make useful sense of reality; it is not reality in itself. When the tool appears inadequate to the reality, people like this, who are deeply in love with their little invention, decide that it's the *reality* which must conform to their tool. Such sublime stupidity must be the most major flaw in our species, since we exhibit it all the time.

Unlike the majority of his countrymen, our Andrew can prefer the current American system to NHS because he has, and has always had, good health insurance in the US. I'd like to see him - an HIV+ man - try to buy health insurance for himself in the free, open, rational market.

Hilzoy, feel better soon! Rest, don't push, give yourself some real recovery time.

Wonkie, if it's any help, wealthy elderly Dems are probably not much better. Mark Twain observed that most people get more self-centered as they grow older.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Hlzoy!

As to the costs of getting sick, in 2001 I contracted toxic shock (still not quite sure how). By the time I went to the hospital, I had so much toxin swimming in my bloodstream I was barely funtional, let alone rational. I can't imagine trying to figure out details like costs at a time like that.

Fortunately, I had insurance. The cost for the hospital alone (one week in ICU, one week in a private room, dialysis) was on the order of $47,000. My out of pocket was around $1,200.

Point being: All this talk about being rational consumers of healthcare is all fine and dandy, but it's all pretty much irrelevant when you have a 105 degree fever and a heart rate of 170, or when you're doubled over with abdominal pain.

Oh, and yay Oxycodone!

Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Hlzoy!

As to the costs of getting sick, in 2001 I contracted toxic shock (still not quite sure how). By the time I went to the hospital, I had so much toxin swimming in my bloodstream I was barely funtional, let alone rational. I can't imagine trying to figure out details like costs at a time like that.

Fortunately, I had insurance. The cost for the hospital alone (one week in ICU, one week in a private room, dialysis) was on the order of $47,000. My out of pocket was around $1,200.

Point being: All this talk about being rational consumers of healthcare is all fine and dandy, but it's all pretty much irrelevant when you have a 105 degree fever and a heart rate of 170, or when you're doubled over with abdominal pain.

Oh, and yay Oxycodone!

I already wished hilzoy well in an email, but I didn't want my silence in the comments to be interpreted the wrong way. So, get well and stay well. We all need you.

So, apparently, unfiltered me is very grateful

A shock to us all.

Oh, and yay Oxycodone!

Yeah, um, you know I'm really good at disposing of any extras you have. In a totally safe, environmentally safe, um, manner.

Feel better, please. Also, what OCSteve said.

Hilzoy, thanks for this, and best wishes for speedy and complete recovery.

Which, as you point out, is facilitated by having health insurance that covers treatment of this painful episode.

I don't. In September, I had a milder version of the same experience, pain from the area of my gall bladder strong enough that it prevented sleep and sent me to the doctor the next day. I, too, had a sequence of tests -- blood work, followed by ultrasound, which found no problem with my gall bladder but did detect a probable liver cyst, followed by an MRI to make sure that the cyst was not something more threatening. It was not. Hooray!

The pain faded over the course of two weeks, and appears to have been my gall bladder complaining loudly about a spike of over-indulgence in high-fat dishes (the result of finally having an oven after almost a year without one, capped by a dinner party to which my cousin brought delicious but very buttery homemade baklava).

At several stages, because I'm a 'self pay' patient, doctors worked to make sure I got the procedures at the lowest price available. The bills keep coming, but I think they've all arrived; the total is well over $3000. If I had had to have the gall bladder removed, with a hospital bed stay, however brief, it's hard to imagine that the bill would have been under $20,000. As it is, I'll be paying off the bills I have well into next year.

Unwilling to go up against the insurers alone, I've been gambling that the government will finally establish some form of universal health care or health insurance available from a public pool before I or my partner experience serious illness or injury.

There are millions and millions of us, and tens of millions of others nominally "insured" but whose serious medical episodes are made even more stressful by prolonged wrangling with the insurer.

But AHIP, the health insurers' lobby, has a better-positioned and more comfortable seat at the Obama table than those who speak for me. Max Baucus says single payer's off that table. Other transition leakers assure the insurers that there won't be any "oppressive regulation." Official liberals, rather than going for single payer, the only approach that can really remove the paperwork and profit-predation of the insurers that so burdens patients and non-insurance businesses, are offering the weak tea of a public pool component to Obama's insurance-friendly plan.

