Archive for August 12th, 2011

August Financial Update – How am I supposed to pay for this surgery?

Friday, August 12th, 2011

As promised:

Debt June 3, 2011 August 12, 2011* Difference
Credit Union Visa 6049.14 5878.02 -171.12
Credit Union Loan 4930.93 4670.37 -260.56
Amazon Chase 1653.00
Perkins Loan 2564.06 2464.72 -99.34
Nelnet 12632.51 12519.60 -112.91
Total 26176.64 27185.71 +1009.07**

Here’s is my updated financials chart, as promised. Some good, some bad, as noted below.

Unfortunately, it’s about to look a whole lot worse. I did not add any of the pending medical bills because at this point I only have rough estimates of what those are going to be. I was told that my portion of the surgery costs is going to be $6175, less some mysterious discount but “we won’t know what that will be until we submit for payment.” Given that I just received my explanation of benefits for the ER visit, and the discount listed on that sheet was a big fat whopping ZERO, I’m going forward assuming the whole $6,175 is going to be mine. This does not include the aforementioned ER visit (and it’s expensive lab tests and ultrasound), of which my “insurance” is covering approximately $300. Nor does it include the pre or post-op visits to the surgeon. Not to mention any additional costs that might arise should I need to see my own physician to get clearance for returning to roller derby in a month or more. In any case, the number is probably going to land somewhere between $7500 and $8000 if my estimates are correct. Ouch.

I’ll be honest here. I haven’t got the slightest clue how I’m going to manage to pay for this. Trying to figure it out feels a whole lot like trying to figure out single premium immediate annuity rates. (I don’t even know what that means!) In other words, I’m kind of panicking over here. After I make the required payments on loans and credit cards, and set aside utility payments and the gas/food budget… I have $4.01 out of one paycheck and a whopping $42.91 out of the other. Not going to get very far at that rate.

My first plan of attack is to cancel the cable. I’m talking both TV and internet here. The TV portion of my Comcast bill is about as low as I can get it, and canceling just that raises the internet price, so I wouldn’t save much money without canceling both. That should free up between $75-80 a month. Honestly, Internet generally feels like a necessity in my life, but at this point I don’t see any way I can leave it on. Prior to the gallbladder attack, I was starting to consider making this change for awhile anyway… I was hoping to put that $80 towards one of my loans and pay it off faster.

I do have an iPhone though, so the ability to access Facebook and my email from that will just have to do for awhile. I considered moving to a cheaper phone without a data plan and keeping the internet, but I’m still under contract for two more months. Plus with the internet options available in my area, it seems like the savings would be a wash either way. And at least with the phone, I have my internet in my pocket and not only when I’m at home.

Beyond that, I don’t really know. Maybe I should start a chip-in… do you want to help me pay for my surgery? LOL I’ve admittedly been a bit lax in my budgeting lately, so I’m cracking down on that. Going back to “snowflaking” religiously rather than letting any extra from categories coming in under budget just fritter away somewhere. I keep an eye on the job ads, but it seems like everything that pays more than my current job doesn’t offer enough hours, and everything that is part-time/less than my current job is something that wouldn’t work as a second job. I’m at a loss. And really stressed out. I guess I’m going to pay what I can and hope it all works out. I don’t know what else to do.

*Even though the date is nearly halfway through August, balances do not necessarily include August payments. Many of those were just made today as I logged into these accounts to check balances.
** The thousand dollar jump in the total is due to the fact that I decided to finally quit pretending that I didn’t have a balance on the Amazon card, or that I was going to be paying it off so quickly that it didn’t matter anyway. With a number of purchases that could no longer be put off, as well as my changing financial situation, this card is turning out to be my “emergency fund” of sorts and is therefore still in use and not likely to be paid off anytime soon. Therefore, it earns itself a spot in the table even though the balance jumps around quite a bit.

Yes, I’m alive! (The Post-Surgery Post)

Friday, August 12th, 2011

plush-giant-gallbladder_med
Source*

The astute among you will have figured out that I did indeed survive my gallbladder removal on Tuesday, based on the picture I posted here on Wednesday of me looking so pretty during surgery prep! That or you read my Facebook page. :)

At this point, 9 days after the surgery, being back at work for 4 of those days, I feel like I need a Retractable banner stand to set up next to my chair at work. It should read:

“I feel fine.”
“Yes, my incisions are still kind of sore.”
“No, I don’t need anything.”
“I don’t care about the surgery you had 15 years ago.”

Hehe. Everyone has their own war stories, right? Some of them just want to share them with you. Repeatedly. Every time they see you. Even if that is four times a day.

As far as my own surgery, it went very well. I never got as nervous as I thought I was going to… just a bit apprehensive. By far the worst part of the whole ordeal was waking up from surgery. I woke up sobbing and writhing in pain. Somebody LIED to me. At this point, I’m thinking it was the anesthesiologist, but it may have been the surgeon. Either way, one of the two, in the pre-op chat we had gave me the impression that I would have plenty of pain drugs in my system by the time I came around and would essentially feel no pain. LIES, all lies. Granted, they were administering pain meds shortly after I woke up so I wasn’t in pain for very long at all, but for a minute there, it was AWFUL.

I also wasn’t a fan of my recovery nurse. She seemed to favor efficiency over being friendly and soothing… She put a wad of kleenex in my left hand for coughing and nose blowing, and put my right hand on the blanket over my incisions and told me to apply pressure before I coughed. But then I kept “getting in trouble” for using my left arm when she wanted me to set it down so the machine could take my blood pressure. I don’t remember what else she kept asking me to do, but I remember telling her that I couldn’t do it, and her snipping that yes you can. She wasn’t really MEAN (or maybe she was, I was pretty out of it)… her bedside manner could use some help is all I’m saying.

Once I got home, everything went pretty well. I thought I was going to pass out before I got into the apartment, so even as lightheaded and slowly moving as I was, I practically sprinted up the stairs to my apartment to get in the air conditioning and a glass of water. My super awesome friend Amy, who took half a day off to take me to my surgery, got me settled at home and went to the grocery store to fill my painkiller prescription and pick up a few things I wanted (applesauce) or she thought I needed (gummy bears). I spent a good portion of the next couple days sleeping off the painkillers either in bed or on the couch. I also watched a lot of TV on Netflix. I got pretty restless and bored after awhile since I wasn’t allowed to drive until I was off painkillers for 24 hours, and was therefore necessarily at home, mostly by myself, for 5 days. (This? A very good decision by the way, if some of the Facebook comments I left some of my friends in a painkiller stupor in the middle of the night are any indication. As in, they made very little sense when viewed later… not a good sign for my decision making abilities at the time.)

My friends were lifesavers in that regard… but that is a story for another post, I think. This one is plenty long enough at this point and I doubt many of you are still with me! I also still need to post about the financial impact of the surgery… I’ll get that post up soon, with my financial update. Maybe even later today… no promises. I’ve been back to work since Monday… that day was rough, I assure you, but I survived and am doing much better now!

*I found this plushie through Bakerella, who posted about the kidney one that she received after her replacement. Pictured above is the gallbladder one, obviously. Now I just need to convince someone to buy it for me!

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