Thursday, February 11, 2010

Holding on Tightly

Kendi fell asleep on her daddy's shoulder tonight, with her baby "Holly" and her kerchief. =-)

I always tell people to "hold on loosely until you can hold on tightly" when it comes to Ghana adoptions. I find myself holding on very tightly to Kendi these past few days. How many times did I pray a hedge of protection around her not to get malaria while she was in Ghana? Multiple times a day, if memory serves. Once I learned the very bad effect that malaria can have on HIV viral load I think I saw malaria as more serious than the HIV itself. To my knowledge she never did get malaria in her 10 months at Eban House. That's sort of a miracle. Most kids get it at least a few times while they are there.

I've been rubbing Kendi's belly a lot today, thinking about how perfect and beautiful it is now. The scar she'll have is a small price to pay for health, but now that the decision is made for the feeding tube, it is something I've thought about. I think that for a girl the scar will be a bigger deal than it would be for a boy. After all, boys will eventually have hair on their bellies! Her belly has 3 more days to be without blemish. The rest of her life she'll have a little battle scar to show for her fight against HIV.

The good news is that we ARE getting the mickey button after all! No PEG tube. The GI called the surgeon and griped at him for not getting us in before March. The surgeon's office then called us with an appointment for this morning, and surgery has been scheduled for Monday! Yea! We don't know exact time yet, but will know tomorrow. Kendi and I will have some alone time overnight in the hospital on Monday before coming back home on Tuesday.

I don't want to sound all "ugly American" but I am about to gripe about medical care. This is hard for me to gripe about because I know how absolutely BLESSED we are in America to have such good medical care (when compared to what is available in developing countries). My Ghanaian friends would give an arm to have the care we have. But now I'm going to gripe away....

Today and the surgeon's office we were checking out and the gal says, "Okay, that's going to be $600 to cover your deductible." For a second, I was thinking co-pay and I was like, "No, I already paid the $25, remember?" No, deductible. They want it upfront now. They don't want to wait for the insurance to bill me. It's their "policy." Hello?! I did NOT go to the doctor's office expecting to pay $600!!! And honestly, they really aren't going to give her the surgery if I don't pay it? They would just let someone become sick and die? Really? I started crying then and there. They were honest tears because there is no way we aren't doing this for Kendi, but there is also no way we would be paying our bills if that $600 came from our bank account! The lady's tune changed a bit. "How about $300? We need at least 50% or we need to cancel the surgery." I was sort of blubbering. I sounded like a total idiot. Without meaning to I totally played the sympathy card. It just so happened that cute-as-a-button Kendi wanted me to hold her, so it just so happened they could all the sudden SEE the child they were doing this to. And it just so happened that I mumbled about Eric's transplant and us being on short-term disability, blah, blah, blah. They handed me a tissue. Then it was, "Well, honey, what can you pay?" That's when I remembered our FLEX card! To the rescue! You know these accounts you pay into pre-tax that can then be used for medical stuff throughout the year? Yeah. We've got that. I forgot about it between all the sobs. Whew. I paid half and we still have a surgery scheduled for Monday.

THEN tonight the hospital calls me to get info for the pre-op appointment (tomorrow morning). At the end of the phone call she simply states, "Okay, now I just need to collect $500 from you to cover your c0-insurance." Wha? Huh? She's talking about the 20% we have to pay on top of our deductible. She reassures me that it's no big deal because if the 20% doesn't add up to $500 they will reimburse me the difference. Oh GREAT! That's nice to know lady. URGH. I'm not going to pay the hospital money that I might not even owe and then wait a century for them to reimburse me! Good grief! I didn't cry this time. But I hemmed and hawed. After a few minutes she says, "Well, I can just go ahead and file this with insurance if you with rather." Would I rather?! that.

I realize this all probably comes down to the fact that the economy sucks and people aren't paying the medical bills once they arrive at the homes. So now they are doing everything they can to collect payment BEFORE the medical procedure. However, when it comes down to it they do not HAVE to collect these payments. They WANT to collect these payments! When there was resistance, they backed down in both cases.


Okay, now I'm going to go cuddle my baby, and rub her belly a bit more.


Notes From The Frugal Trenches 1:43 AM  

Thank you for being so honest! I currently live in England. Here in England there is no fee for anything medical - physio, OT, Dr's, ambulance, surgeries, Speech therapy even braces. The most you can pay for any medication is $10, but if you are under 18, have any disability, are over 60 or low income you pay nothing. I remember being in Washington and my mom was rushed to a hospital with insurance, good insurance. Do you know two days later some of the same families were waiting for treatement that were there when my mom was admitted? I kept asking the Dr's and nurses why they weren't in there being treated (we had top notch service/treatment) and they kept trying to explain it to me and I just kept looking at the Dr's in the eyes and saying - but they are sick.

So many of my friends say to me "we don't want a free service with all the paperwork" but I have to tell them because now I've lived both in England and Canada *where both have free health care* there is *no* paperwork, because everything is free for everyone no patient has any paperwork to do, there is nothing to prove. If you need a specialist your GP simply makes a referral via an electronic system and voila within 3 days you get a phone call for an appointment within 2 weeks (unless it is an emergency). I sometimes wish if people understood how easy it was they wouldn't be so scared of it.

I'll be praying for Kendi!

Laurel 1:50 AM  

Don't worry about the scar. When my little 8 y.o. was just 3, he had over 100 third degree burns, from Bacterial Meningitis. His body is covered with scars, primarily on his arms and legs. We call them his "testimony scars" and he is actually now quite proud of them. They are his reminder ... his testimony ... of God's healing power. So, let Kendi's scar be a testimony of God's goodness, to bring her to America to get the treatment that she needs. I really believe that if you speak of it positively, that she will, too.

mama off 13

bbqdaisy 3:17 PM  

Hi Anita =)
I will be praying for your beautiful Kendi on Monday and throughout the weekend (and for you, her SWEET mamma)!
I know all to well about surgeries and medical bills (although probably not as well as you) ... we have every time applied for financial aid through the hospitals (Childrens was AWESOME about it and such a HUGE BLESSING) ... I don't know how we would have paid for Faith's 8 surgeries! As I know you know, boy do medical bills add up FAST!!!
Prayers of PEACE and PROVISION over your family!

We are Grateful!!! 4:32 PM  

Hi Anita. Checking in. We will continue to pray for you all over the weekend and Monday too.
So sorry you are having to deal with paying up front on top of everything else. We do need a change...but for what? Certainly not something less. And good grief, not government run...have you been to a Post Office lately??? :)