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Archive for September, 2009

Too much in the account?

September 29th, 2009 at 01:37 pm

So I went to bounce my checkbook off our online account just to make sure we're in the ballpark after everything we've been doing lately, and there is about $1,000 more in checking than we have in the checkbook. I can't for the life of me figure it out, so I'll just let it be for a while and see if I forgot to write something down somewhere. At least it's $1,000 to much and not too little.

I'm painting one of the spare bedrooms today while DW is at dialysis. Gives me something productive to do.

I sprained my thumb doing something, I don't know what, but it hurts. Oh well. Small potatoes.

Have to call and make DW's appointments ourselves, because apparently the referral office at our local doctor won't. Stupid referral people. That's my day. Not much.

Another Day

September 28th, 2009 at 01:31 am

So I went to drive my car to the auto parts store to buy some coils and have my uncle help fix it, and it didn't misfire. It has been running just fine now. Which makes me wonder if the guy was right that the coils did just have water in them, because it sat in the garage for over a month without being ran. Anyway, that's $475 I didn't end up having to spend.

I did buy an elliptical for the basement, and a weight system. $400 for both, and both are pretty good. Golds gym, same stuff I use at the gym I used to go to. 50% off sales rock. My gym membership was $300 a year, so really instead of renewing my membership and getting one for DW, we end up saving $200 right off the bat. Already paid for itself from that view.

Also got my camo for archery season - $50 for a whole brand new set, wal-mart style. Another sale. This recession thing is nice if you actually have the money to take advantage of all the cheap prices. I did need real camo - I had been wearing old ACU's and a winter jacket in a ground blind with my rifle, but that doesn't work so well for archery. This is the first set I've ever had.

Basically spent the money I saved on the car on stuff for hunting and working out. To me, it's not practical to go out on the running trails in the middle of winter in Missouri. I know the army has us run on post regardless of weather, but I am of the privileged lot that gets to do PT on my own, and this guy isn't going to freeze to go running when I get the same results sitting in my basement watching a movie or a football game using a machine. I'll spend my time freezing in a tree stand hunting for a few hours in the morning and evening.

DW is doing great. We sat outside tonight carving a pumpkin with the neighbors two little girls. They liked scooping the guts out. I know its a little early for jackolanterns, but pumpkins from the local farmers are $5 each, and we like to do the holiday decorations. If this one ruins, we can get another one and carve it too. It's worth it just to spend the time with the neighbors and have some fun.

I'm getting kind of bored not working. There is only so much to do around the house. DW isn't quite to the point of taking care of herself, but she does pretty good. I asked work if I could come back last Friday, and they told me no. So I just call each day and say I'm alive, and that's it.

So next week, the company who delivers DW medical supplies is coming and taking all of the old stuff back. Then I'm taking the wallpaper out of the spare bedroom we've had full of those supplies, and painting that bedroom. I'm also repainting the wall in our entrance. That should get me to Wednesday.

Oh, DW has to have blood drawn Tuesday to find out if Mayo will even consider her for transplant. Fun stuff. If they will, then we will have to go up there again in a week or two for a week of evaluations and to get a transplant scheduled. Yippee. I like Mayo. Pretty efficient place, and not too arrogant. Much less so than the research hospitals around here.

The ship is almost righted...

September 24th, 2009 at 06:44 pm

So the AC guy is installing a new outside unit as we speak. Cost me $55, plus the $100 copay earlier. Can't complain about that.

My car is supposed to be dropped off in the morning and done in the afternoon tomorrow. $475 for 2 new coils. That is freakin' ridiculous. The coils themselves cost $60 each. So I'm getting charged about $350 for labor to fix my car. I seriously need to take a mechanics class to learn how to fix these type of things. Would save me so much money over the next 50 years. I'll have to look into that.

