what are you doing and how much is it gonna cost me?

so, had what they call an ?exacerbation? last night — asthma, that is. gave up on trying to be asleep around fiveish, tried various ways of dealing with it, finally around sixthirtyish, i woke chris up and said, gotta go.

good thing about asthma is you never, ever have to wait in the waiting room.

i go to the county hospital because the people there are nicer, and it’s right up the street, and it’s a UCLA teaching hospital. just like it there. anyway i get there and they’re talking chest x-rays, IVs, blah, blah, blood work, admit, blah, and then he glances at the chart and says, you have Medi-Cal? and i say no, i have sucky HMO. and suddenly he’s talking other options — well, you can go the conservative route, … and i realize, oh my god, he’s talking about money. i had MediCal for ages, you keep coverage until you’re earning a living wage, and you get used to that, whatever health care your doctor sees fit, within reason. you forget about the money. the copayments and deductibles and shit like that. suddenly i’m looking at each health care person as they come into my little area, watching to see what supplies they might be using that are going to show up on my bill. that tissue — how much for that? they sure change gloves a lot, do i have to pay for each glove, i wonder? i watch for the little stickers – everything that has a little sticker, is money.

well, good news is, i have about four times the airspace in my lungs now than i did when i went in. the bad news is, i’m so wired it hurts. in other news, i’m thinking i should just go to work, because, well, i spent a bunch of money this morning. however, i haven’t had real asthma medicine in a long time, i’d forgotten how much better i feel.

and i’m too wired to really think about this in any depth right now, but the difference between Medi-Cal care (maximum everything, almost wasteful) and HMO care (minimal, stingy) is huge. if i’d been on Medi-Cal they’d have prescribed one inhaler like a carrot on a stick and told me to see my doctor for more. on the HMO they prescribe like a year’s worth, right out of the ER, because they know you don’t want to be going to the doctor if you don’t have to.

so, i feel great, and i’ve changed my mind about work, i’m going to see if i can finagle some working from home. yeah. even if i end up doing it over the weekend or something. i think i’ve just given myself the day off.

20 thoughts on “what are you doing and how much is it gonna cost me?

  1. Asthma sucks….
    Not being able to breathe sucks worse..
    I am so glad you went to the ER…
    you were not feeling well for a very long time..
    Hope you are better real soon, Kd!!

  2. my lugies are still completely lacking in green and brown stuff. but you can bet i’ll take pictures if i hock up anything spectacular.

    oh, and ruminator? i wouldn’t worry about your kid liking the albuterol high. it’s unpleasant. it hurts.

  3. “I don’t want Albuterol, I want Ventolin!”
    “Maam, they are the same thing…”
    “No they are not!”
    “Maam, calm down, the amount of oxygen in your blood is too low. You are going to use this or I’m going to have you restrained.”
    “Well, when you put it that way…”

    Which is to say, I’ve been there, and I hope you feel better. Today is National Goofing Off day anyway…

  4. That’s it, I’m going home!! 🙂

    Oh KD do I EVER understand. I haven’t had to go to the emergency room for an attack since two years ago this past Christmas – thank the God and Goddess!

    You are VERY smart to “work from home.” 🙂 I know that the two times I ended up in the ER with an attack, ain’t NO WAY I was doing ANYTHING the following day. Your body goes through SO much exertion during an attack like that, it is exhausting like no other physical thing on earth.

    I know how you feel…and I’m glad you got hooked up with some good meds. {{{HUG}}}

  5. hey, i liked the part where i was an inspiration to workers everywhere to cast off the chains of duty and run out the door shouting WEEEEEEE or something like that.

    yeah. the meds are pretty ok.

  6. Glad to hear you’re feeling better.

    Managed care is a corrosive thread of which the fabric healthcare system is shot through.

    The important thing is breathing tho, hard to write when you can’t breathe.

  7. My son is a severe asthmatic, so I’ve spent more than my share of time in hospital emergency rooms. I’m glad that they got you cleared up. Nothing scarier than not being able to breathe.

  8. well, in some ways, not having medi-cal pay for everything, meant a lot less stuff — i didn’t get poked or irradiated, and i don’t think that was necessary, it was like, the ultra-cautious approach.

    and, the doctors are very understanding — he wrote out a variety of prescriptions, like, here’s a lot of refills on what you need, here’s just enough of another thing you need, and here’s something you will only need if you hock up brown or green stuff. i kinda like that approach.

    not that i like HMOs for making it necessary like that, but… in this case…

    and see? it’s doctors orders i check the tissue when i hock up a loogie. it’s not only _not_ weird, it’s just good, sound medical advice.

  9. Yeah! And- it’s Friday, too. I like the idea of working from home… or the beach- heheh 🙂

    (p.s. I always checked the tissue)

  10. i have asthma too, but it’s not been a serious bother in many years. although, that said, i still get tight every now and again and get out the Rx inhaler. i went through a round of pills too, recently, when some bronchitis screwed up my lungs.

    older son has it pretty bad too. we’ve been to the emergency room several times with him. he was on a nebulizer for several years. now, with his drug problems, we’ve been afraid to let that get started again for fear he’d find some way of getting high on the stuff. (that part DOES seem to be getting better.)

    so far, young son appears free from the asthma — thank God.

    so, you have my well wishes from one who know. and… fwiw, i work from home quite frequently. in fact, i’ve been writing proposals here at the house and now need to go up to campus to run them around for signatures. (where are those student assistants when ya need ’em? 🙂

  11. one daughter and one grand-boy with severe asthma – my thoughts are with you, kd. It ain’t easy and it ain’t fun . . . for you . . . OR for the ones who love you.

    take care.

  12. I’ve got chronic bronchitis and asthma… and I’m a daily pot smoker. Life is great! 🙂

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