Monday, October 3, 2011

Health insurance.
What a good idea.

The economy is really in the pits right now, but you couldn't tell from my current situation. I'm not living the life of Riley, but right now I have enough work and with a little luck, I will continue to have a non-negative cash flow for a while. Because I don't have a long-term iron clad contract anywhere, that could change. At least until the end of the year and likely for a while longer, I am living the life I can afford, if not the one I wish to grow accustomed to.

This wasn't always the case since I started teaching. Back in early 2008, I didn't have health insurance and a false alarm became a very expensive nightmare. Right now, I definitely budget in health insurance and Kaiser, a system I am used to, is well within my price range. (Note that cable TV, a car and a cell phone are NOT currently within my price range. As I said, not the lifestyle I wish to grow accustomed to.)

About a month ago, a little irritation on my left heel started acting up, and I went to the Kaiser emergency room. They put a bandage on it, gave me some antibiotic cream and told me to take a wait and see attitude.

I waited a month. It didn't get better.

Last Tuesday, I saw my G.P. He said he didn't like the look of it and sent me to surgery. I had the wound removed and they gave me a bandage that was to be left on for five days, a boot/sandal to wear while it was bandaged, antibiotics, both oral and topical, and some pain stuff just in case it hurt a lot after the local wore off, which I used a little the first couple days. And, oh yeah, there was an x-ray before the surgery.

The co-pay for everything last Tuesday was about $50.

As of now, the bandage is off, the wound is healing normally and it doesn't hurt to walk.

Yay, Kaiser!

Granted, Kaiser isn't perfect. I got three different diagnoses (ulcerated wound probably caused by diabetes, infected wound, skin cancer), but they did a biopsy and the best news of the three - infected wound improperly healing - appears to be correct. Also, the G.P. sent me to surgery, but the surgeons saw the trouble was below the ankle, so they sent me to x-ray, then podiatry. The runaround means something that should have taken three hours took more like six.

I can live with that. In more ways than one.

And of course, even though I'm a God forsaken liberal, I do economize so that I can afford health insurance, so the crowds at GOP debates don't have to cheer for my death.

On the other hand, I have reasonably priced health insurance because my union fought for it, yet another reason I will NEVER belong to the Tea Party or the Tequila Party or any of those silly political movements named for beverages I rarely drink in any case.

Here's hoping you are covered when things go wrong. With the human body, it's as close to a 100% likelihood as you can get. Moreover, seeing a doctor regularly means you might be able to detect something before it turns into an expensive trip to the emergency room.

Health insurance. What a good idea.

Wait, didn't I just read that someplace?


susan s. said...

Oh good for you and Kaiser! I know I don't know you well, but you are a friend of the Padre. His friends are my friends, and so I am glad to see that you have priorities aimed in the right direction! ;-) Now I am going to say something you may think is too personal.

I can't remember how old you are, but since you have Kaiser, I want you to make sure you have a colonoscopy when you are 50. It is my sermon to everyone who has health insurance. I did not have one until I was 58, and I ended up having cancer surgery and chemo. . . twice. Believe me that's a lot harder than prepping for the procedure. So have that checkup when you hit the big 50, OK?

If in fact you have already had your screening Colonoscopy, please disregard this message!

And once again, congratulations on the healing of your heel!

Matty Boy said...

Thanks, Susan. I have in fact had the check-up. In fact, I had Kaiser and then came back, so I had two numbers and they did not have a record of my first exam, so I was subjected to two in the space of a couple years. I've been told I can wait five years until the next.

susan s. said...


Anonymous said...

Good one Susan. I too had waited and ended up with Stage I cancer and surgery. I had radiation and Chemo and check in every year for a PET scan. Not fun. To be honest, once the cancer was discovered my insurance company dropped me like a hard rock. I was one of those candidates that couldn't get insurance because of a pre existing condition. It was my Congressman who helped sign me on for my Veterans Benefits, I was in my youth Army All the Way. So it came in handy in my 50's.

Matty Boy said...

My dad is a veteran. He is very keen on the service he gets from the local Veteran's Hospital.

Karlacita! said...

Hey! I'm 50 this year, and I'm prepping today for my first colonoscopy (tomorrow morning)! Yay healthcare! Yay strange serendipitous comments coincidence!

I'm glad you both caught your cancers in time. Whew!

susan s. said...

Very good, Karlacita! !

Speaking as a veteran of many colonoscopies, Desitin is your friend!

What time is your appointment?

Karlacita! said...

Tomorrow at 11. Desitin beforehand?

susan s. said...

During prep. Yes before the first results of prep fluids, if you get my drift!! Provides protection for sensitive skin!

Karlacita! said...

Aha! Thanks!

susan s. said...

MattyBoy, I apologize for taking over this thread, but these things are important sometimes. . . I think we're thru.

namastenancy said...

I am glad to read all the good advice on this column. Plus, I'm glad that you have insurance that takes care of these things which can balloon into huge health problems if not taken care of immediately. I had a friend with type 1 Diabetes. He was an interdependent contractor, lost jobs due to the economy and didn't have decent insurance in the first place. Long story, tragic ending.
So, good for you for taking care and let's hope that the US comes up with a better solution to the heath insurance issue.

BobManDo said...

I'm still rooting for Single Payer "Medicare for All"... It is insane that healthcare in america costs double compared to all other industrialized nations. Single Payer is good socialism and good medicine.