Friday, September 5, 2008

Hospital Stay

I've been eagerly awaiting the bill for my hospital stay for at least a couple weeks now. I think my friend L had already seen the totals for her surgery and hospital stay within a couple weeks of returning home. I was a little jealous of that (I'm also jealous that today she got the green light, as it were, to drive again and I have yet to hear anything . . . but then, the concern with her was would the driving hurt her back, not would she drive off the road and into innocent bystanders, hurting herself and others).

Anyway, as of today I am jealous no longer in the matter of the hospital charges—my bill, or rather, my summary of charges that are going to be submitted to insurance (thank goodness) arrived today, and I think, by sheer numbers, I've beat L hands down.

My total, for 24 nights: $142,154.28—and that doesn't even include a surgery.

Some of the subcategories include 13 days in the ICU for $46,449 (the regular room, without the private nurse, was $1,200 less per day, totaling a mere $26,202); Pharmacy for $20,957.29 and Drugs/Detail Code for $9,181.76; MRI—Brain for $6,156; and Phys Therp for $2,439 and Occup Therp for $1,887 (not including Phys/Therp Eval: $216 and Occup/Therp Eval: $218. Why the $2 difference? I don't know.). There were also thousands of dollars of Lab and Pathol.

Now, I know things in hospitals are expensive, and I understand that operating costs are high, but $2,439 for Physical Therapy? They were all charming and friendly, but I think they got me out of my bed a half-dozen times and walked me around for a total of up to 100 yards, and maybe 20 minutes. They didn't even take me up stairs, or suggest it, or remember to ask if there were stairs in my home; Ian and I took that jaunt by ourselves (it did look strange, I think, for the two people who used the stairs while we were there, to see me sitting in a wheelchair on the landing, nowhere near the elevators. Going where?). And the Occupational Therapist came even less often, although she helped me shower twice (and, frankly, that was worth $1800), and encouraged me to get out of bed and sit in a chair. But she didn't make me, or even watch me.

One thing that was difficult to work around in the hospital was the IVs and the oxygen tubes. Here I was in the last few days, supposed to get up and brush my own teeth, supposed to sit in a chair, if possible supposed to use the bathroom, but I was tied to my bed pretty effectively by the tubes poking into me. Eventually, maybe a couple days before I was released, my 24-hour IV stopped so it was only O2 holding me. Even so, it took a lot of initiative—something hard to come by after weeks of lying in bed—to stretch to the limits of my hoses and tubes and not just stay put. Even while I desperately wanted to be somewhere else.

Anyway, there is some chance that I'm not remembering the all the visits from the physical therapists or the occupational therapists, but I really don't think they came when I was intubated, and I know no one ever came to see me on weekends.

I will say this—it's a good thing I was hospitalized after Ian started his new job and our new insurance kicked in, because the old insurance has a $100,000 yearly limit, and we're pretty sure the new one doesn't have a limit at all. I will say this too—it's also good that I was hospitalized over the summer, because the old insurance doesn't actually kick out until the end of this month. So we should have plenty of coverage to mop up the bulk of this.

And I will say this as well—it is good to be home. SO GOOD.

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