Last night brought news that a friend is being treated for leukemia. This provoked deep sadness for her, but also a pang of terror at the reminder of my vulnerability. If the Democratic administration and Congress come through, great. But I'm not going to count on it any longer. In the thickets of the horrifically expensive, not-covering-enough offerings available to us, I just have to take comfort in the money I've not fed the insurance racket over the last fifteen years. (Nor for the fifteen years before that, but during those years poverty made it simply not an option.)

Wow, hilzoy. Please take care, don't overdo it, and get well soon!

Glad to know you're well, Hilzoy. But when you write "...No Gall Bladder!", do you mean that you didn't get to take it home with you? That would seem only fair. It was yours, after all, and you had spent so much time with it over the course of your life thus far. I imagine keeping it in a jar of formaldehyde on the mantle as a conversation piece. "This is a picture of my great aunt Betty back when she was a contortionist touring Romania. This is my gall bladder. This is a lock of Edgar Allen Poe's hair."

...Oh, crap. I was mixing you up with Wednesday Adams. Nevermind. Get fully (like 100%) well soon.

Back to short-term memory when you're waking up: when they were almost ready to send me home after my knee surgery, I said I was hoping to see the doctor before I left, to hear the details. (There had been some significant uncertainty about possibly doing major work that would have put me on crutches for weeks.)

The attendant said the doctor had already talked to me when I was in the recovery room. I said no, I didn't think so.... The attendant was kind of amused, like it was a little entertaining that I didn't remember.

For crying out loud, doesn't this happen all the time? What do they think they're accomplishing by talking to people who won't remember any of it?

/rant

The doctor did also call my son, who was more or less awake at the time. But still...

Something to ask about if I have to have the other knee done, I guess.

Sorry about the double post, everybody. Not sure how that happened either!

Sorry about the double post, everybody. Not sure how that happened either!

I'm glad you got it taken care of so quickly, and that you seem to have come through it so well. Keep taking care of yourself and recover quickly.

Be well!

Heal quickly, hilzoy.

My gallbladder came out in 1994, when we had the HMO. I believe I paid $500 or less. That included an extra couple days in the hospital for a series of post-surgical tests to figure out why I got jaundice. Apparently it could have been Something Very Bad or an enzyme deficiency. It was the latter. Now that I know to pay attention I can see that I get slightly jaundiced if I get the flu. (They told me that it almost certainly happened during my pregnancies but that I just didn't notice. I'm not sure about that but being sure has never been enough to entice me to get pregnant again.)

Still, had I no insurance ...I shudder... I wonder if the physcian would have even ordered the tests? Probably not, just told me to come back to the hospital if I started having extreme pain and to stop nursing my baby until I could get tested for Hepatitis.

So speedy recovery ...

hilzoy,

I'm so glad to hear you are OK now. Please get lots of rest and have a speedy recovery.

I don't have much else to say (just getting caught up with my lurking), except this really puts into perspective how dangerous our growing unemployment problem is since presumably many of those people are also without health insurance. Every time we read a headline in the news about the latest job cuts, remember that something like this will be happening to some number of those folks.

Wait just a dang minute here. I'm sensing a sympathy suck... this isn't the same gall bladder you had taken out in California a while back now is it?

Or was that your tonsils? Couldn't have been your prostate...? What the hell was that anyway? Appendix? Damn dementia.

(heal fast kid).

Get well soon, hilzoy!

Much like TLTIA I'm returned after a bout of lurking and working -- I'm as surprised as anyone, actually -- so seriously, feel well soon!

hilzoy, let me add my best wishes for a quick and complete recovery.

JanieM: What do they think they're accomplishing by talking to people who won't remember any of it?

I suspect this happens quite a bit. I observed a similar event recently when my mother was hospitalized.

[slight change of subject]

There's more wrong with the current medical system than just costs and a large number of uninsured. Some patients, especially older ones, who do not have family and friends to act as advocates, may receive questionable care even if they are insured. Even with a vocal personal support network errors large and small occur.

Money is not the only thing seriously wrong, though in my view the current payment system exacerbates the problem.

I don't want to go into detail right now about my mother's illness. Maybe later.