DW is doing great. She had her appointment this morning and is getting all of her referrals set up. She is making breakfast for us in the morning, and then we're going to Target and Wal-Mart in the afternoon to get some stuff for around the house and some clothes that fit DW. I'm really surprised by how well she is doing, and very happy about it.

It's nice to finally be getting ahead on things. God is awesome.


Productive Day

September 23rd, 2009 at 09:29 pm

So DW got her dialysis done, I got the insurance and bills all taken care of up to this point, and I'm waiting on the call back from the mechanic for an estimate to fix my coils. Also got my expense sheet turned into work, and they are going to reimburse it on top of the grant they already gave me, so that will be nice.

I'll get reimbursed $1470, and give DW's parents $850 of it to help defray their costs. I owe my cousin $600 for the last bit of a huge gun safe I bought from him, so it will finish paying that off.

I live in the middle of a subdivision with lots of little kids coming by my house to play with our dog and cause I'm a friendly neighbor with parents and such, and I don't want the kids to get wandering around, find my hunting stuff, and accidentally get hurt. My cousin had access to this 21 gun safe that is fire rated for 50% off. I told him I could pay him month to month for it, but not all at once. They needed to get rid of it, so he agreed, and I bought it. Normally don't like to do business with family, but it was a good offer, and helps both of us.

Next month we start getting DW's disability checks. The first one will be right around $12,000 because we applied for disability in August and listed her disabled date as May 09. Social Security determined her disabled date to be May 08. So they back pay for a years worth, then it's about $1,000 a month or so. That will be nice to get our emergency fund back and then get our savings account back into shape all in one foul swoop, then her check will cover the mortgage each month, so we can take the extra and put it towards the Roth's and then the mortgage.

I was surprised by how fast the disability got done. It was convenient because we live right next to the district office, and the office manager also happens to be DW's medicare case manager, so she just did the disability paperwork, expedited it, and sent it to the state capitol, who signed off on it, and will start the direct deposit after we fax the last of the paperwork when we get groceries tonight.

So the only thing I still need to do after getting the AC fixed tomorrow and getting DW's appointments all set up, is get my car in the shop sometime tomorrow. Then we'll have everything from the last month all caught up.

So all in all, it's been a pretty productive day.

Home Sweet Home

September 23rd, 2009 at 01:53 pm

So DW was discharged on Monday. Spent a total of 8 days at the local hospital prior to transfer plus 21 days at Mayo, for a total of 29 days in a single admission - a new record for DW. I don't know if she's getting better or not - she has more energy at home and is moving around better, but at the same time is having some of the symptoms of what got her in the hospital in the first place. We'll have to wait and see.

In the mean time, our air conditioner is finally getting fixed on Thursday. It's only been broken since August 7th. Anyway...

I still need to get new coils put in my car, but that will probably be a tomorrow job.

Today, I have to go to Tricare. When I got home, there was $26,000 in medical bills with something to the effect of unpaid by insurance in the remarks box. Most of it stems from the hospital screwing up and then billing the insurance to fix the mistake - i.e the open heart surgery, plus a collapsed left innominate vein we were never told about.

We're going to end up suing the hospital over the bills on it. It's the same principle as a mechanic - if they mess up your car, they pay to have it fixed or fix it themselves. This doctor not only didn't fix it right, he lied to us about there being anything wrong with her veins after trying to fix it and not doing it right. And then we were billed for it. Irritates the hell out of me. We're not looking for some multi-million lawsuit - but we also shouldn't be out any money to fix the hospitals mistake. You would make a mechanic fix your car, so why wouldn't you make a hospital fix your spouse? It won't be the same hospital, but the one that made the error should be the one paying for it.

That's about it. Off to drop DW at dialysis and then go to Tricare. Fun day.

