When I heard those words, "We have a problem with your insurance", I froze. Everything was right there within my reach and all I could think was that my stupid insurance was going to screw it up.
Small side trip here. My insurance isn't insurance per se. It's a government health plan. That's what you get when you are military or retired military. There are times when it covers much and times when it doesn't cover at all. There are many prescription drugs we can't get because Tricare won't cover them. It's a true love-hate relationship a person has with this health plan. Right now, I am fighting tooth and nail to be able to see an ob/gyn out in town for my yearly women's checkup and mammogram. I do not wish to go on base/post because a friend of mine had her mammogram on base/post (it's Army and they call it post and we're Navy and we call it base) and got a call months later to go back and re-do the test. Why? Because the person reading the mammograms obviously didn't know what they were doing and misread quite a few. They had to perform an audit and suffice it to say, many women had to go back for another mammogram and anxiously await results and hope and pray they didn't have breast cancer that took the opportunity of no diagnosis to grow. Yeah, I don't want any part of that hot mess.
Back to the story....
The patient representative informed me that my procedure wasn't covered by Tricare.
HUH???? I told her that indeed it was because they offered it on base, which is where I first heard about it.
She told me to give her a few minutes to call Tricare back and she would call me right back. I knew then that my surgery wasn't going to be on Tuesday, August 16. I sighed and she was quick to tell me we were going to work something out and I would have surgery at some point that week.
Within the hour she called me back with not so good news. Apparently, Tricare would cover the gastric sleeve on base, but NOT out in town. Now, tell me how much sense that makes?? Absolutely none. She went on to tell me that I had two choices with their practice. I could do the lap band or gastric bypass. Wow. Talk about two extremes. I had to let her know for sure the next morning what my decision was and how I wanted to handle the situation. We mutually decided before I got off of the phone to let her schedule me for the gastric bypass on Thursday, August 18. I told her I had to talk to my husband and support group and if the decision was going to be different, I would let her know the next morning first thing.
I got off of the phone and took a deep breath. This totally turned my mind around. I was as prepared as I could be for the gastric sleeve, but the gastric bypass?? Do you know what they do with a gastric bypass, people? Click on this sentence and see this mess. Yeah, that's what I was looking at doing inside of my body.
That evening Neighbor Debbie and Neighbor Greg came over and The Man and I sat down sat down with them for a serious hard down discussion. I made the point that before I even knew about the gastric sleeve, I was seriously considering the RNY (short name for gastric bypass). We all talked about pro's and con's for a while. Neighbor Greg had a valid point when he said I wasn't a stranger to the RNY and I was extremely serious about losing weight and getting healthy. The Man was highly concerned with me having my insides cut up and rearranged. Truth is, I was having concerns of that nature my own self. I called Lu (who had RNY 8 years ago her own self) and we had a talk where she supported whatever I decided.
By the time we went to bed, I was positive the RNY was the way to go. I was too obese and miserable NOT to do it and get healthy.
My husband works for an amazing place in his military retirement. They have family emergency leave you can take each year that doesn't affect your own sick or personal leave. His supervisors were absolutely wonderful (no, they don't read my blog) and told him to do what was necessary to make sure I was okay. All in all, he ended up taking almost two weeks off to care for me.
We went the day before surgery to do all my pre-op stuff. I was starting to have myself one doozy of a headache because there was no caffeine in my system. My health nut of a doctor requested that I walk two miles the night before surgery. I was informed this makes the body produce natural blood clotting properties and helps with surgery. I knew I couldn't walk two miles. See, my body had gotten so bad that walking was becoming quite an issue with me. Just standing at the sink to wash dishes or doing laundry would make my back feel like it was going to snap in two. Part of that is due to weight and a weird injury I did to it in my early 30's. I asked if swimming was allowed and was given the go ahead. Neighbor Debbie went with me to the pool so we could get my exercise going on. The pool was empty and all ours. We went from end to end dozens of times. We went from side to side in the shallow end walking and running. We were so exhausted when we finished, it was a chore to walk back to the truck to go home.
By the way, I did the nicotine test at my family doctor's office. I had no choice. I made her promise to call me if I failed (in case I hadn't waited long enough) and I would come right back in and do another one. I passed on the first try and she called to tell me. That was one proud moment I had right there.
I would also like to note that many people who have bariatric surgery are required to do liquid diets for a period of time before surgery. From what I've been told and have researched on my own, this is required to shrink the liver. Many obese people are diabetic and shrinking the liver is really important. See, they PULL the liver to the side and if it's all swollen and fatty? It could literally snap off. Snap. Off. I think I got a little nauseous typing that. I don't have diabetes or pre-diabetes (THANK YOU, JESUS!), so I didn't have that problem, but you can bet your fanny I cut the sweets out MANY days before surgery. Like a week early. I didn't want my liver snapping off.
I know I mentioned before that I take celexa for anxiety. Let's just say the night before, my anxiety was getting a tad high. Celexa starts at 20mgs. I can't take that much. It makes me all loopy and sleepy. So, daily, I take a half of a pill to make 10 mgs. It suits me perfectly and keeps me smooth. Yeah, Miss Hope took herself a full 20 mgs the night before surgery.
Getting up Thursday morning was blurry because that nerve pill was working its magic. I showered and used plain Dial bar soap. It's required to bathe with Dial because it's the greatest anti-bacterial around. I dressed comfortably because I knew I was wearing the same clothes home after surgery. I kissed and hugged my kids and tried to convince my anxiety stricken teenager that this was nothing and I would see them all in a couple of days.
The Man and I headed out in the dark with all the early morning commuters to the hospital.