Three days ago, I received another hurdle I would have to jump over to get my spinal surgery. I still have many more hurdles to jump over, but this one involved the surgical assistant. I was told that Ivanka is out of network and I would be billed for her services. Shit. What does that even mean? Well, in my impaired physical health, I did my best to decode, answer, and resolve this health-impacting question.
I called and left a voicemail with my insurance case manager or whatever [ICMOW].
They didn’t call me back, so I called the mainline and spoke with a generic representative. I was told, with fast and confusing communication that forced me to state “I don’t understand” twice, that the provider’s office would need to call them to ask for authorization. It was such a frustrating phone call that all of my energy was drained. I was about to lie down when I received a call from my ICMOW, who proceeded to talk faster with more confusing and contradictory information.
Hey, and you thought this essay series was getting boring!
After asking my ICMOW to slow down, where my breathing was audible as I was in pain from trying to figure out all these new jargon terms that were forced on me over the phone as I was trying to figure out what the hell was going on, I was nearly crying when I said that all of this was contradictory to what I was just told by so-and-so about two hours earlier, and I really needed to lie down, so if this information could be emailed to me, I would greatly appreciate it, because this phone call was getting to be too overwhelming.
When you’re in that much pain, you don’t even need to play it up.
I was asked to be put on hold while my ICMOW talked to a supervisor about what to do, and after what seemed like enough time where I could hang up the phone and forget about this terrible phone call, I received two answers. The short-term was that my spine doctor’s office should fax in a “deficiency case” for Ivanka with my case number to see if they could get things sorted out. The long-term was that my spine doctor’s office should file a credential for Ivanka so she could be part of the insurance network. Without that, if my insurance could verify that Ivanka – who would be the assistant to my spine doctor during surgery – is not the only assistant in a 30-mile radius, then I would be charged for Ivanka’s services.
If that’s a clear-cut explanation, let me tell you, that was not clearly explained to me.
I explain all of that perhaps to be of service to others. The American Healthcare System seems to be full of these sorts of disasters waiting to happen, where everything is covered under insurance except for one minor component, except the way it was initially explained to me by the insurance company, in my condition, I understood it to mean 100% of the surgery would be under my cost. Now, anxiety is not a cause of spinal conditions, but it can amplify any sort of physical or mental condition, and when I understood it that I could be paying for everything – surgery, hospital stay, medical equipment, and et cetera – I’ve only just been able to calm down.
So, I believe everything is sorted out now, and I believe I may be in the clear.
This, so far, has been unrelated to the Rowing Machine physical health essay series, but it ties in with this thought: I have normally lied down when I’ve been under this incredible duress. However, this time, my spine has not allowed me to do so. My legs are numb. My spine is hurting. I am hungry, but I fear that if I move at this point, I could risk hurting myself. I’ll, then, remain here until my body gets itself in order. It is repairing itself. I can feel it, slowly, with the sort of positive goosebumps feelings that I get when I watch videos that I enjoy. I’ve been thinking about how Bruce Lee had his spinal injury, and how he was able to recover, partially by meditating that he had people repairing his spine. I think that was what he used to abstract the healing process; sorry, I’m not sure.
So I must focus on healing while also pressing ahead with these medical monstrosities.
If there’s any positives to be said about these situations, I can say that it is helping me to develop new tolerances in ways that I never thought possible. In the depths of some of the worst pain in the past week, I focused on linguistics for the first time in months, and sorted through some minor language puzzles. Nothing significant, however, it was still enough of a mental distraction to allow my worker bots to attempt to repair my broken body, broken further by unsympathetic insurance company representatives that bulldozed their way through the phone call without concern for me.
Oh, I guess I still have some animosity in my system.
I do feel now like I can walk around like normal. I have my walking cane if I need it. I’ve moved my legs for the first time in about one hour and they feel fine now, except for some minor numbness in my left leg, but that’s normal. Hmm… here’s an interesting note to conclude on: I was feeling significantly better this morning. Last night was a bit rough after taking a long hot bath, but this morning, I was feeling well enough to sweep my kitchen and bathroom floors, do some light cleaning, and I wasn’t in any significant pain. It was nice. I felt almost normal. I wanted to resolve my insurance questions as quickly as possible.
I’ll need to moderate my energy over the next few days to get basic information from them, unfortunately.
|Sources: My fitness experiences.
– This week’s weight: 216.5
– Last week’s weight: 211.5
– Difference: For the updates between writing the essay and updating the essay with the weights, I had my spine surgery on August 31 and things have been healing up acceptably. I’m still not doing great overall, but I’m not in as much pain overall, so despite the pain for a few weeks immediately following surgery. For the weight side of things, my lowest weight was mid-August to 203.0 pounds, just before I wrote this essay. I haven’t been too strict with my weight during the recovery process since I don’t want to deprive myself of nutrients, but this uptick from 203 to 216.5 is going in the wrong direction, so I should try to be more disciplined now that things are starting to normalize. Also, for logistical interests, I weighed myself Friday night – during a bout of diarrhea – and weighed in at 218.0. I ate some high-fiber, whole wheat foods to help the diarrehea. I felt better. I woke up and weighed myself: 216.5. The numbers aren’t an overall measurement, just the weight at that exact moment, but I always try to weigh myself on Saturdays when I wake up, so I keep a consistent measurement schedule.
|Inspirations: The current shit I’m dealing with, but I’ll leave a note to myself about how this turned out when it gets closer to this essay’s publication. [Turns out they didn’t even use that assistant because of my insurance’s problem with the assistant’s company.]|
|Related: Past weekly column entries. Sober Living essays and Tripping On [The American Healthcare System] chapters.|
|Written On: 2020 August 21 [1:50pm to 2:30pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 August 21 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|