A Tough Year
Wow… I can’t believe it has been a whole year since this all started. It sure doesn’t feel that way… but, in another sense it feels like it had been this way forever!
In August of 2021, I went in to see the doctor for a regular check up. Everything seemed to be ok at the time, but I just happened to mention the fact that I had been having random pains in my upper right abdomen. Nothing major, just a few twinges one in awhile.
She set me up to go get some lab work done and have a CT scan of my abdomen… which I did. This was in October of 2021.
The labs came back abnormal. They said that my rbc count was high, my alkaline phosphatase was high and my LDL was high. The CT scan also showed that my gall bladder was distended. There were also gallstones present.
February 2022: So the doc sent me to have an HIDA scan. A HIDA scan is an imaging procedure used to diagnose problems of the liver, gallbladder and bile ducts. They insert an IV into your arm and a radioactive isotope (or tracer) is injected into your vein to help look at the bile-excreting function of the liver and to track the flow of bile from the liver into the small intestine.
The night after I had the HIDA scan done, I received a phone call from an unknown doctor (supposedly the dr who goes over the results of these scans). He told me to get to the ER as soon as possible… that I was in danger of my gallbladder bursting.
I felt no pain, it was late, and I did not have a way to get to the ER (other than ambulance, which I did not want because of the cost – $200 out of pocket – even with insurance.). I told him that I would go in the morning.
Even though I really did not feel that I needed to go to the ER, I went anyway. They admitted me, took some blood, and inserted an IV to keep me hydrated. Then I sat in the waiting room.
After about 1/2 hour, they called me back and put me in a bed that had a curtain around it for privacy. From there, they wheeled me down to a room in the radiology section and did an ultrasound. That was fun… (not really). I’m glad I had been doing deep breathing exercises over the past few months, because the technician had me take in deep breaths and hold them for like 20 – 30 seconds at a time while she scanned my abdomen.
After that, I waited for another hour or so and then the doctor came back and told me that I was being released and to go see a gastroenterologist about having my gallbladder removed.
So, I left the ER and went home.
When I got home, I called the Gastroenterologist’s office to make the appointment. I was told by them that I needed to have my primary care physician (PCP) send in a referral in order for me to see him. I was like – isn’t the ER recommendation enough? No – it wasn’t. I needed to have a referral from MY doctor. UGH! Sigh… ok. So, I went and sent a request to my PCP to have a referral sent.
The next day, I received a letter from Florida Medicaid stating that my doctor was no longer covered under their system. I’d have to find another doctor. This also meant that I would be unable to get the referral.
(I actually think that it was due to the HIDA scan that the plan I was originally under dropped me… the scan cost over $1000)
So, I called the GI back and told them that I no longer had a PCP and that I would get back to them once I did.
I started researching doctors and health care plans (not my idea of a fun afternoon).
Finally, I decided on HUMANA, which was a name that I recognized, and signed up. I then tried for weeks to get an appointment but they kept telling me that there was nothing available until June.
A NEW DOCTOR
Months went by. I was still in minimal pain… maybe a twinge now and then but nothing major. My family and I decided to take a road trip up north to see other family in May/June 2022. When we got back, I decided that I should change health care plans, since this one did not have any appointment openings until September and they did not return phone calls in a timely manner – I was not happy with them.
I then decided on another plan and found a dr who seemed to be highly rated and was in my coverage area. Things looked promising.
The doctor’s first decision was to send me to get blood tests done. Then she told me that she was going to send in a referral to a GS (general surgeon) for me to have my gallbladder removed.
I went to see the surgeon and he set up my surgery date.
August 16, 2022: This was the date that I was to have my gallbladder removed. After a year of bureaucratic BS, it was finally going to happen. I went in to the surgery center that morning, had what is known as a Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy, and was home again by noon. BOOM.
It seems that when “the system” works, it works well. The only problem is that there is too much government involved in our health care system. Things do not work as smoothly as they should. Case in point: The surgeon told my husband that he didn’t understand how I was ambulatory. I should have been in so much pain that I would not be able to move. My gallbladder was so inflamed and swollen that it could have burst at any moment. If the government had not been involved, I would have been able to see that first gastroenterologist. He would have removed the gallbladder back in February. As it was, because of the Florida Medicaid bullshit, I was NOT able to see him, had to go searching for doctors, etc. and almost had a medical emergency because of it.
It had been a tough year… but it was almost over.
It has now been 4 days now since the surgery. I am up (most of the time) and feeling much better. The warnings that I was given regarding what I should and should not eat, are not really making much of a difference in my food intake. I’m almost under the impression that the reason that I was not in pain was because my gallbladder was, in essence, dead. It seems almost that I have been living without a gallbladder for months now, and my body was already acclimated to the idea that I could not process bile any longer.
Last night, I ate a sugary dessert that should have left me with an upset stomach, gas, diarrhea, etc. It didn’t.
I am sore… but that’s to be expected. Other than that, I feel GREAT!
Blessed Be! )0(