Thursday, June 25, 2009

Stress, stress and more stress

F*^k optimism.

Just kidding. I thought that would grab your attention though. Aaarrrrggg….

I’m not gonna lie, it’s a very, very stressful time around here. Beyond the miscarriage which has caused me to be poked and prodded like cattle – there are 3 other major things causing our stress.

#3 – I’ve been extremely busy. It’s just been one of those crazy months that I haven’t been able to sit down, relax and take a breather. I haven’t had a no-kid day off in I don’t know how long.

#2 – Owen is having his tonsils and adenoids out and ear tubes put in on Friday. Set aside the enormous anxiety I feel about the surgery, if you knew what it took to actually get him in, you would understand the stress. We started out with a referred ENT in Flint because we didn’t want to have to drive to Ann Arbor for yet another doctor. He scheduled us for tubes right away but didn’t look at his tonsils while we were there. Well, this oversight escaped me until he had an appointment with one of his (yes I said one of his) neurologists to discuss his mild obstructive sleep apnea. The neurologist suggested we cancel the tubes and have the tonsils, adenoids and tubes all done at once. Good idea. We decided that if we were going to do the T&A, we may as well stick with U of M.

Flash forward to 2 weeks later and we still don’t have a phone call from the otolaryngology department (yes, I Googled how to spell that). After several phone calls and several days, still no one calls me back from U of M despite my notes that it’s urgent and a note from the neurologist ordering an ASAP consultation. They finally get me a consultation date of July 16th. Uuuuhhhh, yeah, not going to cut it. I’m furious about lack of urgency for at least the tubes. Everyday week that goes by, Owen is further delayed and at further risk for permanent hearing damage. I finally had to call the neuro’s office back and have the doc send a personal email . Even then they didn’t get back to us until we had decided to go back to our original ENT. It’s the first problem I’ve had with U of M before (aside from billing naturally), but I hope it will be the last.

#1 – Due to some changes, we will be switching benefits. Unfortunately, these benefits are going to have a major effect to our medical care. We were previously enrolled in BCBS which worked very well for us. With the new insurance co, our out of pocket expenses double and most of our doctors are not in network. If we go to a doc out of network, it will cost us 40% of the billed expenses in most cases. Of our family’s 7 doctors, 4 are not in network including Dr. Pauli, the family doc I’ve been seeing for 25 years, Owen’s neurosurgeon and Dr. Tykocki the wonder OBGYN. Beyond that U of M hospital is not in network nor is the hospital that Dr. Tykocki is affiliated with meaning, even if I could work something out with his office, he couldn’t do my prenatal care because I would have to pay 40% of my hospital stay when I had the baby.

I am literally sick to my stomach over it. I haven’t slept well in 2 days because we are not quite sure what we are going to do. Private health care doesn’t look like an option because of the expense especially with Owen. I don’t even know if anyone would cover him with a preexisting condition and if they did it would be at a huge cost.

On top of it all, we have $1000 that we’ve paid into a flexible spending account that if we don’t use by July 1st, we lose. I don't think that stools and light extenders will be covered but are their any suggestions for equipment/needs that a FSA will cover that Owen could use? Anyone have any suggestions or product recommendations?

Also, please tell me your T&A surgery stories. I’m completely freaked out. My main worry is that something will go wrong with the anesthesia or which the surgery and we will lose him. Ahh….ease my mind please!

Uuuuggggg….I rarely wallow and I really don’t want to after the last post, but I’m just really stressed out.


Alex said...

ok...where to start??
First of all, I am so sorry about all the stress...our little ones sure know how to keep us busy don't they?
Not sure if you saw on my blog, but Anaïs JUST had her T&A removed and ear tubes put in 3 weeks the same exact surgery.
The surgery itself was easy, she did not have any complications. I will be honest with you, recovery was A BITCH! It's prepared.
It's hard because their throat is SO sore and they can't really eat but they are still you can imagine she was PISSED OFF. It was pretty bad for 2 weeks and then she slowly started getting better. It has now been 3 weeks and she is fine but not 100% yet.
What was also quite hard is that she woke up at night A LOT for those first 2 weeks. Email me if you have any questions ok? :)

Anthea said...

I don't have a T&A story to share with you because so far that is one we have managed to avoid. But please know you are in my thoughts. I pray that it all goes well.

Hugs to you all.....

Laura Wolf said...

Cat, For the FSA, it can cover a lot of stuff. Looking down the road you can get stools and such for owen but it can be tricky. The FSA people need to see it deemed at a "Medical Supply" and therefore just picking up a stool at "Target" won't work. Think about things he could use in preschool for back support(lumbar pillow). You can get thermometers, blood pressure cuffs, stethoscope, first aid kits, bandages,Tylenol, cold/allergy meds, ect. Can pay for any doctor(medical,dental,eyedoctor) Glasses/contacts, even insurance premiums.Pedilyte is covered and I think also diaper rash cream. The list goes on. Some things not covered like vitamins, toothpaste, soaps, shampoos, femine hygeine. So good luck.

