Kind of Down and Out

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I was going to just skip posting something today, but haven’t done that for ages, so here it is. I’m kind of down and out. I contracted some kind of sinus funk and on top of this shoulder thing, I’m feeling generally blah, or worse. I had thought a couple week ago that if I spend two plus hours in a hospital everyday, that there would be a super high chance that I’d get sick. I wonder why I’m surprised and disappointed that it occurred? If I can keep it from going into my lungs then I’ll call it a success.

I was supposed to be having hand surgery right now in the Vail Surgical Center in Edwards. I went and saw a hand specialist and he said he can fix this chronic problem I’ve been having riding in less than 10 minutes and there would be a 90 something % that it would be successful. Then late yesterday afternoon, the financial people from the surgical center and doctor called and said they were having an issue with my insurance. I’m going to do a whole post, probably more, on the whole thing, but I decided to cancel the operation because of the financial exposure that I might have. Might have is because my insurance won’t say how much they will pay for the procedure until the procedure is completed. And there is a very high probability that my insurance might pay as little as 25% of the cost. I’m wondering and worrying why I didn’t go through any of this for the shoulder thing. Both the doctor and surgical center needed me to pay up front for the procedures and then have me submit the receipts to my insurance. It was going to be over $6000, which I’ll address later too.

The Burton US Open snowboarding competition is starting today in Vail. They have built these unbelievable huge jumps and a half pipe. They have made so much snow for this that my PT, Brooke, said yesterday that the rumor around Vail is that if it gets really warm early this spring, the locals think that the houses below the huge snow structures are going to be flooded. I don’t know about that, but it is massive. I’m going to try to make my way over there the next couple days and catch some of the competition. I don’t know the exact schedule, but I think the half pipe finals are on Saturday.

I’m not sure if I’ll be in Colorado on Saturday. I have my two week follow up appointment with the shoulder surgeon tomorrow and after that I’m hoping that I can get a more aggressive PT routine prescribed and head back to Kansas and do it there.

We’ve been shoveling the driveway here virtually everyday. It seems to snow just a couple inches , usually at night. Not enough for a plow to clear, but enough that it needs to be removed. I like the small amount of exercise, so I like doing it. My left arm is not getting any more coordinated, but the muscles are growing nearly as fast as my right arm is shrinking. The sun is so intense, that if you expose the dark asphalt early, the snow melts super quick and the whole thing is bone dry by mid afternoon. I like that about Colorado.

It has been okay staying here for two weeks, but I’m pretty sure I couldn’t live here all winter. The winter is way too long and constant. And the whole summit county area really is geared completely towards tourism, especially in the winter. That is not my favorite type of industry for a full year living area. It is beautiful and there is a ton to do, if you have use of all your body parts, but the winter is so long here that I’d have to change my lifestyle to accommodate and I’m not to that point as of now.

These photos are taken from driving on I-70, not close at all to the venue.

These photos are taken from driving on I-70, not close at all to the venue.

It is nearly impossible to show how huge the jumps are.

It is nearly impossible to show how huge the jumps are.

15 thoughts on “Kind of Down and Out

  1. SalRuibal

    You’ll feel better when you’re back home, sleeping in your own bed, eating your own food. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. Racing bikes is a great life, but not as glamorous as one might think. Compile this year’s posts into a book. Pitch it to VeloPress.

  2. channel_zero

    If you keep the idea that the insurance company’s main strategy is to welsh on their end of the deal, then it all makes perfect sense. They tried welshing on a six-figure life-or-death within minutes emergency I had.

    BTW, something no one wants to talk about with American medical care industry is price discovery. Not the insurance company, not the providers. No one!

  3. Denny Thiel

    My brother is a health care provider, I’m a health care consumer. I have learned not to discuss health care costs, insurance or mandated treatment with him.

    When I had my rotator reattached I got an invoice from the hospital for the full amount. My insurance was supposed to pay 80%. I was able to pay off my 20% about $3700 for everything (pre-surgery exams, MRI & X-Rays, surgery, PT. and post-surgery visits) but it was a burden with my arm in a sling and not being able to work. Wellmark was able to negotiate a better price. I ended up paying more than 20% of the bottom line.

    Why doesn’t the consumer/patient get the same deal as the insurer?

  4. Ben

    There is something to you being sick… I think. Obviously, mine was different, but ever since my knee surgery, I have been sick.. sinus, cold, sinus, cold. It literally lasted over 2 months. I went from being in great “running” shape in May of ’12 to horrible shape now and I still have pain in one knee.

    Anyway, I don’t know that my knee being opened up (punctures) could really do much, but maybe the combination of being under a general anesthesia, being cut and having foreign objects inside your body.. all in a hospital full of sick people can lead to you being worn down enough to contract this stuff.. I hope you get over it quicker than I did. It became an excuse to eat poorly and not workout…

  5. Jason

    You should probably read the recent and famous Time article, “Bitter Pill” on the subject of health care before writing a post on your experiences.

  6. Jim D.

    If you read twitter “IE” Neal Rodgers, Patrick O’Grady, you got your cold at the bike show. Jim

  7. JIm B.

    I’m having hand surgery tomorrow for a skiing crash. Just had the pre-surgery financial talk with the Dr office where they let me know my out of pocket. Ouch! But I am going ahead with it. I’ll be in Silverthorne in a couple of weeks and will stay for a month. I’ll keep an eye out for you. I’ll be the guy with the right hand in a splint. Good luck should you decide to go ahead with your surgery.

    Jim B.

  8. The Cyclist

    My guess is you got the germs from shaking all the hands and giving interviews at that bike show, rather than from the hospital. Nasty places those trade shows. Next time wear gloves.

  9. devin

    Yes being a slave to the Tourist is very tough,, and summer being the best months of the year is way to short,,,,Heal Up and get back on the Bike,,,

  10. H Luce

    One article I found:

    “The system is completely broken. In researching other aspects of the system, I’d already come to the conclusion that it should be scrapped entirely, with something completely different put in its place, but this article just helps take that belief to another level. And, the scary thing is that the chances of that happening are basically zero. We’re stuck with this system, in part because the economic incentives are screwed up so much that it’s ripe for widespread abuse. And when you have so many billions of dollars flowing, with a small group of folks profiting massively from that, there’s simply no chance they’ll allow for any real changes.

    And, the really scary thing is that the bits I’ve talked about here really only scratch the surface of Brill’s overall article. And, his article really only touches on one part of the problem. It is a key part of the problem, but it’s still just one part. And each of the other parts tend to look equally insane when you start digging deeper. We are in the middle of the most horrifying economic experiment ever constructed with our healthcare system, and it’s only impacting almost everyone’s lives. Oh yeah, and there’s no real interest in taking on the actual problems.”

    If Obama had pushed for and gotten single-payer enacted, we wouldn’t be seeing these problems, but he got bought off and put in place a “remedy” that perpetuates the present system.

  11. H Luce

    Here’s another:

    “Because bills charged by Integris are paid primarily by insurance companies or the government, the hospital gets away with gouging for its services. Reason obtained a bill for a procedure that Dr. Sigmon performed at Integris in October 2010 called a “complex bilateral sinus procedure,” which helps patients with chronic nasal infections. The bill, which is strictly for the hospital itself and doesn’t include Sigmon’s or the anesthesiologist’s fees, totaled $33,505. When Sigmon performs the same procedure at the Surgery Center, the all-inclusive price is $5,885.”

    If a bought-off government doesn’t outlaw this sort of thing, this might be part of a solution.


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