I am SO over 2009. My foundation has been rocked!
Dh went in for a MRI Friday and we knew it wasn't good. He was in there an hour (as opposed to 20 minutes). I asked if he had moved, etc. Wondered if he was just too fidgety or something. He said, no, that they had injected him with die mid-way through to look at something closer.
This put us in a tense mood. We still went away for the weekend and figured if they didn't call him to emergency before we left on Saturday, that maybe it isn't so bad.
They called him in yesterday for an appointment with his ear/nose/throat doctor - the one who ordered the MRI in the end. Neurologist didn't think the MRI was warranted. Fair enough, since his brain seemed totally fine. Even his hearing tests did not seem to warrant a brain tumor - though that seemed to be mostly what they were ruling out. This early follow up didn't sound very promising - he was supposed to go in Wednesday.
Of course, wires crossed, and before he met with his doctor, Neurosurgery called him for an appointment next week. We still had no idea what is going on, but that did NOT sound good! Should have called after he met with his doc, but they seemed eager, which was also scary.
I came home to watch the kids. I would have like to have gone with him, but it was so last minute. I am glad I didn't go - his ENT doctor is an IDIOT! She diagnosed this, sure, but her bedside manner is terrible. I am glad I wasn't there - hearing dh's rundown.
His appointment was short and he called me in an upbeat mood about 10 minutes after he was scheduled. I was relieved to be called so fast. Though, admittedly, his upbeatedness was probably just shock.
In the end, he does have a brain tumor. A large one. (1.5 inches or about 4cm)
There is a lot of good. They have said all along it is 100% benign due to his symptoms (if he had one). They still say it is 100% benign. It is a very slow growing tumor, etc., etc.
We don't know much at this point. Doctor said he is not necessarily being rushed to surgery - may try to shrink it first (radiation, drugs, etc.). Though perusing online, most people with tumors his size seemed to be RUSHED to surgery. It's overwhelming to think he may undergo brain surgery before the year is up.
But, who knows. We basically don't know much until we meet with the neurosurgeon next week.
Though I am extremely happy with our HMO, all I could think was I want the best damn neurosurgeon we can find. Talk about intense! In the end I looked up his doctor, and he looks excellent on paper. Hopefully we like him so much in person. So far, I am pleased. He performs all the tumor removals of this type, for our HMO, in Northern Cali. That sounds good to me. Plus he has been there 20 years. So many of the best doctors seem to come and go, so like I said, on paper I am pleased.
Anyway, what we gather is though the tumor is benign, it is a bit of a misnomer, because it can cause so many problems as it grows. & brain surgery is no easy fix. It is possible he will lose hearing in one ear - facial paralysis is another concern. The good thing is I didn't really see any other mention of any side affects, from surgery, etc. Though it would certainly suck to lose hearing in one ear, I am glad that more important brain functions seem to be preserved with this type of brain tumor. Heck, hearing technology is so advanced - who knows if "loss of hearing" means much in this day and age.
It's a lot to digest. I am glad they called him in Monday so we had a few days to digest it, before Thanksgiving.
I do know we will have all the support we need from our crazy family. 4 of them are coming up Tuesday to watch the kids, so I can go to his appointment with the neurosurgeon. Overkill? Perhaps. But, gotta love family. I am not worried about what we will do if dh is out of commission for a while. Family will be there.
I have always been particular about our health plan (Employer offered plans have always been crappy and expensive). This pickiness hopefully pays off. This is why I am PICKY!
I don't know if dh is insurable any longer. We have private insurance, and so as long as our HMO stays afloat, and we can afford the bills, insurance coverage is there. None of this switching jobs/losing coverage business.
Of course, I couldn't sleep and woke up around 3am. It occurred to me in all this mess that I never got our new premiums for 2010. I must have a rogue e-mail setup for the notification. I logged in and sure enough, the info has been there about a week.
All I can say, is Ugh! Our premiums are going up 20%. $100 per month increase.
Health insurance has been a nightmare for us the last decade. With the introductions of HDHPs, we had a calm couple of years, and is precisely why we had a couple of good financial years, recently.
All along I felt our HDHP was a little "too good to be true." That they were phasing it in to higher deductibles, etc.
I called it! It looks like our deductible will remain at $3k. BUT our out-of-pocket is increasing to $6k.
I've read through everything a million times in the past and I told dh I felt I understood our health plan. This will really put it to the test. I guess if all we pay is $6k for brain surgery, I shouldn't complain. I always feel wary that maybe I am missing something. Who trusts these insurers???
Anyway, not that we have used our deductible any given year. BUT, obviously we are heading to an expensive 2010. Which means we could end up paying $14k next year - for premiums and deductibles/out-of-pocket. But what else is new? We are used to double-digit increases, and large raises being eaten up by health insurance. I've got to find another $5k for next year. (There goes our ROTH? At face value, not sure where else I could cut $5k - is a pretty hefty sum).
I had wanted to hoarde cash next year, to get to our long-term cash goals, etc. Guess I will be hoarding it for medical expenses instead.
This is why I feel like we have been spinning our wheels the last few years. For everyone who has put me down for being too stingy, it's time like these I feel we haven't been stingy enough! Does no one else have these large $$ surprises??? What others call "stingy," I call "keeping afloat!"
Oh, anyway, lower deductible plans all cost about twice as much, and I am not sure dh could switch plans at this point, with his newfound pre-existing condition. Still seems like we have the best option available.
I actually had a client whose young spouse (close in age) had a brain tumor. Looking back, I always assumed it was cancer, and I really think it was, from the way they talked.
Talk about intense! He's been on disability a couple of years, at least. He was not well enough to watch their children.
Though they were well insured, at some point there was a mix up and they were sent over $1 million in bills. !!!! They felt very blessed to have such good insurance. They were on the hook for very few dollars.
I try to remind myself this is precisely why we pay for such catastrophic insurance. I need to keep my perspective in these times. $14k per year is a bargain compared to how financially devastated we could be right now, without health insurance.
The News is Pretty Terrible
I am SO over 2009. My foundation has been rocked!