Destini said...

Wow, you do have lots of stress! Sorry things have been so crazy for you lately. Trace never had his tonsils out, but the adnoids and tubes are a breeze. The tonsil recovery is supposed to be pretty bad, especially days 7-10 when all the scabbing occurs. Hugs to you and Owen, and I'll be thinking of you this week. Finally, the FSA, first, make sure you have expensed every co-pay and co-insurance that you've had during the covered time. Then go buy a years supply of childrens tylenol and motrin and bandaids and the like, as well as grown-up medicine. You can also expense travel associated with doctor visits in some plans, which will re-emburse mileage and hotel stays. Good luck!

Lisa said...

Liz's had tubes three times and those are in fact a breeze. We're doing adnoids and tonsils on July 15. Yes, tonsils can take 2 weeks to recover, but I remember when I had mine out, it didn't take that long. So, we'll see. As long as the anesthesiologist understands achondroplasia and the potential issues, you should be fine!

Emily said...

Hi Cat, just wanted to say that I am thinking of Owen and your whole family today. Good luck with the surgery, I hope everything goes very smoothly. You will do great, Owen!

Kelly said...

I have not had to experience this situation yet. However, Landon has had the MRI and been put under and I hear you about freaking out, I was there. Stay positive everything will be okay. You all will be in our thoughts and prayers.

sharon said...

Hi cat

I hope the stress reduces soon. Fern had adenoids and tubes and the next day she was back to herself...she was alittle grumpy the night after the surgery but is no surprise i guess. i have heard it is 2 weeks recovery for tonsils and think that is probably sorer..i remember from when i had mine out. sorry can give you no suggestions re FSA...totally different system over here. i hope it all goes Ok stress will soon be gone:) Hugsxx

BRYAN'S YAYA said...

Hi Cat. Can't comment much as Bryan is sick in my lap and won't let me type. (Flu, we think) By now Owen s/b out..hoping everything went well. Bryan's tubes/'noids went well..2 days of grumpy and back to normal. We have not done tonsils but I hear it is way more down time.

I hope things get better for you soon. You will have your hands full the next few days...hopefully once Owen is recovered you can get a kid-free day.

Kim said...

Oh my gosh-Cat! Breathe-ok, I first of all hear you on the insurance. You are right-private insurance has the right to exclude pre-existing conditions which pisses me the f off because there was never a NON existing condition-considering the second you and Dan did the deed the achon was there. Try explaining that to the moron that answers your phone call at the insurance company and you have just told them something and they are like "SHIT where is that on our how to answer board."
So yes it sucks because you have found these amazing doctors. Can you use the flex spending towards day care?
As for the surgery-Seamus, Caden, Anais and others have all breezed through. Owen is a friggin champ and will do amazing.
I wish I can give you a big hug-or a big bottle of wine. Know I am here if you need a shoulder!
Oh and by the way when you said share a T&A story-totally was not thinking tonsils and adenoids.

Kim said...

Ok if your flex spending is through the insurance, screw my recommendation for daycare. Perhaps I should read a little more carefully!

Katie said...

I know I'm late on this post {been out of town all week}, but I would NOT suggest private insurance! We just switched insurance companies because we have private coverage and Cole just got dropped for all things related to achondroplasia. We are about to fight it, but in the mean time it totally sucks because Cole needs tubes. For Cole recovering from T&A was horrible! It took him a good 3 weeks to want to eat/sleep/drink. Trust was a looong 3 weeks! BUT afterwards his sleep apnea was gone so that was a plus meaning no oxygen! I read on your other post that he is already wanting to eat so that is great! cole was only 8 months when he had his done so it was really hard on him. I think insurance is a total scam and it pisses me off beyond belief!!! UGHHH! Good luck with it all!

Jeni said...


I am glad to read that Owen is doing well. Hopefully that continues.

On the insurance issue, can you open a Health Savings Account? It is different than the flexible spening account. The money put into the HSA is federal tax free (sometimes still state tax, not sure about Michigan) and the money rolls over from year to year and transfers between employers. If you can at least use federal tax free money to pay those 40% co-pays, that might have a net effect of like 10-20% since you don't have to pay taxes on that money.

As you are no doubt well aware by now, all doctors are NOT created equal. So if you can swing it, keep Owen with the docs you know are the best. We recently found out that Ben's hearing aids had been programmed using the adult program instead of the kids program, for the last 3 years. We had been taking him to an audiologist outside the University of Wisconsin system because that's what our insurance would cover. In retrospect, we should have just paid out of pocket and taken him to UW. AHHH!

Maybe we will get some universal health care system sometime soon and we won't have to waste so much time on all this B.S. We'll see.

All the best to you, Owen and Dan.


(P.S. I am not a tax lawyer so this is not tax advice re the HSA . . . just from one parent to another :)