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Another Year, Another Sinus Surgery

How I feel most days...It’s a new year, so it must be time for another sinus surgery. I’m both super ticked about it and super-relieved to get it done. I’m really suffering recently with epic headaches and a horrible smell in my sinuses that won’t go away. Given that my sinusitis is worse now than it was in October right before that condition that warranted my first surgery in 6 years, this surgeon is taking much more drastic action. I feel pretty much like the photo most days either from my headaches or from my painkillers. It makes getting work done and staying motivated almost impossible on a daily basis, but I charged through it hard enough in the first half of December that we are almost set for January as of this week (more on that later). I have a couple of sites to wrap up to close out and a couple who have paid their deposits to begin work after I recover, so it’s the best of both worlds right now.

This is now my 10th sinus surgery and my second in 90 days. Here’s what happened:

What didn’t get done last time

From what I understand of what was done in October was basically a power wash under general anesthesia. She didn’t mess with my septum or go for anything related to my frontal sinus other than rinsing it out. After surgery, I wasn’t culturing anything, but both sides re-developed scar bands that connected my septum to the outer wall, blocking access to my upper areas. She was really upset that it happened, but I’m gathering that it happened because my septum bends both ways and was simply too close on either side to keep the tissue separated while it healed. My second opinion revealed that he couldn’t even see how to access my frontal sinus to rinse it in the office.

Surgery OrdersHe will be re-aligning my septum (black eyes, anyone?) and removing a lot of tissue and creating a 4-lane highway to my bothersome frontal sinus. My surgery is scheduled for 10am at the main hospital as an out-patient procedure, but one local friend said his surgery there by the same doctor was scheduled for 9am and he got put under at 4pm. He got a “free” night’s stay at that point because of the bleeding. Given how much I bled in October, I would guess we will be staying overnight, too. Beautiful said she was changing my dressing every half-hour or more until midnight and we live a little more than an hour away from the hospital during the evening rush that I would potentially be released in – not to mention my extreme sensitivity to motion and bumps even the next day. We don’t own a Jaguar, you know?

My pre-op appointment

Talk about a complete waste of a day. Talk about a complete waste of Beautiful’s day off! We arrived downtown at 8:20 for my 8:45 appointment. Thankfully at least half of Tampa had the week off from work so traffic wasn’t horrible. When I registered, I had to try to convey that the finance person had agreed to allow me to have my appointment and surgery without paying that day (more on that below). She checked me in and told us to go sit in the waiting area – 15 minutes later, she arrived with my paperwork to have for the back, indicating that she had to verify my story before allowing me to proceed.

A full 20-30 minutes after my appointment time, we were escorted back to the room. After waiting another good long while, a full 45 minutes after my appointment time, someone I’ve never seen walked in and introduced himself as “blah blah, I’m a resident with…!!” Excuse me?! I brought my wife to meet the surgeon and you’re telling us he’s at a different hospital for my PRE-OP appointment!?

/begin rant – I was fuming – not sure how well I hid it, but I was about to tell him exactly what I thought about the surgeon not being there to meet my wife and explain to me what he was going to do differently than my last surgery… not to mention traipsing in 45 minutes late when you’re not even a full doctor. I’d like to send that resident an invoice for my valuable time now that I’m a professional man myself. You’d think that being the first patient of the day would guarantee being in and out quickly. Apparently not for that office or resident, one of the two. Perhaps I’m being a little rude, but I find it to be rude to do that to my clients, so why shouldn’t he give me the same consideration I give my clients when the doctors are getting enough in two hours that would take me 3 or 4 complete projects to bring in the same revenue from. – /end rant

Anyway, he started to explain what surgery was… okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but not much. Hi, I’m Jesse, and this is my 10th surgery. Please just tell me what procedures are going to go on and what he expects for post-surgery, if you even know. After no more than 7 minutes we were on our way across the street to the main hospital for pre-op stuff. We waited at least another 90 minutes to be done there, which pretty much consisted of waiting, weighing, 3 vials of blood, confirming my meds and allergies, and looking at a representative from anesthesia (notice that phrasing) who looked annoyed at the phlebotomist being there at the same time as her. She filled out paperwork, asked one or two questions, slid over a paper with what meds I was allowed to take on surgery day, and left.

All told, we where there for over 4 hours and never saw anyone involved with my surgery! I’m not sure if I’ll be continuing seeing him after my post-op visits or not, now that I feel like source of income rather than a patient.

Insurance

It looks like I’ll hit my deductible and a portion of my max out-of-pocket for my insurance in the first week of 2011. We actually had a little discussion with the hospital because the doctor wanted the co-pay at my pre-op appointment on December 28th. Can you say, “potential insurance disaster” by paying a 2011 expense in 2010? We’re not going to pay hundreds and not have it count towards 2011 because it wasn’t paid this calendar year, so they agreed to accept full payment after they bill my insurance and know how much is remaining.

I’m going to go ahead and order a bunch of meds from PSI mail-order today so my first pharmacy expenses to meet my $500 deductible is somewhere that will allow for settling it in two payments instead of one huge one at the Publix pharmacy counter. We have the rest we need in a medical deductible savings account ready for 2011 due to the excellent foresight and planning of Beautiful to be ready for the crazy expenditures that drained everything except our emergency account last year. Thursday, I can go into surgery, take 5 (more) days off from business, and not sweat a thing about the bills. It’s really going to make resting and healing a LOT easier than any time before, even October’s free surgery because I wasn’t prepared to take the time off from work without generating income as well as now.

Comments

  1. Unknowncystic says:

    A second surgery so soon. What a drag. I wish you the best and hope they fix it correctly this time.