It’s not an easy decision to make. It might seem obvious but reality dictates otherwise. And, unfairly so at times…
I’m at a crossroad, one I’ve faced before, so many times. I finally found a surgeon who thinks outside the box and agrees my ETV is partially blocked. That leaves me with no other choice but to have surgery to repeat the ETV or, failing which, insert a shunt (again).
The unplanned and unforeseen.
It hasn’t been an easy task finding him or getting to this point. However, surgeons like him, come at a price. The last one who listened (11 years ago), charged 3 times above medical rates, putting me in a financial spin! The cost of which was only inflated due to my having 3 brain surgeries over 3 days, spending time in the ICU and a longer than anticipated stay in hospital with some rehabilitation therapy.
Dr “O” charges a bit extra too and as I’ve just found out, requires payment up front – $2000, $1000 refundable if there’s no need for a shunt, post ETV. The anaesthetist has their own out of pocket cost (unknown at this point in time) and the hospital charges an excess of $500 as well, payable upon check-in. All inclusive, it’s a financial nightmare right now! But, it could be worse. I have private medical cover, which assures me all other costs will be paid and, I get the services of a specialist surgeon who is prepared to operate on me. This is something I undoubtedly won’t have, should I go via the public system. (They simply aren’t open minded enough).
I’ve asked for a payment plan failing which, I’ll have to wait a few more weeks and try to save the required amount. However, at this point in time, surgery is scheduled for first thing next Tuesday, 4 May.
I’ve felt the effects of my partially blocked ETV for the last few months, continuously and mainly dizziness – 24×7. Worsening in comparison to anything I’ve felt over the last few years. I had an MRI on the 15th of April with a follow up scheduled for next month. But, after sleeping the day away yesterday, unable to get through a day of work, I called the surgeons room. I was concerned. They advised me to either go to the hospital emergency room or offered an appointment to see him this afternoon. I opted to see him instead. An hour later, I received a phone call advising me to go for an MRI at 6pm, which I did. (No charge for this – relief).
Coming back to the crossroad. What am I to do?
1. Agree to surgery and sign to pay the debt I owe him after (if that’s an option)? Knowing that surgery is never that simple (It wasn’t before as mentioned above), increasing the ultimate price of my life. Or,
2. Live this way without surgery and succumb to the effects thereof…(Not an option)
How do I make the call on my next step?
There’s always the option to go through the public system and hope they help (Like I said, they simply aren’t open minded enough). If you’ve followed my blog, you’ll know that’s been a battle with no one else listening. Dr “O” is, (that’s what I call him), the 15th doctor I’ve seen since my diagnosis. All the others before him didn’t listen or look this closely to see the problem, doctors in both the public and private sector.
• Fear to face more brain surgery,
• Anxiety at the thought of putting my family into even more financial debt and strain,
• Helplessness because the decision between life and the alternative, is seemingly harder to make.
I am by no means the only person faced with this decision or situation. There are others who are going through worse. When it comes to your health, more specifically your survival, money shouldn’t be the deciding factor. But, this is the reality of it all. Parents in countries with less resources, in worse financial situations than myself, are plagued by these decisions as they watch their children suffer and/or die. It’s not fair. Nothing about it is right, by any stretch of the imagination.
This is no way to live…or die…
I’ll take it moment by moment and hear what they have to say. The next decision will fall into place as the weight of it all increases.
Next post: I’ll let you know how my appointment went, surgery discussion, possible shunt option and why this is advisable to do.