Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sicko type day

Once in a while the medical insurance system gets so inhumane it drives me nuts.

I saw a guy in the hospital in October. He was, essentially, dying of lung cancer. I remember him well, which isn't true for very many patient from 6 months ago. But I was the one who had to tell the poor man what was going on in his lungs. I have only had to do that a few times, at least in this type of situation where I had to take a deep breath outside his room before going in.

So he went home on hospice a few days after his diagnosis. His one lung had collapsed so he went home with an oxygen tank. He died not long thereafter (which I didn't know till today, when I looked him up).

So yesterday, I receive a fax from his insurance company stating that their documentation stated that he had had 89% oxygen in his blood when he was discharged and that, according to their policies, they would only pay for patients sick enough to have less than 88%. I'm not kidding here.

I spent half an hour looking up what was in the electronic records and, to my joy, the latest recorded oxygen saturation was, actually, 88%. So I dictated a long letter and filled out the paperwork. My nurse faxed it in and, seriously, the company wrote back complaining that on this document we had not evaluated the "estimated time of treatment". The man died 6 months ago, shortly after discharge, and he used less than one tank of oxygen and they are trying to charge the widow for his oxygen.

In other news, we went to practice on the triathlon course. It turns out that I'm definitely not going to be able to crawl the whole quarter mile. I got panicky swimming in the freezing brown water and swallowed too much water. I will be the only one without a wetsuit, I bet. Here is the Girl, emerging from the waters like some whale-skinned nymph.

One other thing. For the odd male who likes to see semi-nude gorgeous women writhe and contort while getting out of their wetsuits, triathlon transition zones may not be so bad. But then again, most men are probably above stuff like that.

Here is some guy, who happens to be balding, pale and hairy; but please look beyond those characteristics. Slyly, he is wearing running shorts for a tri swim practice, his goggles cost 2 dollars in play-it-again sports and he has no clue how to use wax ear plugs.

Oh, it will feel awesome to get on my bike.

Today, I went for an awesome run. It felt just shy of 20 miles and throughout I felt strong and race-ready. That 50K is in a month and I feel good.

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