Bill in OH @ 12:12 and 12:13pm. You had me laughing in fits for about a minute with your double posted apology for double posting earlier. You've made my day =)

Get well of course hilzoy, everyone's missed your posts. I felt deprived, not that I have any such right.

My best laugh of the thread was when cleek sarcastically said :

"the invisible hand provides the best care"

There's more wrong with the current medical system than just costs and a large number of uninsured.

There is so much wrong with the current system that it's vastly simpler to list the things not-wrong with it. Too bad reform opponents often see this as a rhetorical strength...

All the best to you on a speedy recovery.

To echo what Bernard said: Don't rush things. Allow recovery to take its course. Rest, hilzoy.

I have plenty to say on health policy – but not on a “Yay, Hilzoy is OK” thread.

Because, ah, the important thing is that we still have our Hilzoy… And that means a hell of a lot.

I’m guessing it will come up again though. ;)

Echoing the echo: Don't rush things. Allow recovery to take its course. Rest, hilzoy.

I hope you feel better soon, but don't let feeling better make you push the recovery, mmkay?

I'm glad you are OK but were you kicked out of the hospital the day after surgery?

They tried to do that to me, the rep came in an told me the insurance was not going to pay after that day, while I was still hooked up to IV's and had a catheter in place.
I asked if he would like to remove the catheter for me(the drugs made me bold, I'm usually shy)and he mumbled something and came back later and told me I had another 2 days

Diane: more like they let me leave. And it really was fine, surprisingly.

Plus, while I normally work straight through minor illnesses and injuries, above a certain threshold I am really good about letting myself rest.

xanax: it was my appendix. I'm just working through my useless organs.

Well, OK then. (Just be grateful it wasn't your prostate.)

I'm just working through my useless organs.

I hope, hilzoy, for your sake, that the list of remaining "dispensables" is very short indeed...

Feel better!

Glad you're alive and in one (remaining) piece. Get well soon!

I have plenty to say on health policy – but not on a “Yay, Hilzoy is OK” thread.

Sorry if I'm showing a lot of bad taste talking about health policy in this thread (although it's not exactly inapposite given her post).

I trust your prognosis is very good, Hilzoy. Barring something unusual, you should soon be able to pretty much forget about ever having had this particular optional organ. I hope so!

Hilzoy, I'm sympathetic to your pain and I can tell by your subsequent posts that even though there is less of you now, whatever humours originated in your gall bladder seem to have been useless as well .... or something.

In fact, I'm having sympathetic shooting pains in the lower right quandrant of my abdomen and accompanying night sweats. I can simulate any disease brought up in conversation.

I had a female doctor once with a curious bedside manner. She was very competent and all, but she possessed a clinical cheerfulness that I found, well, alarming.

Periodically, I have my collection of moles checked. On one occasion, as she peered closely at one on my chest, she stepped back, pointed at it, and exclaimed "I'll bet that a has a good chance of being a melanoma!" in a tone of voice that suggested an avalanche of research grants coming her way following her presentation of my miserable demise at a medical conference hosted by a swanky four-star international hotel.

I half expected her to tap dance into the hallway and join an ensemble of the other doctors and nurses in a peppy musical number by Stephen Sondheim, entitled: "I Just Met A Girl Named Metastasize"

Speaking of prostates (someone, maybe Walter Matthau, said he had a prostate the size of a bagel, and I don't mean to take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), another time, just before Christmas, she gloved and jellied up and just before the fateful procedure, asked me, as if she was Santa and I was a three-year-old sitting on her lap at Macy's, "So, what do you want for Christmas?"

Before you could say "an X-Box" I was being vigorously examined and declared smooth and supple, which was on my list of stocking stuffers.

She skipped the "ho,ho,ho", though I gave out something along the lines of "Yaaa, howdy, jeez".

I detected a note of disappointment in her demeanor as she recorded our encounter on her computer..

I switched doctors soon after, preferring at least an attempt at dour gravitas from my care-givers as they look for bad news.

I've been almost entirely away from ObWi more than a week, so I only just read this post and thread: all sympathies to Hilzoy, and I'm very glad that she's on the way to recovery, with all best wishes for as smooth and quick a path to that as possible!

@OCSteve: Hilzoy's post was at least partly about the importance of having medical care financially covered, thus (to me, at least) not completely a 'yay, Hilzoy is better' post or thread.

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