Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Something new every day...

...and, as has become routine, the "new" was something I could have done without.

After all these years, I got my first ride in an ambulance this morning. It was not fun.

I have had occasional episodes of shortness of breath in recent days, which I chalked up to stress. This morning, I simply could not breathe. I went outside, hoping that fresh air and perhaps a little activity would help. A neighbor, God bless him, took one look at me and called 911.

By the time we got to the hospital, I was, to put it mildly, a mess, physically and emotionally. They started me on oxygen, drew blood and took X-rays, and the neighbor (who came along to the hospital), paramedics and various hospital types tried their best to calm me down.

The verdict: a near-lethal mix of stress and pneumonia. Under it all, I'm in fairly decent physical condition, better than I expected. Only my lungs and the wiring in my head were causing trouble.

After four hours there, I was released and am now home again. When I feel a bit better, I have to run out to pick up some prescriptions meant to lower my blood pressure and clear out the lungs.

Just freekin' great, Jim.

Now I have the added pressure of paying the bills for paramedics, hospital stay and medications (none of which will be exactly cheap), on top of all the other money I would be shoveling out to various people if it would just show up.

"Don't worry about it," said the neighbor, paramedics and the nurse who was covering my arms with needle marks. "Just get well."

I worry about it.

I mean, I really worry about it.

There are things that come to mind in situations like this, feelings no one should be forced to deal with, and they are not nice.

I'm not going to talk about them, at least for a long, long time. I need to try to push them out of my head, something I have not yet been able to do with their milder counterparts who pop often into my mind.

This stinks.


DAL said...

Geez, Scribbs. Don't worry about the med bills until they process and send them. No one can repossess the ride or the care.

Last time I rode in an ambulance, it was after I fell out of a tree and landed on my feet when I was 11.

Anonymous said...

For eleven minutes in their recent discourse, H and O talked about health care, pointedly avoiding the fact that one in four Americans cannot afford it.

Whether you see it or not, the care and concern of your neighbors is priceless.

Anyhow, get better.

maryjane said...

As lame as this sounds, you really cannot worry about it.
Worrying about things you cannot control is the surest way to be miserable.

The money will come, and yes I'm not in your shoes...I have faith that things will work out.

And if all else fails and you end up on the way to debtor's can sneak out of the country on a boat and come to Jamaica ;)

Lubie said...

Try to relax so you can get better~

Anonymous said...

thank God, you're okay!!! some hospitals have special low payment plans. they let me pay back in small portions because i didn't have a pot to piss in so to speak after making child support payments, rental fees, food, utilty bills, plus maintain a truck. just tell them what you have been telling us about the S.o.B.'s that don't pay you on time. who knows, you might meet and tag yourself a new lady friend while going thru this "meat processor" called life. hope your meds get you back up to speed, friend. will keep you in my prayers!


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you're not well, but really glad your neighbor called 911 for you. You old hard headed would have just sat there and died before you would have called. Damn the money, just get well!

Here in Dallas we have our county (free) hospital, Parkland, which is actually the best around, bar none. I'm sure you have a similar medical center there too, right? Although it's after-the-fact now, you should have absolutely no reservations about going there if you are (temporarily) financially unable to deal with the financial strain BECAUSE YOU HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR IT! You have paid for that medical care MANY TIMES OVER as a taxpayer, and it's only fair that you pull a few chits out of the system when you need it. Think of it as pre-paid health care. You've EARNED it! Hope you feel better soon.


Kim said...

Oh Scrib! Pnemonia is a worry. You silly bugger. Next time, don't wait until it's almost fatal OK! Don't scare us.

US health care sucks. Australia's hospitals are free - although not in a great state. At least you get the meds etc and don't have the stress of worrying about the fees.

As Dal has commented, what's the worst that can happen re the bills? The worst case scenario probably won't happen, so try not to stress about it and concentrate on getting well.

Did they at least put on the siren? Otherwise you were ripped off!

Anonymous said...

1. Rest, relax, rest, relax, rest.

2. Apply for low income assistance at the hospital when the bills roll in.

3. You might qualify for temporary disability through the state in which you live. Check it out. Depression, suicidal thoughts and everything else you have expressed are REAL and help is available, but you must do the footwork - when you're better, of course.

4. Let neighbors, friends, family, and those around know what is going on with you. People can't help if they don't know you need help. Those of us who are thousands of miles away can offer online support, but you need hands on support. This is no time to be humble.

5. Rest, relax, take it easy, reach out, rest, relax, take it easy, reach out.


emd said...

Damn, Scribbs! That sucks, but I'm glad you're back home and got some medical care. Really, I mean it!

I know it's WAY easier said than done to "not worry about it", but, that's one of those things, a catch 22, but, everyone is right.

Just do the best you can. That's all you can ask of yourself.

Birdie said...

ditto what everyone else wrote!

there are so many of my (JS) friends in similar situations like you... it's just shocking! Many have worked their butts off for years and now stand there with no money, no medical coverage, nothing! it's a shame and a scandal!

take care! {{{hugs}}}

John said...

Pneumonia? Man, the medical bills can be put off.
Get the drugs. Fortunately they can knock the hell out of pneumonia.
I know it isn't somber and it wasn't fun, but did they have the siren going and run red lights?
Screw the rest of everything. This is more important than all the other stuff. Just get well.

Anonymous said...

Yah..... tell us about the sirens!


Japee said...

What a ghastly day. Thank goodness your neighbours had the sense to call for help. I hate it that you are having such a difficult time. Take care of yourself.