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Maybe now is a good time for surgery...

December 1st, 2009 at 08:32 am

I haven't read the comments on my last blog yet - it's going to be a crazy week.

YEsterday we actually had a pleasant time with MIL. So goes the rollercoaster. I know better than to hand her over our medical record #s, but she may be helpful in the end.

So is today - will see about tomorrow.

I am highly skeptical of the surgeon she wants to do the job. I know he is highly regarded, and was trained by the BEST, etc., etc., etc.

What's the catch? HE seems very EAGER! She has made a billion calls and said he could get in to surgery at our HMO for $10k.

Huh? That's it? I actually had an outside surgeon do a procedure at the same HMO when I was 17. I said, that sounds awfully cheap (for a brain surgeon) as mine cost $10k about 15 years ago, for a jaw surgeon.

She says - oh no - it's a nonprofit organization and blahdeblahdeblah.

I told her that we were not sure our surgeon would do much but supervise. For $10k, is he really going to do anything but watch. Our his stats as good in an unfamiliar environment?

As I tried to ponder why the "best" would be so "affordable" in the end, it all comes back to the economy. Everyone I have seen who openly discussed their experiences online, paid $100k-ish for the shole shebang at THEIR Office. Hospitalization, staff, and everything. Obviously, in the boom, people afforded this with home equity and such.

I can't help but wonder if in this economy, they are a little more desparate for patients with that kind of cash - searching out reasonable options.

So, I couldn't help but feel that now is a good time for brain surgery, in that regard. To us, $10k is nothing. For dh's brain? We've got the cash.

I just found the whole thing interesting.

Anyway, as we are talking in the realm of reasonability, and I can tell MIL about my own experience, we found some middle ground.

Dh is leaning in another direction than we prefer (more risky surgery at small chance of hearing preservation). BUT, it's up to him, I ain't going to push him either way. I suppose I will support him and help keep his mom off his back.

It's ironic, that in all this mess, we are the ones that are being logical and making MIL think through some of her bizarre assertions. But then again, as a mom, I'd probably be overly emotional too.

Which reminds me, a co-worker praised me as being tough and getting through this. She said, "You're not like those other girls we have who cry all the time." LOL. Not sure I agree, but I suppose I can be tough when I need to. IT just struck me as funny. Other people's perceptions can always be interesting.

I have found myself worrying about something like a mile down the road, and keep telling myself to stop it. One day at a time really. IT's the only way to go. That is such a dh thing - he worries about stupid stuff way in the future that will never come to be - constantly. I am glad that in times of crisis, he seems to have put that aside.

I think his personal opinions on treatment will lead him to our covered surgeon anyway. Will see! If so, he can fight it out with his mom. Big Grin

------------------------------------

BTW, by some miracle, when I had surgery, the surgeon ended up doing the entire surgery AND our HMO paid his bill. I don't think we even asked - I think his office asked for reimbursement and got it, by some fluke.

I always figured if I got stuck with some $10k medical bill, I Wouldn't sweat it. Or what are the odds I could be so lucky again? Though I am still a little skeptical about this doc's eagerness, the $10k figure is almost like a "sign" in some regards.

13 Responses to “Maybe now is a good time for surgery...”

  1. miclason Says:

    ((hugs))

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    Not having to wait months and months is good. In the end, you want the best guy/gal for the job. It sure doesn't hurt to interview both/several surgeons before. ((Hugs))

  3. wowitsawonderfullife Says:

    There is a website called ratemydoc.com and it might give you some information about this eager doctor.

  4. Analise Says:

    I continue to keep your family in my thoughts and prayers. The idea of getting the surgery done sooner than later sounds good... sometimes, waiting can be torturous.

  5. frugaltexan Says:

    {{{{monkeymama}}}}

  6. Broken Arrow Says:

    Is there any way to check out this doctor's medical background and track record. If he really is as good as he is made out to be, then it won't matter how affordable he is. And the fact that he is affordable would just be a bonus.

    Unfortunately, I don't have any specifics on how to go about doing such a search. I'm sure the Amercial Medical Association is a good place to start?

  7. John DeFlumeri jr Says:

    Your instincts are probably right. Doctors need money to keep going, like any business does. Their overhead is very high. Cash customers are the most desired, it's their money to pay bills right now.

    Proceed carefully...

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  8. whitestripe Says:

    i have heard that some surgeons don't do risky surgery to keep their 'stats' up - maybe he is so eager to do your DF's surgery because it is in with a good chance of being a fairly simple procedure with not a great deal of risk (i mean, as far as brain surgery goes...)

  9. monkeymama Says:

    There's really no doubt this guy is "one of the best." I think, by nature, dh and I are just critical of hype. So it's kind of annoying to only hear the hype. I haven't heard much else.

    Anyway, today a local surgeon offered to do the surgery, and we asked for, and got, referral to our "covered" specialist in the Bay Area. MIL is ensuring that we send the MRI to internet Wonderboy. So we got our "first opinion" and will get 2 more. I think that's a good start. Not that we won't talk to more docs, from there.

    Today wasn't very newsworthy, but we were told chance of saving his hearing is about 0%. Which really sucks since most people we have talked to had poor hearing to start. Dh's hearing is mostly fine, and Doc was amazed how well he seemed considering how massive the tumor is at this point. Silent but deadly! He also mentioned it could be another kind of tumor but for the most part doesn't know anything until he gets in there. Just knows his hearing won't make it, most likely.

    Will talk to the other 2 Docs in the coming week, I am sure. I suppose this is the worst part (as I have been told 100 times already). I just want to find a good doctor to put some faith into, at this point! Dh just wants a surgery date!

  10. davera Says:

    I'm keeping you and your dh in my prayers for a successful outcome. You are wise to weigh very carefully the alternatives.

    Sorry your MIL is adding to the stress. As you said, she is deeply concerned about her son and understandably emotional. After I read your post, I wondered if perhaps she may have indicated to the specialist that she would pay all surgical fees above $10k, in order to minimize your out of pocket costs?

    You have some important decisions ahead, dear MM, and we are all sending you our support for choosing the wisest course of action.

  11. zetta Says:

    Is your DH facing losing hearing in one ear, or all hearing entirely? How scary for him!

  12. monkeymama Says:

    zetta - just the one ear.

  13. homebody Says:

    May I just say the SF ortho surgeon who did YD's ankle surgery was very eager...since he had the same problem (no ankle joint). He had the surgery performed on himself about a month before he did YD's. He was so excited about her surgery, he came out and showed us pictures when he was done while the assistant stitched her up. He now heads up Cedar-Sinai Foot/Ankle center.

    http://www.csmc.edu/8509.html

    All you have to do it punch in your doc's names on search engines and you should be able to get plenty of info on them. Being eager does not make them bad....good surgeons like to do what they do best!

    And I was amazed at how "cheap" her surgery cost was since Dr. Pfeffer was out of our network (obviously from Humboldt to San Francisco).

    I have always found a good question to ask a doctor (like your treating physician). If it was your son, mother, daughter... which surgeon would you have do the surgery?

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