Dissapointed

September 11th, 2009 at 10:06 pm

As great as Mayo is, I'm a little dissapointed with it. They switch doctors every Monday, which is pretty terrible when it comes to continuity of care. The first doc we had was great - saw him about three times a day and always had updates. The doc we have now, not so much. He sends his med student to see us who is still learning and has never seen a case anywhere close to what my wife is. Annoying. Upon that, he completely disregarded all the work her previous doctors had done, and changed the working diagnosis, ignoring the fact there is brain marrow abnormalities and when we asked him about it, he basically dodged the question. And that was the one and only time we have seen that doctor all week. Highly irritating.

We get a new doctor on Monday though, and hopefully will be able to get some answers. DW has conflicting symptoms. One thing points here, the other says it can't be that. So it's difficult. I thought coming here would be a few days, maybe a week, and be back home. Instead, it's been 11 days, and we're no closer to knowing anything than when we got here.

But this is the best hospital in the world, and has the best doctors. So we're in it for the long haul until we get a diagnosis and a solid treatment plan.

The army has been very supportive of everything. They aren't charging me leave at all, have reassigned me to a local national guard unit until DW is able to go home on her terms, and is paying for room and board in the mean time, on top of my regular pay. I can't ask for much more. We're not out anything financially by being here, which is great. I'm honestly surprised by how efficient my BN has been with this, because traditionally we hear a lot of horror stories from soldiers with their problems. Maybe it's that I know the right people in the right places on a personal level outside of work, but either way, it gives me a lot of faith in it. Makes me almost think about re-enlisting instead of getting out and finishing college. Then I know that what's best for my family is to get my wife healthy while we're active duty, then do what I love and make the money I know I can instead of always moving and never being able to put roots down for my kids.

All in all, we're being taken care of, but I'm dissapointed that we switch doctors every monday. Difficult to get a solid idea of whats going on and when to expect to leave when everyone wants to have their own opinion on it and we don't know anything.

Still in Rochester

September 5th, 2009 at 07:37 pm

So I'm sitting in the hotel laundry slash breakfast area doing laundry while DW is in dialysis for 4 hours. Fun stuff.

The working diagnosis right now is Post Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder - PTLD. Her hospitalist also believes she has CMV with symptoms. And a possible adrenal gland problem because her cortisol levels aren't quite normal and her blood sugar is unstable. She also suffers from severe chronic malnutrition as a result of dialysis combined with her multiple surgeries and a long term untreated disease. So they will place a feeding tube through her nose and into her small intestine that has to be in place for a minimum of 4 to 6 weeks, and up to 6 months. She will be allowed to eat with this, but it's essential to her long term care. She also will be placed in physical therapy and rehab to get strength back because she hasn't be able to walk far on her own. The doctor suggested home heath care with this, but that's to be worked out with the social worker.

DW also had 800cc's total of fluid in her abdomen. She did have that drained out, and it was infected. Vancomayocin did the trick for that. Her bowels will be chronically swollen as a result of the PTLD though, and being a lymph disorder, it's unknown the extent of the disease.

The PTLD is a form of lymphoma and is treated with chemo. Need to talk to a hemotologist for more info on the disease - the doc said it's a very rare and very nasty disease to have. The only way they've been able to diagnose it at all so far is because her bone marrow showed strong abnormalities in her skull during a brain MRI. We're waiting on biopsies to confirm all of these so called working diagnosis. DW also has a colonoscopy later this week to kind of get a good look at everything.

So while the diagnosis isn't great, we at least have a good idea of what's going on with her. Better than no answers at all. And they have been very informative here and when we have concerns, most of the time the doctors have accomodated them. Like having so many drugs in her she didn't know what state or hospital she was in, or that she had just been given meds. So that got stopped, and she's coherent now.

We still don't know much about the treatment and everything that needs to happen, but we're in the ball park and are working on a game plan, which is a far cry better than where we were. Mayo has been good for us so far, and is a pretty impressive hospital all in all. That's to be expected given it's reputation tho.

One other nice thing is that my BN CSM called me personally and said they won't be charging me leave for being up here. That makes me happy.